Create a Garden Pond: How to do It?

Create a garden pond: How to do it

A dream of many garden owners is the garden pond. It makes the garden an oasis of calm, invites you to relax, and delights with its plants and animals. If you want to create a garden pond, it requires careful planning. It would help if you also thought about the necessary accessories such as pond mud vacuum cleaner, filter, etc. because neither plants nor animals want to live in murky water. It would be best if you also remembered that the pond needs regular maintenance.

Careful Planning is the Key.

Before you create a garden pond, you should make some considerations in advance:

  • Do I have the time to maintain the pond regularly, especially in the summer?
  • How large should the garden pond be?
  • What location does the pond need?
  • Should it be a foil pond or a prefabricated pond?
  • Do I need to protect the pond from children?

Once you have answered all these questions and the prerequisites for a garden pond are met, you can start planning. With the right planning, you lay the foundation for you to enjoy your pond later and for the plants and animals to feel comfortable in it.

It would be best if you remembered that a large pond is less work than a small one. It provides a biological balance due to the amount of water and can clean itself. Also, it is easier for beginners to manage a larger pond because you do not run the risk of having too many plants or fish in it. Every garden pond is a biotope where plants and animals live in symbiosis. The best way to achieve this is to divide your pond into three different zones, each with a further depth. This division is more comfortable with a larger pond.

Childproofing the Pond

Before you get to planning, consider whether you need to childproof your pond. If you need to childproof your pond, this can be quite crucial when choosing a location. Even a small, shallow pond can be a danger to children’s lives. Water holds a unique attraction for most children. You cannot always supervise children. A moment of inattention can have fatal consequences. There are several options for a child-safe backyard pond:

  • Create a pond on a hill
  • create broad shore zones
  • Protect pond from children with lush riparian planting
  • use pond fence
  • Install grids above the water surface.

Place the pond on a small rise, and it will be harder for children to access. If the water surface is above lawn level, excess rainwater can flow back over the liner into the groundwater. However, this is still not enough to fully protect the pond from children. Comprehensive, shallow banks ensure that children can’t fall into the water as quickly. You should make sure that there are no slippery materials around the edge of the pond. You should place pathways at a safe distance from the pond. You can keep children away from the garden pond with lush planting of the shore zone, preferably with roses or boxwood. Reeds, as well as a pond fence, are suitable safety precautions for children. A grid, which is mounted above the water surface and has sufficient load-bearing capacity, can be used as a child safety device. The disadvantage is that the grid must always be removed when cleaning the pond. Cleaning a pond this way requires a lot of effort, especially in spring and summer, when there are many algae in the water, and autumn, when leaves fall into the pond. In no case should you secure the pond with a net! It represents a source of danger for children. If children fall into the water, they can get caught in the net and be unable to free themselves from this trap.

You can remove safety measures such as a net or a fence once your children are older.

The Choice of Location

For your pond to provide optimal conditions for the plants and animals, the right location is essential. The area and available space are critical to how large you want your pond to be. It would help if you placed the pond in a quiet spot in your garden close to nature to attract as many animals as possible. The right mix of sun and shade is an essential criterion so that your plants thrive, the water does not warm up too much in the summer, which is vital for the fish, and that not so many algae form. A place with about five hours of sun a day is suitable. You should choose a spot that is shaded by trees or structures during midday if possible. Alternatively, you can darken the pond with a solar sail. It would help if you also placed your pond a sufficient distance from power, gas, water, and sewer lines. Trees with shallow roots, such as vinegar trees or birch and bamboo, should be located at a sufficient distance from the pond. If the roots spread, they can pierce the pond liner. Since our region has primarily westerly winds, make sure that trees are located as east of the pond as possible. This way, less foliage will be blown into the pond. Cypress or Thuja trees should be located a sufficient distance from the pond. Even small amounts of needles falling into the water can seriously endanger fish populations.

Foil vs. Prefabricated Pond

The question of whether it should be a foil pond or a prefabricated pond almost answers itself if you decide on a larger pond. Prefabricated ponds are only suitable for smaller ponds and are only a compromise if you have little time to create a pond with foil. If it should be a prefabricated pond, you should pay attention to stability. Foil is more suitable even if you want to create a small pond. Foil is offered in different thicknesses. You should invest in stronger foil because it is more robust against damage. As a rule of thumb, the larger you create your pond, the thicker the liner should be. Foil is a better way to design a pond, as you can make natural shapes and size zones as you wish. The foil should be UV, cold, and rot-resistant. With a high-quality, certified foil, you are on the safe side. On the Internet, you can find a pond liner calculator, which allows you to determine how much liner you need, depending on the pond’s size and depth.

