PRODUCTION

How to Build a Pond – Supplies and Instructions


July 28, 2022

beautiful pond with surrounding flowers

Add beauty to your backyard and create a soothing space by installing a pond or water garden. Many people are surprised to learn how easy and affordable it can be to liven up their property with this aquatic feature.

If you want to elevate your landscape and create a vibrant ecosystem right outside your home, our guide on how to build a pond lists the tools needed, provides you with step-by-step instructions, and answers your most frequently asked questions.

What You Need to Build a Backyard Pond

dug hole with dirt and rock in wheelbarrow

Building a pond of any size may look like an intensive project at first, what with all the digging and pump kit installation, but building your garden pond can actually be very easy, budget-friendly, and does not require a lot of tools.

Although pond projects can vary in scope, here is a general idea of what you need to prepare a pond site:

  • Gardening gloves

American Glove, Wonder Grip Thermo Plus Double Layer Latex Coated Protection Gardening Work Gloves, WG-338

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Square spade

Commercial Grade Bully Planting Spade with Fiberglass Handle, 40 in.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Rounded shovel

True Temper Long-Handle Round-Point Digging Shovel, 48 in.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Wheelbarrow or bucket

Heavy Gauge Landscaper Wheelbarrow, 6 cu. ft.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Rope or garden hose

Swan Soft & Supple Heavy Duty Garden Hose 5/8" x 100ft

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Level

Johnson Box Beam Level, Aluminum, 24-In.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • The straight board that extends across the length and width of the pond
  • Measuring tape

STANLEY STHT30825 Measuring Tape, 25 ft L x 1 in W Blade, Steel Blade, Black/Yellow

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

  • Spray paint or chalk (if using a preformed pond)

Rust-Oleum Industrial Choice Precision Line Paint, Fluorescent Orange, 17 oz.

Not available online.

{{storeQuantity}} in stock in {{wg.store.city}}

Limited stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Out of stock in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Not carried in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Cannot be sold in {{wg.store.city}} Check nearby stores

Here is what you will need to build the pond:

  • Water
  • Pond underlayment
  • Pond liner
  • Pump
  • Filter
  • Tubing, fittings, and pipes
  • Water plants
  • Skimmer (optional)
  • Aerator (optional)
  • Lighting (optional)
  • Heater (optional)
  • Materials for pond edging (rocks and pebbles, stone pavers, plants, concrete, etc.)

Find many of these pond supplies at your local Wilco Farm Store or shop our online store.

How Easy Is it to Build a Pond?

Ultimately, the difficulty level depends on the size and features of the pond. A small backyard pond is relatively easy to build by yourself, although you may need help pulling the pond liner tight. Most of the work involves digging the dirt and moving small rocks.

How Long Does It Take to Build a Pond?

heart shaped pond in backyard

The estimated time for this project depends on the scope, including its size and features. In addition, weather and other delays can extend the timeline. It can take anywhere from one day for small ponds to a few weeks for larger projects.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Pond?

Building a small pond is a relatively affordable home improvement project that can increase your backyard appeal and provide a relaxing spot for you to find your bliss.

Building a complete garden pond setup can cost about $500 if you do your own labor and includes the cost of pumps, filters, liners, and other pond supplies.

On average, a professional pond installation can run you between $1,000 and $5,000 or more for luxury ponds with fish and other features.

When Should You Hire a Pro?

Many people can build a small pond on their own without hiring professional help. However, you may need extra help for bigger or more complex projects. If you have a lot of time and are handy in the backyard, you will not need much help.

If you are not confident in completing the project, a professional installation team can get it done right the first time.

Elements of a Pond

Garden ponds can vary in size, design, and function, but all share a few common elements that help maintain clean water.

  • Water agitator: Provides proper oxygenation of water and includes waterfalls, fountains, and bubblers.
  • Pump: Circulates water through the filter to the agitator.
  • Filter: Removes debris and algae from the water circulating through the pump.
  • Liner: A weather-resistant and fish-safe layer of material that prevent leaks into the ground.
  • Underlayment: A layer between the ground and the liner to protect the liner from punctures and stretching when installing.
  • Covered GFCI outlet: Connects and powers the pump and prevents electrocution by interrupting the current when it detects a surge.

How to Build a Pond

Ready to elevate your backyard? Here are step-by-step instructions on how to build a pond.

1. Choose a Location

Your pond should Ideally be in a location that gets sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon, especially if you plan to have fish in the pond. This helps maintain cool water temperatures and prevent algae blooms.

Research any rules and regulations regarding pond placement to prevent installing it over sewer lines, cables, or underground pipes. In addition, test the soil quality of the desired location to see if the soil can hold water properly.

Consider these additional factors when choosing a pond location:

  • Minimal slope
  • Near an electrical outlet; avoid using extension cords
  • Near a garden hose
  • Minimum 6 hours of sun per day
  • Not directly under a tree to prevent clogging the pump with leaves and other vegetation

Once you have found the perfect location, you can use a rope or garden hose to outline the shape and size of your pond. If you are using a preformed pond, turn it upside down on the pond site and trace around it with chalk or spray paint.

