Water Ponds - Installation Water Ponds - Installation

You can put in a backyard pond anytime the ground is not frozen or overly wet. If using a pre-formed liner, dig a hole to the correct depth and slightly wider. Insert the liner, making sure it is level and sits securely in the ground. Backfill around the sides. Add water, pump, and plants. Complete landscaping around the pool.

If you use a PVC liner, plan on at least a weekend to install and landscape.

Steps to install a pond with a PVC liner:

  1. Decide on your pond's location.
  2. Using a hose or rope, lay out the shape of your pond on the ground.
  3. Once you are happy with the shape, start digging. Stockpile your topsoil so you can use it to landscape around your pond.
  4. Plan for part of your pond being at least 18 to 24 inches deep; 24 to 36 inches is even better. This will allow for a greater diversity of plants and fish to live in the pond. You may want to make tiers around the inside of the pond at various depths on which to place pots of different aquatic plants. Make tiers about 12 inches wide to accommodate the pots.
  5. Remove any rocks from the excavated area.
  6. To help prevent punctures in the plastic, put a one-inch layer of damp sand on the bottom of the excavated area.
  7. Spread the plastic liner over the hole. Let it sag gently in the hole. Place a few rocks or bricks around the edge to hold in place.
  8. Slowly start filling your pond. The weight of the water will help smooth out the liner. Remove rocks holding the edges to allow liner to conform to the edges of the hole. Smooth out wrinkles but do not pull too tightly. You can walk on the liner if you remove your shoes.
  9. Finish off the pond by placing rocks around the edge to securely hold the liner in place.
  10. Install pump and filter, if desired. Many smaller pumps have a built-in filter. For larger pools, a separate pump and filter may be necessary. Make sure the filter and pump are adequate for the volume of water in your pond. Pumps not only add interest, but are important in adding oxygen to the water. If you want a fountain or waterfall in your pond, you will need a pump to circulate the water.
  11. Let the pond sit for a few days before adding fish and plants. This allows chlorine to evaporate from the water. Chemicals are also available that will quickly neutralize chlorine and other harmful compounds.
  12. Place plants at various depths and add fish.

Courtesy of the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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