How To Build A Stone-Lined, Fit-Anywhere, Good-Looking Backyard Pond

Maybe you didn’t start out wanting to build a backyard pond. but you decided you didn’t have much of a choice. That was the dilemma of Susan B of OhMyCreative. She had wanted a water feature in her backyard for years.

In fact, she had the space all picked out, but estimates for a professional installation ranged between $4,000 and $5,000, which her budget could not handle.

build a garden pondPin

However, she found a book which laid out all the steps for this DIY garden pond project, and the results are amazing.

The pond is rock lined with a small waterfall and lots of tall flowering plants behind it. Susan shares the simple steps in this post. Lots of great images to guide you!

You’re not alone if you’ve always wanted a pond in your backyard.

Thousands of homeowners add a pond to their backyard landscape every year. Many start small with a pondless waterfall in their front yard.

But… Why all the fuss over a hole filler with water?

Water trickling down rocks or a gurgling waterfall is not only appealing, stress relieving and relaxing but also be a central part of a garden. On top of that, water gardening continues to grow in popularity.

Incorporating a water feature in the landscaping makes an excellent way to carve out a calm, peaceful setting. A waterfall, a patio, and a relaxing place to sit and just listen to the water falling into the pond sounds perfect.

Do-it-yourselfers, never seem to exhaust the ways of bringing water into a garden setting. Whether the pond sits above ground which requires no digging or in-ground using a pre-formed pond or flexible liner the possibilities are endless.

One of the benefits of a pond/water garden is there are no rules – formal or natural – they can all fit.

Before you jump in the deep end of the water, here are 9 things to consider in the planning stages.

  • Define your goals
  • Choose the site
  • Plan big
  • Keep water clean
  • Consider adding fish
  • Get the right equipment
  • Plants for the Pond
  • Water gardens do require some maintenance.
  • What makes a pond ecologically sound?

Those are some quick highlights, now let’s dig deeper…

What Type Of Pond To Choose?

When deciding on the general type of pond you’ll first need to determine the available space. Let the space determine your water feature.

For example, a small backyard benefits from a round pre-formed pond. On the other hand, a narrow walkway can house a rectangular pond using a flexible liner. An organically shaped pond with a multitude of waterfalls and a stream makes an ideal choice if space does not appear as an issue.

For A Successful Water Garden Use These Secrets

Traditional yards feature plants and other things that are stationary. While they are great on their own, a little running water can increase its attractiveness to another level.

A water garden or pond incorporates running water to make the garden come alive. It compliments the plants and makes the garden feel lively and invigorated.

You’ll find many options to incorporate running water into existing gardens. Here are 7 of them…

  • Design It As Nature Would
  • Create A Diverse Aquatic Habitat
  • Add Shade And Aeration
  • Blur The Edges
  • Interact And Observe
  • Start Simple

Keeping these tips in mind can truly make the garden exceptional and a great place to relax.

Choosing A Location For Your Pond

When choosing a location for your pond, consider both practical and aesthetic points. Make the pond visible from many areas whether a nearby window or an outdoor living area.

If you spend lots of time in the backyard with family and friends pick a spot in the backyard large enough for everyone to enjoy it at several points in the backyard and kitchen windows.

If watering gardening is in the plans, remember plants such as water lilies like these require six hours of sunlight a day to produce blooms. Avoid a location under the trees. Falling leaves and matter create debris that can clog pumps and upset the pond’s biological balance.

For safety reasons, choose a location that won’t interfere with any underground power lines or gas pipelines. More importantly, check your local building codes or ordinances related to backyard pools.

Related: Tips on Building a Water Lily Pond | This Front Yard got a Makeover and a Pond!

Pond Size, Pump and Pond Filter

Determine the size of the water garden. Use a garden hose or spray paint to outline the design. Always keep in mind, not building a pond large enough makes the most common water gardeners’ regret.

The base of the pond usually measures 1.5 ft deep. In colder climates, dig at least two feet or more to protect fish against freezing. The base of the pond can include several ledges at varying depths to hold rocks and plants for added interest.

Make sure the top edges of your pond levels. Create a high 6 inch to 8 inch ledge around the perimeter. This will help keep unwanted water from flowing into the pond. Next, remove any rock or debris from the base and walls of the pond.

