Pond Maintenance in Autumn
Pond Maintenance in Autumn

How to Build Your Very Own Pond

If you have always wanted to get a backyard pond, it is quite possible without having to break the bank. Many homeowners today have this, with hundreds of thousands building them yearly. So, why all the fuss about a hole filled with water? First of all, well-designed ponds are very attractive. Secondly, water gardening is getting more popular, and many people view ponds as an interesting concept. Lastly, ponds can transform a simple backyard into a magnificent yard with an elegant touch.

If you want to set up a pond manually at your backyard, this is the right place for you. We will discuss the main steps to take to transform your backyard with the pond that will have your neighbors peeping through their fences. Start off by measuring your garden and estimating what size would be appropriate. The average backyard pond is usually 11 by 16 feet. Some designs have waterfalls trickling down, others have fancy shapes with streaks of water spilling over rocks down to the pond. It all depends on what one wants; you can customize it to your preference right after using our guide for building the basic version.

You will need the following items:

  • Rake
  • Mason’s sand
  • Geotextile fabric
  • Pump
  • Hose
  • Limestone or chalk
  • Perimeter rope
  • Measuring kit
  • Flat stones different sizes
  • GFCI outlet with weatherproof cover
  • Sand
  • River rock
  • Waterproof Black foam Sealant
  • Water

Step One – Digging Out the pond

Step One – Digging Out the pond
Step One – Digging Out the pond

After identifying a suitable size for the pond, choose the ideal location and lay it out using a perimeter rope. Mark the outline of the design and size using chalk powder or limestone, then start the digging process. Excavate approximately 16 inches by piling up dirt at the edge of the pond where the waterfall will be based. Estimate the central point of the pond then dig another 10 inches deep to form a hole where a pump will be placed.

Line both the hole and the pit with mason’s sand and smoothen it with a rake. Take the geotextile fabric and fold it into two. Place it at the center of the pond then stretch it out to cover the whole hole, and the walls of the pond. The sand used will help in cushioning the rubber lining which is very flexible, preventing it from being punctured.

Step Two – Laying Rubber

How to Build Your Very Own Pond
How to Build Your Very Own Pond

Be careful with this step so as not to puncture the lining. Once the lining is in place, smoothen it out across the base using your hands or feet, then gently push the liner to spread well throughout the hole. Fill the pit with water from the hose pipe to hold the lining in position. Once the pit is full, overlap stones of different sizes along the floor of the hole. Make sure the stones cover at least a foot of width along the wall. Smaller stones can be used to fill up any gaps. Once the stones are at the same height as the ground, align another set of stones around the pit as preferred. Ensure the hose of the pump is in place in a way that it extends from the central part of the pit to the hole. Then place a stone carefully above the hose to hold it in place. Finally, place a flat rock at the area set aside for the pump to serve as a base for it.

The next step is called coping and it involves setting up the flat stones around the perimeter. Stack more at the end of the pond to make the waterfall. A great estimate is around twelve to eighteen inches above the pond’s water level. Set up the weir of the waterfall on top of a large rock at the top of the layers. Now, connect the weir’s hose to the hose’s pump that is coming out of the pond. Once done, trim the liner to match the waterfall’s opening at the weir’s front, then attach the pond liner to the weir with a screw-on faceplate. Cover the weir with dirt and continue the rock piling until everything is covered up.

When all the stones are layered up, use a waterproof black foam sealant to secure them. A thin bead of the waterproof sealant can also be used to seal the waterfall’s weir under lip. This will prevent spillage.

Step Three – Plugging It All In

Pond Maintenance in Spring
Pond Maintenance in Spring

The final step is to fill the spaces within the stones on the pond’s floor with river rock. Then wash the stonework around the pit, bail or pump out the dirty water. Connect the pump to its hose then set the pump on the stone set as its base. Before connecting the power cord, counter-check with a technician whether it poses a safety hazard. The power cord can then be passed through the small openings in between the stones and under them to a GFCI-protected outlet that should also have weather-proof covering. Once connected fill the remaining part of the hole with water within a three to four-inch range of the perimeter coping stones. Once filled, set up the pump by plugging it in. It’s now only a matter of seconds before your pond comes to life with water spilling out of its weir.

Step Four – Practicing Pond Safety

How To Keep Your Pond Beautifully Maintained Year Round
Sit Back and Enjoy your Pond

If you have small children, ensure your pond is fenced, or have a grown up monitoring them at all times. This is because ponds constitute drowning hazards to children especially if they have frogs and fish.  It can also pose a tripping hazard, especially in darkness at night. Make sure the place is well lit and the nearby paths are illuminated well. If you intend to put animals such as fish or frogs ensure the pond is a clean environment for both the animals and plants. This can be done by use of algaecides, chlorine remover and sludge removers among others. However, read the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

Building this pond can take up to three days if you are fast. All the best!


Author’s Bio: Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.

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