Ideas To Build A Small Garden Pond

Do you have a well-appointed garden and would like to give it a lush aspect? The greenery, the pavers, the garden bed, the pergola, and the terrace are already finished? Do you have a small space to install a hot tub or to make a small bog garden? Your garden will only be truly complete with the sound of water in the background. And for that, there’s nothing better than a garden pond. How would you feel about building one in your own backyard garden?

Beautiful Garden With Bench And Little Pond To Relax

In the world of garden ideas, a pond offers a beautiful aesthetic and provides a habitat for the surrounding flora and fauna. This water garden can be populated with fish, such as goldfish, or decorated with various aquatic plants, ornaments, and fountains.

What are the benefits of having a small garden pond?

Backyard ponds offer a beautiful focal point for the landscaping behind your home. Building a garden pond is a project you can commit to. Alternatively, you can hire a professional landscaper to come with some garden ideas and install it for you. Before investing the time and money to install a wildlife pond, first consider the pros and cons.

Advantages

Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation

A garden pond can provide a peaceful setting to relax and enjoy the outdoors – either by yourself or with friends. The pond can have fish or a waterfall to enhance your experience while relaxing in the yard. Also, the sound of water, especially with a waterfall installed, can take all the stress away.

woman with white hat lying on a garden lawn of wood in the background, a pond with beautiful shore

The aesthetic advantage

A pond in your backyard significantly enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garden design – especially if colourful fish and an eye-catching waterfall complete this feature of landscaping. Garden ponds can be equipped with lights to illuminate them during the evening and enhance the aesthetic experience for the viewer.

Disadvantages

The high-maintenance 

Backyard ponds require quite a lot of maintenance. If your pond is located near trees, removing debris can become a constant problem. Filters require maintenance, and finding the right balance when it comes to water plants in the pond may require some experimentation. The lifespan of the pond plays also a major role in the amount of time that you need to spend maintaining it. To maintain its life, the environment must be well-balanced.

The downside of pest activity

Different types of ponds can attract pests to your yard. Fish ponds can attract fishing birds, which will make a meal of your fish. Raccoons and frogs can be attracted to your garden, as well. Frogs can be interesting to look at, but they can be very noisy during the evening hours. Dragonflies will also pose a problem in ponds that are not well balanced and maintained.

Edible Frog in a lake

The key elements of a healthy pond

Before starting the construction of a pond, first, choose the appropriate location. Make sure that it’s not too sunny and not under hardwood trees so that the water quality does not suffer unnecessarily from a proliferation of algae and leaves. For the biological balance of the water body, it is necessary to choose plants that filter nutrients and pollutants. Slopes and bags or baskets of plants allow you to place the chosen plants in the basin quickly, simply, and safely.

  1. Plan everything so even without much maintenance work, the water will remain clear. 
  2. Choose the type of pond liner that works best for you.
  3. A pond is itself a small, distinct ecosystem within your garden.
  4. There are many pond ideas, each with its benefits and maintenance requirements.

Carefully compare all possibilities and create a pond design that perfectly matches your wishes.

A natural pond containing only plants

Choose pond plants such as water lilies if you don’t want to spend too much time and money maintaining your pond. Due to the absence of fish, aquatic plants generally keep the water clear enough, even without a filtration system. Maintenance is generally limited to plant care and sporadic water feature control.

Water lilly in pond

A mixed pond containing both plants and fish

The construction and development of a mixed pond are similar to that of a natural pond. However, you will need to spend much more time maintaining such a pond. As fish generate waste, a filtration facility is required in a mixed pond. In this case, in addition to taking care of the plants and fish, you will also need to ensure the maintenance of the technical facility.

A Koi pond

The koi pond requires a lot of maintenance and is relatively expensive. This kind of pond often consists of two parts: a koi pond and a natural container pond of aquatic plants or marsh plants. Such a provision is necessary because koi are herbivorous animals that, if they had the opportunity, would eat the plants in the pond. A technical installation is required to pump water from one part of the pond to the other.

 koi fish in pond in the garden

What’s the ideal location for the construction of the pond?

