How to build a small pond in your backyard

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How to build a small pond in your backyard. In this article, I will show you how to build a small pond a by your self and where to find the right tools and products you need to accomplish your pond building project

Where to place your small pond

The first thing you need to do is ask your self is where do I place it? Well, It should be placed where you want to enjoy it. The main thing is to make sure there is ample space for your water feature.  The last thing you want is to put it where your friends or family will never notice or enjoy it.

Also, Install it in a place where you can view it from inside your home especially during the winter season. At the end of your backyard, a pond will make your yard look deeper, or you can install it in a place where you see it all the time even if you are in your house, personally, that is the option I like the most.

Another thing to consider is shade.  It’s best to place your pond where there is partial shade.  Underneath a large shady tree or morning, sun and afternoon shade works well.  This will help your plants and fish thrive during the mid-summer heat.

Choose the right liner for your pond

Pick the right liner for your pond. You can choose a preformed liner or a soft liner, for this article we will go talk about both forms. The hard pond liner is more durable, easier to install, no conception problem and easier to clean. The one pictured below still needs sand between the liner and the rocks.

How to build a small pond in your backyard
A small preformed pond liner

How to build a small pond in your backyard

A soft liner is basically the same setup but it does require some imagination on your part.  You will also have to carry large boulders and place them on the edge of the pond,  This will keep the liner from dropping down into the hole.  The soft liner is less expensive but more trouble setting it up.

How to build a small pond in your backyard
Place small boulders around your plastic liner to keep if from falling back into the pond.


Most local nurseries will have hard and soft liners for sale including the big box stores.

Now that you know how big, how deep and where your pond is going to be, you will have to check with the local authority to see if your plan conforms with their rules, Depending on where you live, rules might be different, it is always good to check with them first.

You will have to choose the form before digging so you will have the exact shape and the depth of the hole.  Choosing the preformed is a lot easier just turn the preformed liner upside down and trace the contour of the liner with a trowel or small shovel.  Start digging out space for your pond and remember to go about 2-4 inches further to allow the liner to slightly expand after adding water.

No matter what liner you choose you will have to add good sand between the liner and the soil.  This is important because any type of hard objects such as rocks large pebbles or other debris may eventually break your liner.

Get the right pond pump

You will need a pump especially if you are going to have fish in the water.  Fish help produce nitrogen in the water with their waste.  The water plants need this nitrogen to help them grow and produce oxygen into the water.  Without a pump, your water eco-system will die.

It is important to size up the right pump for your small pond.  For a small pond with some goldfish or small KOI, you will need a pump that will deliver about 500 GPH.  One quick note about KOI as these type of fish will only get large with a larger pond.  This means if you have a small pond KOI will stay small.

To determine the size pump you’ll need, you need to measure your preformed pond.  Measure the length times the width plus the depth of the pond.  For instance an 8 ft. in length X 4 ft in width X water depth of 4 ft.  and you will have a 960-gallon pond.  So…for a pond with that much you will need at least a 500 GPH sized pump.

If your math is not good like mine is you could use this great little tool over at Pond Volume Calculator to determine how much water your pond will hold.

Hire a professional electrician to set up your pond system.

The third step is to bring electricity to the pond, this step should be done by a professional if it’s more then an extension cord.

The other thing you can do is to get a solar pump, this way you won’t need wires.  After that, it’s time to put water into your new pond to see if everything is right. Start the pump to make sure it’s working properly before you start decorating your area.

The fourth step, the one people like the most is decorating your area. Make it look as natural as you can, with rocks, plants to hide wires and the contour of the liner. After that, you can add decorative solar light this will give a nice accent to your pond at night.

Type of water plants for your pond

The following are plants that go inside your pond.

  1. Water Hyacinth
  2. Water Lily
  3. Pickerel Plants
  4. Taro Plants
  5. Water Lettuce
  6. Blue Iris Plants

Types of plants that will do well on the sides of your pond.

  1. Daylilies
  2. Feather Grass
  3. Zebra Grass
  4. Sweet Flag Grass
  5. Pennywort
  6. Creeping Jenny
  7. Sedum
  8. Blanketflower
  9. Liriope

Of course in this step I give you the basics, the only limitation you have in decorating your pond is your own imagination, push it as much as you can, you will love the result.

The thing I love the most about installing a small pond in your backyard is that you can upgrade or change things as much as you want to, so every year you should add or change something.

Congratulations you have built your first pond.  Looking for some great ideas for a water feature? Go Here. 

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