2. Dig the Pond

large dug hole for pond

Begin digging about 1 foot deep and wide from the edge of the pond to create a shelf where you can keep your water plants. Remove the dirt in a wheelbarrow or bucket to use later to level the pond.

Now, you can start digging the second tier about 6-12 inches deep with a slight slope for a 2 x 4 foot pond. Remove any rocks or other debris that can puncture the pond liner. If you will be keeping fish in your garden pond, ensure the pond is at least 24 inches deep for goldfish or 3 feet deep for koi.

Make sure the edges of the pond are level. You can do this by laying a 2 x 4 across the hole and leveling the edges.

3. Add the Underlayment and Pond Liner

First, start by checking if the liner is the right size and shape by laying it over the pond hole and pressing it into any gaps. Make sure there is at least a 10-inch overhang. If it’s the right size, you can remove it and add about 1 to 2 inches of an underlayment material such as carpet, newspaper, sand, or fiberglass insulation.

Make sure it covers all of the base and the pond and shelves. Smooth the surface with your hands, removing any roots and stones that could go through the lining. When the underlayment is installed, you can place the liner on top.

Pro tip: Do you have trouble with pesky burrowing wildlife? Install a ground hardware cloth or under your underlayment for the best protection.

4. Add Water

Once you have the layers set between the ground and the water, you can start filling your pond with clean water from a garden hose. As you fill your pond, you may need to adjust the edges of the liner. Only fill the pond halfway to start.

Some owners fill their ponds with rainwater they have collected before they started building. Rainwater is used because it has a good pH level for many plants and wildlife.

5. Set Up the Pond Kit and Pump

To keep your pond water ecosystem healthy, you need a few components to provide the right environment. Pond kits can contain everything you need to keep your water from accumulating a ton of debris and prevent stagnant water.

An agitator (fountain, bubbler, waterfall etc.) keeps your water oxygenated while the filter removes the debris, leaves, and bio-load. Mechanical filters trap debris before reaching the pump. Biological filters remove nitrates and ammonia and are good to have if you are keeping fish.

The pump keeps the water circulating, so the gallons per hour (GPH) rating should be enough to meet the needs of your pond’s volume. If you have a waterfall or fountain, you may need additional GPH.

Direct drive pumps are robust tools that can pump a lot of water. However, they are energy intensive and can spill oil if their seal does not work. A magnetic drive pump is more affordable than a direct drive one but isn’t as powerful. A hybrid drive has the performance of a direct drive with the energy-efficient qualities of a magnetic drive.

Pumps should be placed in the middle of the pond and be completely underwater. When you finish positioning it, you can finish filling the pond with water from your garden hose.

6. Personalize Your Pond

man with shovel with foot on rock

Add some personality to your new water feature with decorative elements and attachments such as spitters, water plants, artificial lily pads, and more. Some of the best plants for backyard ponds include lotuses, irises, and water hyacinths.

You can trim the edges of the visible liner or fold it under and use decorative features like rocks to hide the excess liner. A few floating lily pads and other aquatic plants can beautify the center of your pond.

Keep your fish pond healthy all year long with our guide on how to clean a fish pond.

How Long Do Pond Liners Last?

Ponds can last for decades with the proper care and maintenance. A major factor in its longevity will be its liner. High-quality liners can have a 20-year warranty and last anywhere from 30 to 40 years if the right material is installed properly.

Preformed pond liners, however, can last 10-15 years at most since their fiberglass construction can crack with underground movement. Once it has reached the end of its lifespan, you will need to install a new pond and liner, removing the original pond.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of pond liners available:

  • EPDM/rubber pond liners: They’re strong, durable, and one of the most popular choices. They can last 30-40 years.
  • PVC pond liners: They’re very flexible, perfect for ponds with a lot of curves and bends. High-quality PVC liners can last 20 years.
  • Polyethylene pond liners: They offer a good mix of flexibility and durability at an affordable cost. They can last about 20 years.
  • RPE pond liners: Reinforced polyethylene is very strong and lightweight, although not as flexible as other liners. These can last well over 40 years.

Water Treatments

Pond owners are recommended to invest in pond water treatment products, such as sludge removers, water clarifiers, and chlorine removers.

  • Chlorine remover removes chlorine and chloramines and neutralizes heavy metals found in tap water.
  • The water clarifier clumps dirt and sediment together, causing it to fall to the bottom and go through the filter.
  • Sludge remover has water-revitalizing bacteria that consume starches, fats, carbohydrates, and cellulose debris in ponds. In addition, it can reduce odors from organic decay.

Some algae in your pond can help provide healthy oxygen, but too much can be harmful to the health of the water and fish. When the algae is getting out of hand, barley or barley tablets or liquid can be a natural material that releases compounds that reduce algae growth.

Shop for Pond Supplies at Wilco Farm Stores

Building your own pond requires planning and a bit of hard work, but it can be installed on a budget and in a short time to provide years of relaxation. If you’re ready to get your project started, shop Wilco Farm Stores for all your pond supplies.

Category
Author
Tags