Normally, the pond is built in a more remote place of the garden. We want to create a quiet place where we can retreat for a few moments of silence. At the same time, let’s not forget that with the construction of a pond, we create a microclimate. All kinds of life will visit that pond, and it is possible that some even stay there.

Let’s avoid placing it too close to trees because the leaves can contaminate the water. At the same time, let’s not forget that if the pond is large, at least part of it will receive a little shade. And some plants prefer shade, which is why we have to think about them.

Set up your pond in the right place at the right time. Here are some tips:

  • A large amount of natural light promotes the growth of algae in your pond. Therefore, do not choose a place that is permanently exposed to the sun, but rather a location that is also regularly in the shade.
  • Make sure there are no trees or too large shrubs near your pond. Dead leaves or conifer needles pollute water.
  • Autumn is the ideal time to build a pond. There is less sun, and temperatures are lower in this season. This reduces the risk of algal blooms. This will give your pond enough time to develop an ideal bacterial balance for spring. That’s what makes the spring season the right one to get some fish

Beautiful classical garden fish pond surrounded by grass

The steps of building your small pond

A pond in the garden is wonderful during the summer. If you have a natural water source near you, you should consider building a pond. If you still don’t have natural water sources, you can still build a pond based on tap water, but you need recirculation pumps in this case.

What shape does the garden pond have? The shape of a pond must be a natural one, and since nature does not make straight lines with sudden ruptures, we must also choose a more rounded shape. The best choice for the shape of a water garden is the ellipsoidal shape or a freer form like that of beans.

The size of the pond must also be taken into account. If we want it to be populated with fish, it must exceed the depth of one and a half meters. This way, the water doesn’t fully freeze in winter, and the fish will be able to survive. An important thing about the fish pond is that we need to break the ice to oxygenate the water in winter.

red carps under the ice in the pond

How to choose plants for a garden pond?

Even if we do not want to put fish in the pond but only plants, we still have to take into consideration some things. Some plants prefer deep water, and others prefer small water. That’s why it is good to start choosing plants for our pond after you have everything on paper. Then, you can begin the actual work of landscaping.

The construction of the DIY garden pond in six steps

Step 1

You need to know from the beginning what purpose your new pond will serve. If, for example, you want to make a small fish farm, then you should know that the budget might be much higher.

Step 2

Choose the location of your pond. The best mini ponds are in mixed places: sunny but also shaded. This mixed environment allows plants to grow naturally. You should also keep in mind that you have to get electricity to the pond to power the recirculation pumps.

Small garden pond with stone shores and many decorative evergreens

Step 3

Mark the depth and size of the pond. Use a rope to mark the area where the DIY pond will be.

Step 4

Time to start digging the pond. If you have opted for a small-sized pond, digging the pond can be done with a shovel. You must take into account the following aspects:

  1. It must be deep enough that it does not freeze completely in winter. It is recommended to make one hole at the bottom of the pond, where fish can winter.
  2. The pond will be dug in steps – keep the soil that has been removed, you might need to use it later on.

Digging a stepped hole with shovels and a loaded single wheel wheelbarrow for a preformed plastic pond insert in the summer garden

Step 5

You should use PVC foil simply because the pond could be cleaned more easily and you eliminate the risk of it drying out in the hotter months of the year.

Step 6

Instal a recirculation water pump as it’s the most efficient way to keep your pond’s water clean.

What about its maintenance?

After finishing your pond, we also need to talk about its maintenance. You have to put some effort into your pond to retain its charm. For example, you should remove the leaves that have fallen from the surface of the water. You also need to filter the water to keep it clean.

gardener with straw hat cleans pond with a net, swimming pond with flowering shore planting and field stones in the background
At this point, all you got to do is to place a bench, a sofa, or a relaxing armchair next to it. Maybe go for a coffee table as well! Take your favourite book and enjoy the beauty of nature in the privacy of your garden.

Coming next: Learn how to clean sludge from the bottom of a pond.

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