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How to Build a Pond

The unique look and tranquil feel of a garden pond can add aesthetic appeal to your backyard. Watching fish swim can be calming, and the sound of water flowing down a waterfall helps create a peaceful escape just outside your home. With just a few easy steps, you can build your own pond.

What you’ll need:

  • Pond liner. You'll need this to keep the water from draining into the ground. Choose a fish-safe liner if you want to house fish.
  • Pond underlayment. This keeps the liner from coming in direct contact with the ground.
  • Large shovel. This is necessary to dig the hole.
  • Hand shovel. This is for creating plant shelves and the perimeter edging.
  • Level and wooden plank. You'll need these to make sure that the plant shelves are level.
  • Large nails. Use at least 20d nails or larger.
  • Hammer. This is used to nail the liner into the ground.
  • Large stones. Make sure to have enough to edge the entire pond.

Step 1: Make a plan.

Decide on a location and the width and depth of your pond.Then make an outline in the space you've chosen with rope or tape. Be sure to check the area before digging to avoid running into power lines or other buried utilities. Also, steer clear of trees as the roots can become problematic for your pond.

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Step 2: Dig the hole.

Use the large shovel to dig a hole between two and four feet deep in the ground for the pond. In addition to digging, you'll want to add layers around the edges for plants, called plant shelves.Prior to filling the pond with water, these shelves will look like wide steps down into your pond. After roughly digging all of the levels with the large shovel, use the hand shovel to carve out and level the plant shelves. Make sure to remove the turf that surrounds the pond so that you can easily create the edging. Remove the grass about a foot outside of the pond space.The edges of the pond need to be even and level to ensure the liner fits properly. For this task, use the level and a wooden plank.

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Step 3: Inspect the hole.

Make sure that there are no sharp objects, utility lines or other potential problems that could be hazardous in what will become your pond before you continue.

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Step 4: Position the underlayment and liner.

Start with the underlayment, and place it in the pond. Try your best to conform the underlaymentloosely to the pond shape. Repeat this process with the pond liner, leaving both underlayment and liner edges loosely placed above the pond.

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Step 5: Hold the underlayment and liner in place.

Use some of the stones to keep the liner from slipping into the ground as you fill the pond. Choose stones that will be strong enough to withstand the weight of the water, but light enough that you can move them easily in the filling process.

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Step 6: Add water.

Fill the pond with water. As the water pulls down on the liner, move the stones slightly away, allowing more slack from the liner to fit the pond.

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Step 7: Trim and secure underlayment and liner.

Trim any excess liner once the pond is filled. Make sure that there is enough liner left to remain within the perimeter of the pond. Use the hammer and nails to fasten the liner and underlayment to the ground.

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Step 8: Finish with edging and accents.

Use the rest of the stones to edge the pond, staying within that one-foot perimeter. Get creative and design a space that will be visually appealing. Add plants and other outdoor decor to create an elegant pond space that you'll love to sit near.

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