The sound of splashing water and the sight of colorful fish swimming in a pond is relaxing. Not only that, but a water feature adds life to your backyard, attracting all sorts of wildlife.
Building your backyard pond is easier than you think. Depending on the size of your project, you can complete the job in a day. Basically, a pond is just a hole in the ground with a rubber liner and a pump.
Planning and Placing Your Pond
First, find a good place for your pond, an area where you can easily see, access, and appreciate it.
When choosing the location for your pond, keep it away from areas where small children and pets might play. Also, the power cord on pond pumps are generally 25′ or less, so it will need to be close enough to an outlet to plug in the pump. As an alternative, you can use a solar-powered pond pump that doesn’t have a cord.
Steer clear of large trees and their root systems. Placing the pond where it can get sunlight will help to foster healthy pond plants.
You might also want to call 811 to ensure no underground power or gas lines are running through your area.
You’ll need at least 40 cubic feet of water in your pond for it to stay clean. That’s a minimum of 7′ by 4′. Furthermore, if you plan to add fish later on, keep in mind that they’ll need some depth. Goldfish need a pond that’s 18″ to 24″ deep, and Koi need a depth of at least 36″.
Digging the Pond
First, lay out the outline of your pond. As you dig, create a shallow ledge just inside the edge of the pond to hold the rocks that will anchor the rubber pond liner.
Next, create a deeper ledge to hold the potted plants. Plants won’t just make your pond look beautiful. They also help keep the water clean. As you dig, slope the sides until you reach the desired depth. Be sure edges are levelled.
After digging the pond to your desired depth, a 1″ layer of sand on the bottom. This will cushion and protect the pond liner. Some people also place a layer of newspaper on top of the sand.
The Pond Liner
Liners for small ponds are generally made from EDPM or polypropylene. You need a weather-resistant one that can also withstand exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Also, look for one that is “fish-safe” and has a 10 to 20-year warranty. Once you find the perfect liner, get it in a size that will fit your pond’s width, length, and depth.
Place the liner in the pond and make sure it has an equal overlap on all sides. Next, jump in, and press the liner down and into the corners with your feet. Partially fill the pond with water to hold the liner in place.
Next, place your stones around the edges within the first ledge. Allow a few inches to overhang the side of the pond. Flat flagstones work well, or you could use paving bricks. Stack two layers of stones, staggering the edges for a natural look. Also, place a few stones along the plant ledge to hold it down.
Placing the Pond Pump
Position a flat paving stone at the lowest, center point in the pond, and set the pump on top of it. Lead the pump’s hose up the sides of the pond, laying stone over it to secure it. Set the end of the hose within a stack of stones at the edge of the pond. This would allow water to flow like a waterfall. Make sure the water will spill back into the pond, and not onto the ground.
Next, run the pump’s power cord under and between the stones covering the pump hose. You’ll need to plug it into an outlet with a weatherproof cover. An even better option would be to use a solar-powered pond pump.
The Finishing Touches
Fill the pond with water up to 3″ under the edge stones and turn on the pump. Let the water and pump run for at least 24 hours to clear the water of chlorine.
The next step is to place some plants in your pond. These can go into clay pots set around the second ledge in the pond. Plants such as anacharis add oxygen to the water.
After a few more days, add your fish. Goldfish are affordable, easy to care for, and can grow quite large. Koi is another excellent choice. But they do grow very large, requiring a lot more room than goldfish.
The final step is to set up a lawn chair, grab a glass of iced tea, sit back and enjoy your new pond.