How to Build Garden Ponds


For true gardeners, a garden pond is a joy because it allows the introduction of water plants to a yard. For nature lovers a garden pond encourages wildlife to come have a drink and cool off. A garden pond adds another dimension to the landscape. Garden ponds can be at ground level or partially above ground. Garden ponds are well worth the effort to build.

Step 1

Decide the purpose of the garden pond. Is it strictly a water feature? Or perhaps you envision water lilies floating on the surface and gold fish darting beneath the surface. If you have young children, safety is a primary consideration. The pond will have to be fenced or in an area inaccessible to them.

Step 2

Outline the shape of the pond you would like with a garden hose. When you're pleased with the shape spray paint the outline on the ground and remove the hose.

Step 3

Dig around the outline starting from one end of the pond dig to the desired depth of the pond plus six inches. Make sure the pond is level from one side to the other in both directions. Lay the wooden 2 x 4 across the pond and place the level on the 2 x 4. If your hole is deeper at the front end for example the water level at the back end won't be as high and the pond will look off.

Step 4

Lay padding on the floor and sides of the pond if the area is prone to rocks. The padding can be old clothes, blankets, or carpet padding. Newspapers can be used as well. The padding keeps the rocks from puncturing the plastic liner.

Step 5

Lay the waterproof plastic liner over the padding, adjusting it as you go so the liner has the least amount of folds as possible. Depending on how large the pond is this may be a two or three person job. The liner should come up out of the pond and over the ground for about six inches. Spread sand over the bottom of the liner to a depth of 3-4 inches. Fill the pond slowly with water so as to disturb the sand as little as possible. Let the pond settle for a couple of days.

Step 6

If you want to add a pond pump to circulate the water place it in the deepest part of the pond. Attach the plastic tubing to the pump and bring it to the back of the pond. The tube can be attached to a fountain spray for a decorative effect or just empty back into the pond.

Step 7

Border the pond by laying rocks, bricks, or edging stones around the edges over the liner.

Tips and Warnings

  • A pond may be considered in the same category as a pool. Check with local city/town/county authorities to determine whether you need a permit.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Hose
  • Carpenter's level
  • Wooden 2 x 4
  • Spray paint.
  • Plastic liner
  • Sand
  • Padding: old clothes, newspapers, carpet padding
  • Pond pump
  • Plastic tubing for pump


  • The Complete Pond Builder; Helen Nash; 1995
  • Great Ideas for Your Garden; Jane Courtier et al; 2003

Who Can Help

  • Water and pond plants
Keywords: water garden, garden ponds, building garden ponds

About this Author

Katie Rosehill's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in personal finance, weddings and gardening.