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Pond-Building Tips that Will Make You Look Like a Pro
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Pond-Building Tips that Will Make You Look Like a Pro

You don’t have to hire a professional to build the pond of your dreams. Building a pond can be an affordable and fun do-it-yourself project. It requires planning and strategy to make maintenance as easy as possible, so we've put together pond-building tips that will make your water feature project simple to plan, and the end results will make you look like a pro. Your friends and neighbors won’t believe you did it yourself! 


Choosing the right location for your pond will make building and maintenance easier. Give yourself enough room so that the pond's perimeter is walkable for maintenance. Once the liner, plants, and rocks are added, the hole you dig will be larger than the finished pond. Make the area slightly larger than you want. Once finished, many pond owners end up disappointed their pond is smaller than they had imagined!

Your pond will need to have some shade. Too much direct sunlight can be problematic if the water is shallow (the water can become too hot), and excessive algae growth can occur in the spring and summer. However, sunlight is important for plants and warming the water in the winter. 

While a large tree may provide shade during the summer, the leaves may find their way into the water, especially in the fall, if the tree sheds its leaves. Beware of roots in the ground, as they can grow and puncture the pond liner. 

Ponds located on a decline can be subject to runoff during rain or when the snow melts in the winter. The runoff can send contaminants and debris into the water, harming the pond life, affecting water clarity, increasing algae production, and can even wash away fish and plants. Making sure the ground is level is a great way to keep all the water inside your pond and any water features, such as waterfalls and nozzle kits, to display an even flow of water. 

Tip: Your pond will appear smaller once you've added stones and landscaping. You may want to go a little larger than your original plans. It's much easier to go bigger the first time around.


Think about how far the new pond would be from an outlet. Extension cords, even outdoor ones, are not designed for long-term use and can become a safety hazard. A GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is recommended. A GFCI is different from standard circuit breakers as it is designed to protect against electrical shocks and damage. It is recommended to plug pumps or other pond equipment directly into the GFCI outlet. The good news is that installing a GFCI outlet and receptacle in your yard is easy work for a professional electrician.


Choosing the right pump is important for maintaining water quality. The pump is the heart of the pond. A pump can power a filtration system or water feature. The pump should have a 1 to 1-1/2 times per hour turnover rate. For example, a 200 gallon pond would use a 280 GPH pump. A pump that is too weak can lead to poor water quality and less-than-enthusiastic water features. Learn how to choose the correct pump for your pond or water feature. 

When connecting a filter or water feature to your pump, you may need to run tubing outside the pond. You can run any tubing and power cords through buried PVC pipe for a more discreet appearance and protection from lawn maintenance tools. This will also help with easy removal for maintenance or winterization. 

24/7 Aeration

Pond aeration is often overlooked as one of the most important aspects of a pond. Aeration maintains oxygen levels for fish and other pond life and is essential for water clarity and combating algae. Aerators can be beneficial even in the winter. Read more about why pond aeration is important, even for small ponds. Water features like pond nozzles and waterfalls add crucial aeration, as do aquatic plants.

Water Features

Waterfalls and fountains can be an easy addition to your pond project that will keep you on budget but have a huge impact. Waterfalls can be as complex as you'd like, with multiple tiers, or you can create a simple waterfall spillway. A fountain can be customized using the pond nozzle kit where you can choose the water pattern you prefer. Spitters also add a great decorative quality to your pond. Water features provide aeration to the pond to improve water quality along with aesthetics.


Pond lights can bring the pond to life at night. Lights with dusk-to-dawn sensors automatically shut off during the day and turn on at night. Colored lenses are great for parties and holidays, turning the water a brilliant blue or ghoulish green. Plastic floating plants like the smartpond lilies add color and shade while hiding the fish and pond life from predators. Pond spitters are functional decorations. They add beautiful sounds and help circulate the water. 


Plants add color and energy to your pond. Plants serve different purposes in your pond. Some plants are decorative and bloom each season, while others help the ecosystem. Plants that live in the water can help filter out any contaminants. Floating plants can provide shade and help hide fish and other pond life from predators. To make your pond look professionally done, consider the space around your pond. Utilize plants and large rocks to make the space interesting and hide and power sources. 

Looking to spend a little more time outdoors? You can add lounge chairs and an umbrella to create a peaceful place to relax and read a book. A shaded hammock is perfect for taking an afternoon nap. Adding sand around the edge of the pond will give it a beach-like feel. Wiggling toes in clean sand is very therapeutic. You could add a picnic table and enjoy lunch or dinner outside every once in a while.  

Plan for Rain

A pond built so the water is perfectly level with the edge may look cool, but what happens when it rains? You don’t want to wake up to your fish swimming around the yard. The rocks along the pond's edge can help prevent overflow and hide the liner, keeping it in place. Be sure not to fill the water up too high and plan for rainy days. 

If a big storm is coming, you can even drain some water beforehand using an extra pond pump. Likewise, you should also plan for water levels to decrease through evaporation during the warmer months. You can refill water levels by de-chlorinating water before adding it to the pond. 

Ponds are a peaceful oasis that is both decorative and relaxing. They can transform a backyard, adding a lively focal point. You don’t need to contact a professional, with a little elbow grease, you can create the pond of your dreams. Following these pond-building tips will make you look like a pro. No one will believe your pond was a DIY project!



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