Reach for Paper and Pencil

Once you have chosen the right location for your pond, decided on a suitable size, and, if necessary, thought about making the pond childproof, you can start planning. To do this, measure the available space, note down the dimensions, and decide on a shape that should integrate harmoniously into your garden. It would help if you remembered that depending on the pond’s size and the state, you may need to obtain a building permit. Draw the pond in the desired shape on paper, as accurate to scale as possible. This way, you can already take into account the different zones that you will draw in your sketch:

  • Shore zone, 4 to 8 inches deep (10 – 20 centimeter)
  • shallow water zone, 8 to 20 inches deep (20 – 50 centimeter)
  • Deepwater zone, from 20 inches deep. (50+ centimeter)

How wide you make each zone depends on the size of your pond.

Your sketch is the basis for creating the pond. Once you have finished making your pond, you should revise your drawing and draw in the zones as accurately as possible. This sketch is necessary for the later purchase of pond plants and their arrangement.

Now get to work!

Marking and Excavation

Using your sketch, you should mark the desired shape of your garden pond at the intended location. A thick, colored string or a garden hose of the appropriate length is suitable for the marking. Use a spade to trace the contour. Remove the turf from the inside and outside. Now excavate the entire area of your future pond to the depth of the shoreline. Then, using your sketch as a guide, mark the shallow water zone’s location with string or a garden hose so that you can again excavate the soil to the appropriate depth. You should temporarily store the excavated soil because you can use the excavated earth for the later border design. Finally, use your sketch to determine the deep water zone, which you again mark, and then mine.

Tip: Excavate all zones about 4 inches (10 centimeters) deeper and place a layer of construction sand before placing the liner. This sand will help you avoid damage to the liner.

Line With a Pond Liner

After you have entirely excavated the soil, you should inspect the future pond for stones and roots that you need to remove. This step is essential so that the pond liner is not damaged later on. Before you put the liner in place, you should line the pond with pond fleece. Pond fleece provides stability for your pond and protects against damage to the liner. Pond fleece is available in sheets that you can either weld with a heat gun or overlap and then tape. You should make sure that there are no gaps that could later cause damage to the liner.

Inserting the Foil

Now it comes to the supreme discipline – lining the pond with foil. The liner mustn’t get harmed. The liner should be laid as smoothly as possible and follow the excavated shape of the pond. It should not be under tension. At the edge, you should fix the foil with heavy stones. In the middle of the pond, place the pond pump.

The Right Technology

You should already pay attention to the right filter system with the pond pump. You can combine a filter with a pond mud vacuum cleaner and regularly clean the pond from algae and mud. It would help if you had a pond mud vacuum cleaner. With the right filter technology, you will provide water recirculation. If you want to illuminate the pond at dusk, you should also bring in the lighting now.

The Beautiful Design With Plants

If you have thought of the technology for your pond, you should do the planting before you let in water. On the shore zone, apply a substrate, a mixture of low-nutrient pond soil, grit, and gravel. You can also use this substrate for the plants in the shallow and deep water zones. However, you should find out what substrate each plant prefers when choosing pond plants. With native plants, you make the right choice because they are hardy and do not have high demands on substrate and care. Based on your sketch and the zones drawn in, select the plants. You should take into account the space requirements of the plants and remember that the plants also reproduce. Plant baskets filled with a substrate are more suitable than substrate placed in the pond. You can set and remove the baskets as you wish. You can also find more helpful information in our guide on the topic: pond design – planting the pond sensibly.

The Finishing Touch

Once you have placed the plants in the pond, you can add water. It would be best if you calmly went about selecting the fish, taking into account the various fish requirements. Domestic fish can overwinter in the pond and are relatively undemanding. Friends who have had a garden pond for some time will be happy to give you plants and fish. Perhaps at this point, our guide on the subject: Undemanding fish for your garden pond can help you?


You should plan your garden pond carefully. It depends on the right location and the correct size. Already during the planning, you should think about the technology. A foil pond is more suitable than a prefabricated pond because you can design it as you wish.

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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