Building a pond can be simple or complex and it can very quickly turn into a disaster if you don’t know what you are doing. We have put together this simple how to page in hopes you’ll be able to get it right first time. There are many steps you have to take when building a pond. Here is our basis guide on building a pond.
Steps to build a pond
Pond type and depth
Some people think it’s as easy as getting a shovel, digging a hole and filling it with water. But there are plenty of factors people tend to leave out, only to be disheartened at the finish.
The first question you should ask yourself is “What type of pond do I want?” “Do I want a wildlife pond, a fish pond or formal pond?” This is very personal and will differ drastically to the individual but it is crucial in order to plan the pond’s depth. For example: A wildlife pond doesn’t need to be as deep as a pond for fish.
Below are some examples on different pond depths you may want to consider:
- A wildlife pond’s depth should be no more than 0.5M
- For small fish, the ideal depth for ponds are between 0.6M-1M
- For larger scaled fish such as Koi, we recommend pond depths between 1 to 2M deep
It is important to make sure the pond’s depths are suited to what you want to hold in your pond as during the winter, deeper ponds will allow fish to stay warm, allowing them to hibernate more comfortably.
The next step is to plan the pond’s location. We like to try to install ponds where they will be visible and on display at all times. This could be by your patio or decking seating area for example. It’s also nice to be able to see your pond in the comfort of your own home, so picking a location in the garden where your pond will be visible from your living room, kitchen window or bedroom is also an important factor to consider.
Consider what resources your pond will need within it’s location
Try to pick a location for your pond that isn’t hit by sunshine throughout the whole day, shaded areas are best. Ponds that are in sunlight all day commonly grow algae and have reoccurring problems with the clarity of the water.
It’s also important to factor in the pond’s surroundings such as trees. In the autumn when leaves begin to fall off they can land into the pond and start to decay. This will lead to serious water quality issues in the future. However, don’t let this deter you away from having a pond. This can be sorted by installing a pond skimmer or placing a pond net during the autumn over the pond to ensure no unwanted debris falls in. Or simply remove leaves as they fall with a pond net.
The shape of your pond is completely up to you, some choose a square, rectangular or circular shape, whilst some decide to go very creative and create many different shapes. All are doable, but if this is your first time building a pond, we suggest keeping it simple.
Start by ensuring the ground is level and although sometimes this may not be practical, it will definitely help with the construction of your pond build, the water level as well as the finished result. If you find the base to be uneven, build up the ground with soil from the lowest point. After all, it’s easier to add height than to take it away.
Outline the desired shape of your choice with a landscaping spray paint or garden hose
Once you’re happy with the shape of your pond, dig out the area starting with your first marginal shelf if you wish to add aquatic plants. We recommend this to be around 30cm deep.
After this, you’re free to dig your pond to the desired depth.
Measurements for the pond liner
If you decide to line your pond, you will need to work out what size pond liner you need in order to line your pond. You can do this by carefully measuring your pond’s length, making sure to follow the contours (depths) of the pond. The said measurement will now be the size needed to fit your pond’s length. Repeat this process for the width.
Be sure to consider an extra 30cm on each side of the pond for folding.
Now you have your liner, ensure your ground is free of any hard or sharp rocks, root systems or any other debris that may cause an issue in the future.
If the ground is free of dangerous debris, start to lay a protective underlay for your liner to sit on. This will ensure maximum protection of the liner from potential punctures of rocks and roots you may have missed.
Unroll your chosen liner being extra cautious not to damage it, allow the pond liner to unfold to the deepest parts of the liner, ensuring enough of it to overhang the liner on the ponds edges. This is to ensure you have full coverage of the pond. Any unwanted and unnecessary ends can be cut off and discarded.
To ensure your pond’s ecosystem is thriving, it is essential to install proper filtration suited for the size of your pond.
It is important that your pond filtration to match both your ponds size and fish load, especially if you’re considering adding more fish to your pond in the future. It’s always best to upsize your pond filtration system to ensure maximum protection to your fish health, water clarity and overall quality.
Planting and decorative options
Planting aquatic compost allows you to get even more creative with your pond. Not only do they benefit the pond’s water quality, it also stop ponds looking “man made”, giving them a natural look if correctly planted.
Adding aquatic plants helps your pond’s ecosystem to thrive. They help reduce harmful nutrients in your pond water. They also give your pond much needed shade and also fight off algae.
Struggling to choose aquatic plants for your pond?
Read our “10 Aquatic Plants to Consider for your Pond” for some inspiration.
Most importantly, get creative and have fun!
There are thousands of ways you can build a pond and create beautiful water gardens for your local wildlife. Enjoy adding personal touches to your pond, maybe you have a garden statue in the corner of your garden you can implement? Add a stream, add lighting. Anything goes. It’s completely up to you!
While this is a basic guide on getting you started, we understand it can be overwhelming building a pond and if done incorrectly, the end result can be very disheartening.
If you’d prefer the Wellies and Waders team to help you today, please get in contact with us and we can arrange a free consultation for you.
Wellies & Waders
Phone: 07376 528519
Monday-Saturday: 08:00 – 18:00
We are proud and excited to announce the release of our new children’s activity book called “Something’s Wrong In The Pond”. This includes a story on the pond's ecosystem, colouring pages, connect the dots and other activities for you and your family to join in on the fun.
Welcome! We provide Pond Cleaning, Pond Repair & Renovation, Pond Design & Build, Pond Advice, Pond planting and Gardening Services all year round!