How to Design a Garden Fish Pond


No garden pond is complete without fish. Designing a fish pond is a little more complicated than a simple water garden but not much. Fish eat bugs, especially mosquito larvae. How you design a garden fish pond depends on what kind of fish you want to keep in the pond.

Step 1

Select the fish. Different fish have different requirements. Goldfish can survive in many areas including those with freezing temperatures. However, the pond can't freeze completely over or the fish will die from lack of oxygen. The pond can't freeze solid from top to bottom either.A pond heater can keep the pond from freezing. Koi start out the same size as gold fish, but grow to three feet. They require a bigger pond at least three feet deep to thrive. Native fish such as trout, catfish, or minnows have their own requirements as well.

Step 2

Determine the size of the pond you will need to accommodate the fish you would like. Bigger fish require a bigger and deeper pond. The pond should eventually become its own ecosystem without a lot of help from you. A pond that is too small stresses the fish. The debris and fish waste won't have the space they need to naturally decompose and will rot instead. Too big of a pond requires more maintenance.

Step 3

Decide on the location of the fish pond. The pond could be hidden behind bushes and flowers to provide a spot to relax or it could be next to the patio for guests to admire. Unless you have a natural spring running through your property locate the pond where you have access to water. Next to a tree might seem like a good idea but tree roots will make digging the pond more difficult. And falling leaves will turn the water acidic as they decompose.

Step 4

Consider the style of your house. A Victorian style house with a formal garden requires a formal fish pond, perhaps a rectangle, circle or oval outlined with bricks, while a cottage style house would look best with a naturalized pond.

Step 5

Safety first is an important rule. Wherever you locate the pond make sure that it is safe. A raised pond might be better with children and pets around. If electricity is required for filters or fountains, a licensed electrician should do the installation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some cities will require a permit and fencing for a fish pond just as they would for pool construction.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil


  • "The Complete Pond Builder;" Helen Nash; 1995
  • "Garden Ideas Creative Design Solutions;" Carol Spier and Warren Schultz; 1996

Who Can Help

  • Building a koi fish pond
Keywords: fish pond, koi, goldfish

About this Author

Katie Rosehill's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written three additional books as well as screenplays, Web site content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides, eHow, and GolfLinks. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Favorite topics include personal finance, weddings and gardening.