How To Build a Garden Pond

Research the topic of water gardening before attempting to build your own backyard garden pond. These steps will help you cut down on costly mistakes that can increase the cost and the time involved with the project.

  1. Decide whether you want to install a preformed pond or a liner pond. Preformed ponds are pre-fabricated plastic shells that facilitate installation. Pond liner (i.e. EPDM liner) allows for greater versatility and design, but a liner pond requires more expertise.
  2. Survey your backyard to determine the best location for a garden pond.
    • Install the pond as close to the house as possible to maximize enjoyment.
    • Ensure that there are no underground utilities at the pond site (check with your local utility company prior to digging).
    • Take the slope of the land into consideration. Avoid locating your pond at the bottom of a slope (to avoid water runoff), and near an eavestrough, which will flood your pond.
  3. Draw your design on paper.
  4. Make a list of the materials required. For a preformed pond, you will need the preformed shell, a pond pump, and a pond filter. A preformed watercourse is optional.

    For a liner pond, you will need EPDM liner (use a pond calculator to determine how much you need), liner underlay, a pond filter, and a pond pump.

  5. Purchase the materials required. Pond materials can be purchased from garden centers, online stores, and some big-box stores.
  6. Hire laborers to dig a hole, according to your design. Keep the dirt that is excavated from the pond. This dirt will be useful as backfill in the next stage.
  7. Install the preformed pond or EPDM liner. The preformed pond will have to be backfilled around the edges (use the dirt accumulated from the previous step).
  8. Position the pump into place. If you have a waterfall, the pump should be positioned at the opposite end of the waterfall. The pond pump's main duty is to cycle the water. Without a proper pond pump, stagnant water will become breeding grounds for mosquitos. Therefore, it is recommended that you circulate your pond water once every 2 hours. When looking for a pond pump, find one that has a gallons-per-hour (GPH) at LEAST 1/2 the volume (in gallons) of your pond. Magnetic-driven pumps are quieter and more energy-efficient than direct-drive pumps.
  9. Connect pond filter to the pond pump. There are three types of filtration: mechanical (to remove sediments), biological (to house beneficial bacteria in order to remove fish waste from the water), and UV clarification (to control algae).
  10. Slowly fill the pond with water.
  11. Turn on the pond pump when it is completely submersed. Never turn on a pond pump unless it is submersed in water. Running a pond pump dry will burn out the motor.
  12. Add any additional pond accessories. Accessories for preformed ponds may include preformed watercourses, pond spitters, underwater pond lighting.

    Accessories for liner ponds may include a pond skimmer, underwater pond lightning.

  13. Landscape around the pond with boulders, stone, and flowers. Add a retaining wall (optional).
  14. Add fish and aquatic plants to complete the pond eco-system. Adding fish to the pond will require a larger pump (in order to aerate the pond with oxygen).  Consult the pump manufacturer to properly size your pump.

Gerald Mann recommends that you visit Garden Supermart for all your garden pond needs, including pond pumps, pond kits and preformed ponds.

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