How To Build A Pond

So You'd Like to Build a Pond?

This series of web pages lists the steps that professional pond builders use to create masterpieces of water magic.

Do them in the order listed (hint: it is a really good idea to read them all first) and watch out for the special tips scattered through the instructions.


I've built a bunch of ponds in my gardening life - some great and some - well, not so great. I wish I had this list before I built that really, really, bad first pond (I covered it in after only one season it was so bad). Now, with this list and the professional supplies that are on the market, anybody can easily build a pond.

Locate the Pond Area

Step One

Locate your pond area and mark out the shape of your pond. This sound basic but it is surprising the number of gardeners (mostly guys I note) who just start digging without a firm plan in place.

You can use a garden hose to lay out the shape as a hose makes great bends and conforms to your imagination. After you've made the shape, I'd recommend you lime or spray paint the edge of your proposed pond and let it sit for a day or three. Keep looking at the shape and see if it fits into the other shapes in your garden. Is it big enough? (not likely - most homeowners build a pond way too small the first time around.) Is it under trees? (Falling leaves are a pain to clean and the trees block the sunlight so the plants don't thrive.)

Wet or Damp Areas Are NOT the Best

Most people think a wet area of the lawn is a good place to build a pond. But understand that a wet area might be good for a natural bottomed pond, it is not great for a liner pond as the water will seep under the liner and lift it. Winter damage can be high in a lined pond situated in a wet zone. While there are solutions for this, they involve special valves and messing about with cutting and gluing liners. It is far easier to avoid the wet zones.

You can build a pond on slopes but do make sure you have enough soil depth to make your pond both deep enough (18 inches) and level.

Important Tip

If you have multiple ponds on a slope, the lower of the two has to be the larger if you want the water to flow properly from top to bottom.

Click here for steps 2-5

Click here to return to the beginning.

Use a marking system to layout your pond or cut it in the grass. You do want to mark it to get a sense of how big or small it will be in the landscape

Shopping Resources for this Page

A wide variety of resources for you to build your pond can be found here