Add underlayment to protect the liner from punctures. You may also use sand or carpet remnants.

Now that you know the size of your pond, determine the size of the liner and take into account all added pond ledges, and allow extra two feet for edging. Unfold the liner and cover the pond. Tuck the liner tightly in all areas and anchor with stones.

To choose a pump, start with the simple formula—average length x average width x average depth x 7.5. It shows how many gallons your pumps should circulate. Moreover, the pond in the video utilizes the Smartpond UV 1300 gallons per hour Waterfall Pump.

Once you covered the pond liner with stones, position the pump at the base of the pond on top of a brick or a flat stone. This will keep the pump from sucking in debris at the bottom of the pond. In addition, the corrugated tubing and cord of the pump should remain hidden within a fold of the liner and run over the edge of the pond.

To insure maximum cleaning efficiency, add a filter like the Smartpond UV Pond Filter to improve the pond’s water quality while promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria. All of this results to a crystal clear healthy pond.

Now comes the perfect time to add lighting. Tuck a cord into a fold over the liner. Continue by adding large stones around the edge to anchor the liner. Extend the liner to at least 10 inches past the elevated edge.

Trim and bury the excess liner or cover with stone or rock.

If your pond features a waterfall, you can build the elevation with cinder blocks and excess soil from the pond.

The corrugated tubing runs from the pond to the filter and from the filter to the top of the waterfall. The waterfall pump forces water to fall multiple levels of slates, meander to the screen, and pass gently into the pond.

To the greatest extent of practical, minimize the number of bends and turns in the tubing. This will maximize the flow of water.

Explore online for more information concerning pond-building, maintenance, and UV technology. For store locations, visit

If you’re still wondering about building a backyard pond with it’s aesthetically pleasing and calming elements it can bring to the landscape.

This video shows it’s not as difficult as you may think.

You’ll have to…

  • Layout the basic design of your pond
  • Dig out the area
  • Lay the liner
  • Fill the pond
  • Install the pump

… watch the video for all the steps.

By the time you finish the 2 minute video, you’ll be ready to make your own pond to enjoy for years to come.

Here’s another example from the folks at They share how using only a few simple materials you can built a pond in a space as small as the basin you found on the cheap, and have it look great too!

Pictures, steps, and material guides here.

Tips On Building A Free Form Garden Pond in Your Backyard


The idea of a free form pond may sound intriguing. However, like any pond, free form ponds will require maintenance and on going care once completed.

This post covers 12 topics of pond construction from start to finish:

  • Pond liner
  • Selecting a location and outline pond
  • Flagging the lowest point of the perimeter and begin to dig
  • Check with a carpenter level
  • Dig space for stones, remove debris, add sand
  • Add pond underlayment
  • Laying out liner
  • Begin to fill pond with water, adjust
  • Adding stones, adjust fountain
  • Arrange perimeter stones
  • Stone adjustments and trimming pond liner
  • Finishing touches

Overall, the article is a great starting point if you plan on building a free form pond.

When Green Is Not Good – Keeping Fountain and Pond Water Clear

All gardeners want to be green – except when it comes to water.

If you have a fountain, pond or a small reflecting pool, at some point you’ll have to deal with algae. Small amounts of algae may be a simple annoyance, discoloring containers with a film of green slime.

In ponds, however, large amounts of algae can clog pumps and filters and harm fish. looks at keeping water clear with gives options for fountains, container water gardens, small ponds and large ponds, along with other tips.

A Unique “System” To Keep A Pond Algae Free

This video demonstrates how one can keep unwanted algae out of their ponds and other pools of plants.

The presentation of the video is very impressing, to say the least.

It appears the algae growth has been thoroughly suppressed, and this allows for plants to blossom and make one’s pond look aesthetically appealing and healthy for plant life. Video below…

How To Prepare Your Water Garden For The Growing Season

After winter and the weather begins to warm up, it’s time to “start” up the water garden or pond.

In this video, Dave from Growing Wisdom shares is tips on tuning up your water garden and getting it ready for the spring and summer growing season.

Buildling your own backyard pond can be a rewarding experience and not that difficult. It’s one project you can enjoy for years to come.

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