A pond created as part of a garden or landscape can be as easy to construct as placing a tub on your patio, filling it with water and adding some aquatic plants. In most cases, however, constructing a pond requires a certain amount of planning and more involved construction methods. It can be a simple process, done by one person over a weekend. Or, it may be as complex as hiring a professional aquascape contractor to design and build the pond.
Small Pond Construction
Small ponds are sometimes constructed using either a hard plastic or fiberglass shell. The shell is simply inserted into a hole dug in the ground, or earth can be pushed up around it to form berms. Small ponds can also be constructed using a rubber liner that is placed within a basin dug in the ground. This liner, when filled with water will form into the shape of the hole and can be held in place around the edge of the pond with rocks, timbers, pavers or other coping materials.
Medium to Large Pond Construction
Medium to large garden ponds can be constructed using techniques similar to those applied to the construction of a swimming pool. Concrete can either be troweled into place within a prepared hole in the ground, or wooden forms can be created to build walls and a floor. With either construction method, rebar is used to reinforce the floor of the pond when concrete is poured, to prevent cracking and leaking.
Once the interior of the pond is complete, a waterproof coating is applied. This coating acts as a liner. The exterior of the pond can then be trimmed with plants, or faced with rocks, brick or other decorative materials. Because concrete is highly alkaline, it must cure completely and then be etched with muriatic acid to prevent a pH imbalance in the pond water.
Very Large Pond Construction
Very large ponds, such as those used at golf courses, parks and farms, require specialized construction methods, usually involving the use of heavy equipment such as a bulldozer or an excavator. Also, large ponds may require a spillway or drainage system.
There are two basic types of very large ponds. These are embankment ponds and excavation ponds. Embankment ponds are constructed by building a dam across a stream and allowing the water to build up behind it. While easy to construct, these are not recommended because of the risk of washout. Excavated ponds are constructed by digging the pond itself out of the landscape. The underlying soil should be able to support the pond properly, or be lined and properly compacted with clay to hold the water.
No matter what type of garden pond you plan to construct, these things should be taken into consideration: Select a good site. The landscape should be level enough to accommodate construction. There should also be an adequate water supply to fill the pond and allow for proper freshwater exchange.
Most ponds, even the smallest, need adequate filtration equipment to keep them clear of debris and to remove noxious chemicals that come from plant and animal waste products. For larger ponds, aeration equipment may also need to be installed to keep the water properly oxygenated.