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How to Build a Pond in 5 Easy Steps

Outdoor pond with fountains.

Creating a pond in your yard is a great way to add a stunning and tranquil water feature to your outdoor décor. We’ll walk you through how to mark and dig your DIY pond, line and fill it properly and decorate it to make it look natural and beautiful with a few simple steps.

Skill Level: Intermediate
  1. Step 1 Mark Location, Size and Shape of your Pond

    Person marking pond location.

    When selecting a location for your backyard pond, remember that you’ll need a power source for your pump and any accessories, so place it in a convenient location. Using a string or cord, lay out the shape of your pond in the grass. You can also use marking spray paint to mark your layout. The bigger the pond, the more powerful pump you’ll need, so keep that in mind when planning. 

  2. Step 2 Start Digging

    person marking pond location

    With your shape laid out, grab a shovel and start digging straight down from the outlines. Remember to clear all rocks and debris from the walls of your pond as you don’t want anything to interfere with or puncture the liner. Always check with your local building plans and codes before digging a hole on your property to ensure that you’re not hitting any power or water lines. If you plan to create a waterfall, use flat rocks or stone to build elevation for the water to run down from. 

  3. Step 3 Install Pond Liner

    Person installing pond liner.

    Line your pond with a PVC liner that is lightweight and durable. Make sure to install it smooth side down and press it down to ensure a tight fit. Installing a layer of weed-blocking landscaping fabric can help block any plants or foliage from growing underneath and puncturing your liner. Once you’ve got the liner in place, fill the pond half-way with clean water and adjust the edges of your lining as the weight increases. Leave a 10-inch overhand around the outside of your pond so you can layer decorative stones around it to both hide the liner and provide support for it, so it doesn’t fall into the pond.

  4. Step 4 Install Pond Pump and Accessories

    Person installing pond liner.

    Having the correct pump for your pond size is crucial for creating good water circulation and a healthy effective environment for plant life, water features like waterfalls and fish if you have them.

    For rectangular ponds, use this formula:

    Length x Width x Depth x 7.5 = total gallons

    For circular ponds, use this formula:

    Length x Width x Depth x 5.9 = total gallons

    You pump should be able to circulate each gallon about once every two hours, so pick a pump that has a gallons per hour rating that is half your pond's size or more. So, if your pond is 450 gallons, you could use either a 210 GPH pump or a 330 GPH pump. If you’re unsure, always go for the larger pump.

    Connect any accessories as per the manufacturer’s directions. If you have a waterfall in your pond, consider getting a higher GPH pump to ensure that it flows consistently.    

  5. Step 5 Hide Liner and Decorate

    Person cutting pond liner.

    Use decorative stones, rocks or bricks to hide your pond liner edges. This allows you to add additional support for your liner while giving you the freedom to layer the stones to create a beautiful, unique edge around your pond. You can add plants or mulch around the edges to further accentuate the edging. For the pond itself, consider adding floating lily pads for a natural, earthy look and feel. You’ve now built you very own DIY water feature!

What You Need for This Project

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