Preliminary Considerations Before Constructing

a Backyard Garden Pond
by Gerry Fung
April 20, 2008

This article is geared towards the beginner water gardener, who is contemplating the installation of his/her first garden pond. The key to a successful do-it-yourself project is to gather as much relevant information that you can. Conveniently, the website is organized in a manner to provide you with all the information that is required. To follow are some preliminary considerations and design tips from the website that must be taken into account, before embarking on a water gardening project.


1. Location

Install it as close as the house as possible to maximize enjoyment. For safety reasons, make sure that there are no underground utilities where you will be excavating. Check with your local utility company before you begin digging.

Be sure to consider the slope of the land and the location of the pond in order to avoid rainwater runoff. If the pond is located in a low-lying area, lawn fertilizers and other chemicals can wash into the pond and harm the fish and plants.

To grow healthy aquatic plants, you will require adequate sun exposure. Most aquatic plants require four to six hours of sunlight per day to ensure healthy growth.

2. Size

Make your pond as large as possible, to give you flexibility when you later fill up the pond with fish and plants.

3. Purpose

Do you want to focus on growing water lilies? If so, locate the pond in full sun. Do you want to raise pond fish? If so, shady areas would be preferred.

4. Edging

You can edge your pond with stones, boulders, plants, beaches, and docks. Plan ahead how you would like to edge your pond.

5. Style

Natural style ponds are built to create the illusion of a mountain stream with waterfalls. Larger boulders and flat stones can be used in combination to create the look of a naturally formed stream. The sound of falling water can be fine-tuned through the careful arrangement and placement of stones.

Urban ponds are typically smaller in area, and are designed to fit well in smaller backyards.

Koi ponds must be able to accommodate fish that can grow to about 2.5 feet in length. Many koi ponds have no plants because koi have a tendency to eat certain types of plants. You must plan for an extremely large pond, and provide adequate surface area for the absorption of oxygen into the water. Ponds for koi must be at least 3 feet deep to provide room for mobility. They also require filtration to keep the water clean.


Next, you must make a decision on the type of pond that you want.

Pre-formed ponds come in a variety of shapes, usually with plant shelves built in. They are ideal for first-time pond builders because they are extremely durable, and less susceptible to tears and punctures.

Furthermore, their sturdy pond lips ease the task of leveling during installation. Preformed ponds are easy to install and clean, but require more skill to fit the hole in the ground with the shape of the pond. When properly supported, preformed ponds are ideal for above-ground, indoor, and patio setups.

Flexible liners are ideal for the more experienced water gardeners. They allow for easy and very forgiving installations, which consequently promotes greater creativity. Because you can create various shapes with liners, it is possible to construct larger, and deeper configurations (when compared to preformed ponds).

Concrete installations usually require a professional installation. Concrete is a medium that tends to crack as the ground freezes and thaws.

Use a garden hose to lay out your garden pond shape on the ground. This will allow you to experiment with the size and shape of your pond. Once you have a plan for your water garden, it is important to get your design on paper. The design drawing is paramount because it will help you to make an accurate estimate of the material you will need. The diagram also will allow you to plan for the placement of all the accessories. Be sure to take into consideration the space that rocks and aquatic plants will take in the final design. The pond may appear much smaller visually after all the ponds and rocks are added. At this point, you should also plan for the amount of plant material that you may need to landscape the pond.

Finally, it is now time to make a list of materials required. These materials can be purchased from our online store. In our next article, we will provide detailed instructions on how to install both liner and preformed ponds.

This article was reproduced with permission from

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