A small backyard pond is a great way to enhance your landscape. I built this one with some supplies I gathered from a friend and rocks I picked up on the side of the road.
There is something soothing about the sound of water that nearly everyone enjoys, and I was looking forward to building one.
Ponds have a positive effect on the landscape, they put moisture in the air through evaporation and mist. Ponds are also a breeding ground for frogs and small fish to control biting and damaging insects.
I spent a lot of time observing before picking the best location for a pond at the 40 acre woods. Always consider soil depth, trees that might overhang the area and drop leaves, or whose roots eventually may push through a pond liner, or other potential obstacles, like septic tanks, large rocks or underground utilities.
Determine the general size of the pond you want by laying out a garden hose and trying various free-form shapes on the ground in your chosen area.
Dig the hole to the desired depth – perhaps incorporating a deeper area for fish, or leaving shallower areas for placing pots of aquatic or marginal plants. My pond is about four feet in the middle with three ledges for plants.
Check the hole for level by placing a straight board across the excavation and putting a carpenter’s level on top of that. Move the board and level around to different points across the hole and remove or build up soil as needed until everything is level.
Measure the hole at the longest and widest points, measuring down the sides, across and back up to take pool depth into account. Add a couple of feet for good measure and purchase an appropriately-sized sheet of EPDM rubber or plastic.
Pick out sharp rocks and tree roots, and pad the excavation with a purchased pool underlayment or several thickness of cardboard or old newspapers. This helps prevent punctures to the pool liner.
Place the rubber or heavy plastic pool liner into the hole and adjust it as needed to sit flush and level in every direction.
Start filling the pond and pull on the liner to get in place as it fills. As it reaches the top you can make last minute adjustments to set a level edge.
Trim the liner with scissors or a utility knife so that the edge lies under where you will be placing rocks to edge the pond.
Place rocks and boulders, or other materials around the perimeter of the pond, arranging them to cover as much of the liner as possible to hide it and prevent premature breakdown of the material in harsh sunlight.
Add river pebbles or sand to the pool as desired or leave the liner as is. Place potted aquatic plants on ledges or flat stones, or add a recirculating pump and fountain as additional decorations.
After the water has a few weeks to settle and start growing algae, add some small fish to keep the misquotes from breeding. I added some water from a local river to kick things off.