How to Build a Pond
Easily, Cheaply and Beautifully
By Kathy Wilson
Building a pond for your garden is not nearly as complicated as I
first supposed. I built a pretty little pond in my front yard just
off the front walk and next to the porch where I could sit and enjoy
the sights and sounds. And I did it in a weekend without ANY
professional help! Here's how to build your own pond, and tips on
easy maintenance as well.
Step one- Rough out the area the size you want your pond. A pond can
be as large as you wish, but I chose to make mine approximately 4x8
feet. Check with your local code if you plan to place the pond in an
unfenced area…some towns limit the depth of the pond if it is
unfenced, usually to 12 inches.
Decide if you just want a decorative pond, or a complete water garden
with live plants and fish. I chose a decorative pond with a fountain
feature, but keep in mind a water garden will require a deeper pond
with more maintenance.
Step two- Once you have the pond shape marked with either paint,
chalk or a spare hose laid out on the border, its time for the hard
work! Dig! My original pond was 18 inches deep to allow for some
goldfish my children wanted. Goldfish are tough as nails, but keeping
up with the algae was tougher! When doing some repairs the following
spring, I removed the fish and backfilled my pond until it was only
12 inches deep. Whatever you choose, excavate the pond to the desired
depth and try to keep the sides as vertical as possible. This will
make it easier to hide the liner later.
Lay some material in the bottom of the pond to cushion the liner
against rocks, sticks and other items likely to punch holes. Good low
budget ideas are newspaper, old carpet or even sand.
Step three- Purchase a pond liner from your local supplier or
discount store. Measure your pond depth x 2 and add to the length
plus 2 feet- that is the length of your liner. Your pond depth x 2
added to the width plus 2 feet- that is the width of your liner. The
extra 2 feet allows for fitting and cutting away of the excess.
Lay the liner over the pond and fit into the bottom, fill halfway
with water and allow to sit several hours or overnight to settle the
soil. Trim the liner to hang just 3-4 inches over the lip of the pond…
that few inches is important, better to trim too little than too
much, you can always go back later and re-trim. If you are going to
add a fountain pump, place it in the pond now.
Step four- Now you want to hide the edges of the pond liner with
rocks. Flagstone in my part of the country is pretty expensive, so I
figured out a way to get the flagstone look for only $25. I picked up
a case of slate floor tiles, and used a hammer to break them into
pieces. I lay the slate over the lip of the pond with the broken side
facing the pond center. I then hid any smooth edges of the tiles with
river rocks from my yard, simply layered on top of the slate. You can
also use the local rocks to hide any excess pond liner as well. Plug
in your fountain pump, and set it onto a brick to achieve the right
height if necessary. Make sure you have a GFI outlet to plug into, if
not, consider a solar pump.
Step five- Add plants and accessories around the pond to make it a
welcoming place for all your visitors! Be sure there is seating
nearby, and a birdfeeder in the nearby trees will ensure a steady
supply of feathered friends to enjoy your pond oasis!
There are many algae controls available for those not interested in
learning the complexities of creating a natural biological
environment in their water garden. Even discount stores carry such
supplies the garden section. A small amount of bleach will also keep
the water clean, though you must be careful to use small amounts, and
avoid this method if wildlife frequents your pond.
Fast, easy and a showstopper that will add real value to your garden
and your home.
Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and
is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more
home and garden ideas at
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