Creating a sustainable backyard pond has many advantages. A pond adds to the aesthetic appeal of your yard, creates a new habitat for nearby aquatic wildlife, and is just overall fun to look at. 

Here’s a quick guide to building your own backyard pond:

1. Choosing the Location

Before you start building, you have to choose an appropriate location to place your pond. 

I recommend that you pick a location in a low area in your backyard, so your pond will naturally collect water. This way, you won’t have to manually replenish water as often, and the pond will be more self-sustaining and low maintenance.

Once you’ve chosen a spot, start drawing sketches of the pond and plan out the dimensions accordingly. You also have to decide how deep you will build your pond. If you live in an area with extreme cold and hot seasons, dig as much as eight to 12 feet  (or more) so your fish can survive in extreme weather conditions. 

You also want to make sure that your pond doesn’t completely freeze over. The deeper the pond, the less likely it will completely freeze. Again, check the average winter temperatures in your location and do a quick Google search to determine how deep your pond should be to survive the winter.

2. Digging

Once you have the pond plan and the dimensions, prepare your shovels (or hire a Bobcat if you’re going to be digging very deep) and start digging the pond. 

To deter predators like Raccoons, the surface layers of your pond should be dug straight into the ground. You want to make sure that the ground does not gradually slope into the pond because a predator could use the sloping ramp to wade into the pond and prey on your fish.

Note: If you want a more natural pond ecosystem where a variety of predators and prey interact, feel free to dig the pond so that it slopes from shallow to deep. I recommend going with this route and then adding native species of fish and marine wildlife to your pond so that it can be self-sustaining, and so you can create a new habitat for nearby wildlife like birds or turtles.

When you are digging your pond, do it gradually and systemically. Dig each area at least 16 inches deep and pile the removed dirt where you can build a waterfall for your pond. This way, you save time on building your pond.

3. Place the Pond Liner

Once your hole is ready, fill it with sand and rake it. Then, prepare a geotextile fabric to cover the sand. This step will help in protecting the rubber liner. Make sure that the material is big enough to cover the hole where your pump would be. 

To adequately place the rubber liner, fold it in half, then start at the center of the pond when unfolding it. Ensure that the liner is firmly placed on the center pit. You can use water to hold the rubber liner in place if it moves too much.

4. Stacking the Stones

When stacking the stones, begin from the pond floor, then move on to plant shelves and the sides. Place the rocks at least a foot wide on the sides. Then, put the pump and the hose at the center pit. Test to make sure that the hose and pump work. Finally, fill the pond with water.

Note: for future maintenance of the pond, you can get cordless underwater tools to make it easier to work underwater. That way, you won’t have to worry about extension cables or destroying your tools with water.

5. Adding Fish and Wildlife

Not all fish can survive living in a pond, so you have to choose the appropriate fish. Fish like tilapia, bluegills, and pumpkinseed can be good choices as they can adapt to different environments and multiply. 

It’s a good idea to research the native species of fish in your area before adding random fish into your pond. The last thing you want is to introduce an invasive species of fish into your backyard pond!

When adding fish, gradually introduce them to your pond’s environment. If they come in plastic bags, directly place the plastic bag in your pond to allow the temperatures to slowly acclimate. Then, gradually add pond water into the bag containing your fish before letting them into the pond.

Building a backyard pond is a step above the difficulty of an indoor aquarium, but it can be extremely rewarding. If done correctly, a backyard or front yard pond will look great and provides a nice new habitat for nearby aquatic wildlife!

This post was kindly sponsored by Rental Tools Online.

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