How to Build Your Own Backyard Pond

Backyard Pond

No matter how you look at it, having a backyard pond gives your property a more sophisticated and classy look. The truth is that a lot of people want to build one, but the truth is that they don’t know how to go about it.

And if you think about it for a second, a pond shouldn’t be that hard to build since all you have to do is dig a hole and fill it with water, right? Well, in theory this may sound simple, but when you start working on the project, then you’ll realize it’s a bit more complicated than you initially thought.

Backyard Pond Flowers

Yet prior to thinking about the aquatic animals and plants you’d like to populate your pond with, you should focus on the necessary equipment and supplies needed in order to make it. Contrary to what some people may want to believe, this doesn’t really need to be a huge project.

On average, a pond measures eleven by sixteen feet, but the good news is that you can build it as big or as small as you please. Depending on your chosen design, you can also make a pond at the lowest point of a stream so it empties into the pond. On the other hand, if you like smaller ponds, then you can go for a design where water runs over a level rock and then spills into your small pond. Not only does it look great, but it’s also very simple to build as we’re going to see below.

Digging It

Digging your Pond
By Gilles San Martin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Decide on a location where you’d like to dig the pond and then prepare the perimeter by making use of a hose and rope. Use ground limestone for making the outline and then get to work and dig. You should dig to a depth of sixteen inches and make sure that the dirt will be piled at the back of your pond. This is where the cascade is going to be. Now, in the middle of your pond make sure to dig another ten inches in order to create a pit where the pump is going to go.

Use screened mason’s sand (make sure that it is raked smooth) in order to line the pit and the hole as well. Next, add geotextile fabric atop of the sand to protect the pond liner. Keep in mind that the fabric needs to be large enough in order to go over the walls, the pump pit and finally, the hole.

Laying Rubber

At this point you’ll need to consider folding the rubber line lengthwise, centering it over the pit and then carefully unfolding it. Check all sides and ensure that the liner overlaps them equally. Using your bare feet and hands, go ahead and press the liner into the pit. Get a hose if you don’t have one already and fill the middle pit with water.

If you’re going to handle a lot of stone, then you should make sure to move it as little as possible. Better yet, you may want to tell your supplier to deliver it exactly to where you want to build the pond.

At this point you’ll need to stack rocks on the bottom of the pond in 1′ wide layer across the wall. Next, the stones should be overlapped between courses and small rocks should be used for filling the larger gaps.

Now the pump’s hose needs to be set into position in order to extend on top of the pit from the middle pit. The stones should now be laid carefully over your garden hose until they are level with the floor. One layer of level rocks needs to be set over the plant shelf and aligned in such a way that they are flush with middle pit’s edge. After that, 1 flat rock should be placed in the bed of the trench since they’re going to become the pump’s base.

At this point the pump should be connected to the hose. The pump then needs to be set on a level rock in the bed of the trench. To ensure the electrical part of this project is handled properly, you should ask for the help of a qualified and certified electrician.

Turn on the water and make sure the pond is filled with water within three to four inches of the coping rocks.

Use flat and large rocks throughout the perimeter and make sure they are properly stacked at the back of the pit so they create the cascade. A great tip to follow would be to consider building it to approximately twelve to eighteen inches above the water level.

The cascade weir should be set in place at the top of a flat and large rock which needs to be tipped forward a bit. Next, the weir’s hose needs to be connected to the pump’s hose that comes out of the small pond. At this point, the rubber pond liner should be trimmed in such a way that it perfectly matches the opening at weir’s front. Use the screw-on faceplate for attaching the liner to the weir. Now, you should use dirt and rocks to backfill around the weir. You can easily conceal it by putting a stone atop of it.

Use waterproof black foam sealant in order to secure the rocks around the weir and don’t forget that you should also consider applying some sealant as well.

This guy made a very good instructional video showing how to create a pond on your backyard. It’s a bit long one but it shoes many aspects of the process.

Plugging In

Use three and a quarter inch river rock for filling the spaces between the rocks on the bed of the pond. The murky water from the pit should then be bailed or pumped out of it. After that, you can start filling the pond and plug in the pump when it’s done.

Pond Safety

If you decide to have frogs and fish in your pond, make sure that you keep children away from it, since such ponds are a real drowning hazard. Because of that, it’s often recommended that you fence the pond. If you don’t have kids though, then you should at least illuminate the path to it at night in order to prevent tripping hazards.

One more thing, make a welcoming party for the fish and frogs :-)

Backyard Pond Frog