Constructing a Fish Pond


A fish pond can give you hours of fun feeding your pets and relaxation watching them swimming freely. It can also improve the appearance of your home. With the right tools and materials and a little planning you can build and stock your own fish pond.

Preparing the Pond Site

Step 1

Select a location that prevents leaves and yard chemicals from entering the pond. Ensure that the pond will get full sun for at least half the day.

Step 2

Size your pond for the number, size and type of fish it will hold. Ponds less than five feet across get dirty quickly, provide little room for fish, and become overgrown with plants.

Step 3

Use a rope or hose to form the outline of the pond on the ground to help visualize it in your landscape.

Step 4

Dig the pond, using the outline. For potted aquatic plants, construct shelves of soil 12 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches deep around the inside edge. In cooler regions, dig at least two feet deep to prevent the pond from freezing completely. In warmer regions, provide areas of shade.

Step 5

Place the 2-by-4 and carpenter's level across the pond and check the level. If required, add soil to one side of the pond until the level is square. Repeat this at one-foot intervals along the entire length.

Step 6

Remove any rocks, sticks, or other debris that may damage the liner. Sand may be used to line the depression.

Placing the Liner

Step 1

Place the liner in the pond and press it down. Leave a one-foot margin of liner around the outside edge.

Step 2

Fill the pond with water and straighten out any large wrinkles. If necessary, add dechlorinator.

Step 3

Place stones, gravel or other heavy material around the outside edge to keep the lining material in place.

Installing the FiItration System

Step 1

Dig a trench around the pond to hold flexible plastic tubing used to connect the filter and skimmer.

Step 2

Place the filter, skimmer and submersible pump along the inside edge of the pond, ensuring proper water flow.

Step 3

Lay the tubing in the trench and connect the skimmer and pump to the filter using the screwdriver and ring clamps.

Step 4

Connect the pump to an electrical source. Check for any leaks, and run the pump to clear the water. Refill the trench with soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use liner material designed for ponds. Plastic sheeting from home improvement stores degrades over time and leaks.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Carpenter's level
  • 2-by-4 board
  • Rope or hose
  • Pond liner
  • Pond filter
  • Pond skimmer
  • Submersible pump
  • Flexible plastic tubing
  • 4 Stainless steel ring clamps
  • Screwdriver
  • Coping materials
  • Dechlorinator
  • Plants


  • The Water Garden
  • Pond Building Course

Who Can Help

  • Pond Doc's Water Garden Center
Keywords: Goldfish pond, Fish pond, Fish pond construction, Pond landscape, Backyard Fish 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.