How to Build a Garden Pond


Garden ponds attract birds and other wildlife. Ponds are relatively inexpensive to construct and once established, they are easy to maintain. A garden pond can turn a neglected corner of your yard into a relaxing retreat.

Step 1

Use a garden hose to lay out the shape of your pond on the ground. The hose is flexible enough to trace curves and move easily until you find the shape you want. Choose a relatively level spot in a sunny area.

Step 2

Dig out the pond. Use a sharp spade to remove the sod first, then dig deeper. The pond should be at least 2 feet deep in the center and slightly shallower along the sides. Leave a couple of shallow shelves, about 1 foot deep and 1 foot wide, for bog plants. Once the pond is dug, dig a second shelf all the way around, approximately 6 inches deep and 6 to 10 inches wide. This shelf will hold the rocks or bricks that form the edge of the pond.

Step 3

Remove all rocks, roots or other sharp objects that might tear your pond liner. Smooth the sides and bottom of your pond as much as possible. If your ground is very rocky, use an underlayment beneath the liner. This is an extra layer of material, often a thin foam, that cushions the liner.

Step 4

Spread your pond liner over the hole. The liner should extend at least 2 feet beyond the edge on all sides of the pond.

Step 5

Begin filling the pond with water. As the pond fills, the weight of the water will settle the liner snugly against the sides of the pond. Once the pond is full, let it sit overnight.

Step 6

Arrange flat stones or bricks around the edges of the pond to cover and anchor the liner. Trim the liner with shears and tuck under the ends.

Step 7

Add your filter and a pump, fountain or waterfall. Add water lilies and other plants. Allow the water in the pond to circulate for at least 24 hours before adding fish.

Step 8

Monitor the pH of the water daily until the pH levels off. Add the proper agents to lower or raise pH as necessary. Neutral pH is 7.0.

Things You'll Need

  • Water hose
  • Shovel
  • Underlayment
  • Pond liner
  • Flat rocks or bricks
  • Pond filter
  • Pond plants
  • Fish


  • How to Build a Backyard Pond
  • Build Your Own Pond
  • Planning and Building a Water Garden

Who Can Help

  • Step by Step to a Backyard Pond
Keywords: garden pond, pond liner, pond filter

About this Author

Cynthia Myers is the author of numerous novels and her nonfiction work has appeared in publications ranging from "Historic Traveler" to "Texas Highways" to "Medical Practice Management." She has a degree in economics from Sam Houston State University. Before turning to freelancing full-time, Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager.