How to Build a Backyard Pond

Overview

A pond can significantly enhance the landscaping around your home and bring you hours of pleasure. It can also provide habitat for plants and animals, creating an actual oasis for wildlife in your yard. With the right tools and materials and a little planning, you can build your own pond.

Preparing Your Site

Step 1

Select a good location. Position your pond in your yard where it will get at least half of the day of full sun. The location should also ensure that pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals that you may use, as well as leaves and other debris, will not end up in the pond.

Step 2

Size your pond. Ensure that your pond is large enough. Larger ponds are easier to maintain. A minimum diameter of 5 feet is recommended. If you plan to keep fish in your pond, the size and depth of the pond should accommodate the number, size and type of fish.

Step 3

Determine the shape of your pond. Form the outline of the pond with a length of rope or hose. This helps you to visualize how the pond will fit into your landscape.

Step 4

Dig the pond. Using the rope or hose as a guide, remove all of the soil within the area of the outline to a minimum depth of 18 inches. If you plan to include plants in your pond, you can make the pond deeper and construct shelves of soil around the edges for plants that will emerge from the water.

Step 5

Level the edge of the pond. Lay the 2-by-4 across the width of the pond, and place a carpenter's level on top of it. Measure the level, and add soil to the low side if necessary. Continue this process down the length of the pond until the entire edge of the pond is level.

Step 6

Remove any rocks, sticks, roots and other debris that may damage the liner from inside the pond space. Use clean sand to smooth the inside of the pond space, thereby further reducing any risk to the liner.

Step 7

Place the lining material in the pond pressing it down into the depression. To reduce the chance of leakage, try to use a single sheet of liner material. Trim the liner to leave at least a 1-foot margin around the edge of the pond.

Installing Filtration Equipment and Filling the Pond

Step 1

Dig a shallow trench around the pond, and place the flexible plastic tubing that will connect the filter and skimmer into the trench. Although it is optional, filtration equipment will help you maintain your pond more easily by trapping debris and keep the water more clear.

Step 2

Add water. Straighten any large wrinkles that may appear in the liner as the pond fills. Small creases will eventually flatten out from the pressure of the water. Now, power up the pump to begin the filtration process and clear the water.

Step 3

Place the submersible pump, filter and skimmer along the inside edge of the pond. Make sure they are free of rocks, plants and other obstructions that will prevent proper water flow.

Step 4

Lay the flexible plastic tubing in the trench, and connect the skimmer and pump to the filter using the screwdriver and stainless steel ring clamps.

Step 5

Connect the pump to an outside electrical supply, and turn the pump on. Check for any leaks in the connections, and allow the pump to cycle the water within the pond. Refill in the trench with soil to cover the tubing.

Final Adjustments

Step 1

Place stones, gravel, landscaping timbers or other material around the pond as decorative coping to keep the liner in place.

Step 2

Finish any landscaping that needs to be done around the perimeter of the pond.

Step 3

Add any aquatic plants to your pond. If you need to get in the pond to position them, be careful not to damage the liner.

Step 4

Double-check the pump, filter and skimmer to ensure that they are not obstructed. Allow the pump to circulate for several days to clear the water.

Tips and Warnings

  • Be sure to use liner material that is specifically designed for ponds. Plastic sheeting from home improvement stores will eventually degrade and leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Rope
  • Shovel
  • 2-by-4 board
  • Carpenter's level
  • Clean sand
  • Pond liner
  • Filtration and pump equipment
  • Coping material
  • Plants

References

  • The Water Garden
  • Pond Building Course
Keywords: pond construction, how to build a pond, backyard pond

About this Author

In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.