Building a Backyard Pond

Adding a pond to your backyard landscape brings visual beauty and can add the music of flowing water to your space as well. Ponds support various plant life and can also contain fish, such as koi. When you decide to build a pond in your yard, there are a few things to figure out first.

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Backyard ponds can be as small as a few feet per side and one to two feet deep, or they can be significantly larger. Larger and deeper ponds require more excavation, a larger liner, and more water, making them considerably more expensive to install and maintain. Keep in mind that if price is a concern, it’s more important to buy a high quality liner that will last a long time, even if that means reducing the size of your pond. In addition, a large pond will require more time and resources to be used for pond management.


Some ponds are designed to be a formal installation in a garden, with clean lines and few plants. Others are made to look as if they occurred naturally, with local stones and plants used and freely formed edges. Some are a mix between the two. There is no right or wrong answer — it’s a matter of your personal aesthetic preferences and the amount of time you want to spend maintaining the look of your pond. A more natural looking pond won’t require as much care to keep it looking a specific way.


Choose a location near enough to your home that you’ll be able to enjoy seeing and hearing your pond on a regular basis. An ideal location has morning sun and afternoon shade, but is not located directly under a tree that will fill it with fallen leaves. Of course it’s important to check for the existence of underground wires, pipes, and gas lines before digging your pond. It’s free to have those locations marked before you begin the design process.

Building a Backyard Pond


Most ponds have a recirculating pump of some type, forming either a waterfall or a fountain spray. This helps aerate the water and keep it from becoming stagnant. In addition to a pump, a pond filter can help keep leaves and other debris out of the water. Both of these can reduce the amount of manual cleaning required to keep your pond in good shape.

With a little planning up front, you can design a pond that fits your backyard space and your budget, and will provide enjoyment for many years.