Building a garden pond is not just a matter of digging a hole, lining it with plastic and filling it with water. There are other considerations such as whether it should contain fish or just plants; how big or small it should be; its shape, and so on. Be prepared to dig a decent hole and spend many hours complaining about your aching back … but you’ll be very pleased with the results and you can happily stand around, beer in hand, praising your efforts after the fact. For those who have done it, building a garden pond can be a very satisfying project indeed.
Step 1 – Decide on where to build your pond.
Naturally, level ground would be best or else you’ll spend far more time and effort doing the levelling yourself. Building a garden pond under a tree is unwise as the roots will continue to grow and could encroach upon the pond’s territory in the future. The shade of the tree will also mean a lack of sunlight, which is essential to your pond’s survival. Since you will need electricity for the pump, proximity to an outlet is important.
Step 2 – Prefabricated or do-it-yourself liner?
Prefabs are the more expensive option but you pay for ease of installation, durability and low maintenance. Liners are available in different price ranges and generally speaking, the more you pay, the longer your liner will last.
Step 3 – Installation
For a prefab pond, tip it upside down on the area you’ve reserved, mark it out with 6 to 8 inches extra around the outside and start digging. If using liners, measure your outline keeping in mind the size of the liner you will be using. Building a garden pond that will last for years means that all debris should be removed from the cavity to avoid punctures to the bottom of the pond. Once the hole is the required depth and size, add the prefab or lay the lining. Fill to about one quarter capacity with water so that the weight will keep the pond in place as you refill the gaps with soil.
Step 4 – Decoration
You can now add plants, rocks, bark and stone around the ‘banks’ of the pond for a more natural appearance. If you intend to add fish, plants that overhang into the water will be useful as shade and hiding spots.
Step 5 – Add aquatic plants
If you’re building a garden pond that doesn’t have a pump, you should aim for plenty of plant life to keep algae growth under control.
Step 6 – Install a pump and filter
There are dozens of models on the market and your retailer will be able to help you decide which size is best for your pond. Read the instructions and follow carefully, but it’s generally a simple task to place the pump in the water and connect the hose to it. The filter needs to be positioned in front of the pump to encourage water through the filter first. Building a garden pond and outfitting it should take little more than a weekend, which is one of the things that makes it so rewarding.