Childproofing Your Garden Pond

Childproofing your garden pond

A garden pond can be an oasis of peace and relaxation. Children and adults enjoy watching the fish and other animals. For most children, water exerts a magical attraction. Even a water depth of 12 inches (30 centimeters) poses a great danger for children who cannot swim yet. So that a moment of inattention does not have fatal consequences, you should already think about children’s safety when planning the garden pond.

The Garden Pond – a Danger for Children

Children enjoy playing by the water, splashing around, and floating small boats. A garden pond tempts children to engage in such activities. If you supervise children at the garden pond, it is mainly harmless. However, you cannot always supervise children. The pond can quickly become a life-threatening danger for the little ones. Again and again, it is reported in the news or daily newspapers that a child has drowned in the garden pond. Even the shore zone, which is up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) deep, can be life-threatening for small children. A child can quickly slip and fall unhappily. It is not always able to get up without help. With simple means, you can avoid such tragic accidents.

If you want to create a garden pond, you can plan for child safety. If the pond is already in place, you can childproof it with various measures. Often, such safety measures are only needed temporarily while your children are still small.

Think About Child Safety When Planning

How you create your garden pond depends on the space available. If there is enough space in your garden, you should make your garden pond with vast banks. The bank should slope gently. Children will not be able to reach the deeper water so quickly. You should equip the shore area with many plants. This will not only prevent children from entering the water but will also be a beautiful eye-catcher.

When choosing plants, you should make sure that they are not poisonous. Reeds, roses, or boxwood are good choices. If you plant reeds or rushes in the pond up to the end of the bank, a child can hold on to them if necessary if there is a danger of slipping.

You can place many natural stones in the shore area. A child can also hold on to these. If the child has fallen, they can use the rocks to help them stand up. Unlike wood or paving stones, they are less slippery when they get wet. In general, there should be no slippery materials around the edge of the pond. If you have a lot of space in your garden, you can also create paths at a greater distance from the pond.

You create additional safety if you place the garden pond on a hill. The garden pond is then more difficult to access for children.

A Beautiful Idea: A Pond With a Waterfall

A waterfall makes the pond look natural and creates a beautiful look. If your garden is large enough, you can think about a waterfall when planning the pond. In a place of the pond, which is a little higher, you can integrate the waterfall. This spot should be high enough that children cannot climb into the pond there. The water can flow onto a spot in the shore area. The area where the water flows should slope down toward the pond. The water level at this point should not be higher than 2 inches (5 centimeters). This allows children to splash and enjoy the rippling water without creating a significant hazard.

Create a Raised Pond

A quick and easy alternative to a larger garden pond can be a raised pond. It is suitable when there is limited space available. However, you will have to compromise when it comes to planting and stocking fish, as it is challenging to create different zones with different water depths in a raised pond. A raised pond is created in a similar way to a raised bed. You will need a suitable water container. This can also be a disused bathtub if you have limited space. It would be best if you placed the raised pond high enough so that children cannot climb into it.

You can use a drystone wall or wooden slats as a border. This way you create a natural look. You can round off the natural look with plants. You can plant water lilies in the raised pond.

Various Safety Precautions for Your Garden Pond

If the garden pond is already in place, various safety precautions are an option. This can be a fence, a pond grid, or a mobile cover. The type of security measure you choose depends on the nature and size of the pond.

A Fence for the Garden Pond

Whether you are just planning your garden pond or already have one, you can protect it from children with a fence. A fence is practical if the garden pond is large and irregular in shape. A wire mesh fence is a simple solution, but it is less visually attractive. A wire mesh fence is quick to install. Similarly simple in assembly is a plug fence. Unique pond fences are also offered in stores in different variants. They consist of fence panels, which you can choose in various sizes. You can insert such pond fences very simply into the ground. Fences for the garden pond are available in metal, plastic, or wood. If you want to secure your garden pond with a fence, you should pay attention to some points:

  • The Fence must be made of sturdy material
  • Fence must be high enough that children cannot climb over it. Its height should be at least 3 feet (one meter)
  • Fence must be stable enough to be fixed in the ground
  • The entire garden pond should be surrounded by the fence.

Integrate a lockable door into the fence. The door should always be locked when children are in the garden. Children like to use a fence as a climbing frame. When choosing a fence, make sure the distance between the struts is small enough that children can’t get their feet through it.

A fence can detract from the natural look of the garden pond. However, you can change this if you place beautiful plants along the fence. The fence is then hardly noticeable. Ornamental grasses or climbing plants are suitable for planting. A fence has the advantage that you can remove it again when the children are older.

Securing Pond With a Pond Grid

A pond grid can be placed directly under the water surface. The disadvantage is that it must permanently be removed when you clean the pond or take care of the pond plants. This involves some effort. With a suitable attachment to the pond’s edge or in the soil, the pond grid can be secured and removed if necessary. Feeding the fish is no problem with a pond grid.

Steel pond grids are solid and safe. They are offered in various dimensions and designs. Pond grids are suitable for smaller ponds in a rectangular, round, or oval shape. If you need a unique shape or size, you can order the grating as a custom-made product.

A pond grid is not only a suitable child safety device. It has other advantages as well. It prevents the cat from catching fish from the garden pond and falling in. It also protects the fish from birds of prey. If the children are older, leave the pond screen out.

Child Protection With a Mobile Cover

An alternative to a pond screen is a mobile cover made of sturdy stainless steel or wrought iron. It is available in different shapes and dimensions. You can use it for round and rectangular ponds. You can also order a cover as a custom-made product. Such a cover usually has an upward curved shape. It not only makes the pond childproof but just like a pond screen, it protects the fish from predators or the cat from falling in.

In the fall, if the cover is close-meshed enough, it prevents leaves from falling into the pond. Eyes are anchored in the ground or at the edge of the pond for fastening. The cover is attached to these eyelets with a padlock. Feeding the fish can be done through the cover. To clean the pond or check the plants, you can quickly remove the cover.

Please do Not Use a Net as a Child Restraint!

In some sources, pond nets made of sturdy material are recommended, whose load-bearing capacity is high enough to catch adult people. With tent pegs, you can fix these nets to the ground. They are pretty quick to attach and can also be removed quickly. However, it would be best if you did not use a net as a child safety net for the garden pond.

It is more of a hazard than protection. If the net is not anchored tightly enough, it can be ripped out of the ground if a child falls into the pond. If the child tries to free himself from the net, he can become entangled and drown. If the net is not taut enough, it will sag if the child falls on it. A minor child, in particular, will quickly get his or her head under the water.

The Warning Alarm as an Additional Safety Measure

No matter how you plan your pond and what safety precautions you take, it would be best to use a warning alarm for added protection. It is a two-part alarm system consisting of a transmitter and receiver.

Like a small island, the transmitter floats on the pond while you place the receiver near you. You should make sure that the transmitter has enough range. If the transmitter senses a significant wave motion when a child falls into the water, it will trigger an alarm. You can set different tolerances for the warning. Thus, an alarm is not immediately started when a frog jumps into the water. You should check the batteries from time to time to ensure the necessary safety.


Already when planning your garden pond, you can think about child safety. If there is enough space in the garden, you can design a wide shore zone and plant the shore zone richly. If you place the pond on a hill, it will be harder for children to access. If there is already a garden pond, you can secure it with a fence, which you should anchor firmly enough in the ground. A pond screen or a mobile cover also provide protection. With a warning alarm, you create additional security. It would be best if you did without a net, as it is more of a source of danger.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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