Garden ponds are a popular feature for landscaping around the home. A garden pond can be a small feature tucked into an alcove in a foundation planting, or in the shadow of a deck, or it can be a large feature that dominates a yard or pond. When installing a garden pond from a pre-formed liner, it is important that the surfaces are level so that the liner fits the excavation snugly.
Lay out your pond using a garden hose to establish the size and shape.
Hammer stakes into the ground around the footprint of the pond using a rubber mallet.
Attach string to the stakes and lay out a grid pattern by weaving the string between the mallets.
Excavate the soil in your pond by scooping the dirt out with a shovel. Use the grid as a guide to mapping shelves along the walls of the pond.
Place a sheet of plywood on the floor of the pond. Place a carpenter's level over the plywood to check that the floor of the pond is level.
If the pond is not level, scrape soil from the floor of the pond and re-check the level. Continue to do this until you have flattened the base of your pond.
Check the lip of the pond to see if it is level using a 2-by-4 inch board and the carpenter's level. Mound up excavated soil around the lip in any low spot.