Gardening Tips > March > ‘How to’? Build Your Own Garden Pond

‘How to’? Build Your Own Garden Pond

Digging a pond in your garden allows frogs, toads and interesting insects to thrive. You can also purchase a variety of aquatic life. Creating a pond doesn’t have to be a difficult task, and it can add some real serenity and atmosphere to your garden. Before you begin the dig, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

First of all, you need to decide upon the size of your pond and whether you wish to use a liner or a preformed pool. It is also a good idea to bear in mind the types of plants that you wish to grow in your pond as certain plants will require different depths of water.

One key point to remember is to avoid digging your pond in a shaded area surrounded by trees likely to shed their leaves this autumn, as this will cause the maintenance of your pond to be more difficult than it needs to be.

The tools you will need:

  • A craft knife
  • A hose in order to mark out the shape of your pond
  • A plank long enough to reach over your pond
  • A shovel
  • Both a butyl pond liner and an insulating pond liner
  • A spirit level
  • Paving slabs or turf to line the edge of your pond
  • Soft builders sand

Marking out the perimeter of your pond

  • Take your hosepipe and mark out the outline of your pond. Using a hosepipe will give you smooth rounded edges. Alternatively, you can use a long length of rope or you can mark the outline by scattering dry sand through your fingers onto the ground in the shape that you intend for your pond to be. Once you have done this, it’s time for you to remove the top layer of turf within the perimeter of your outline.


  • You are now ready to dig out the area within your guideline as deep as the first shelf. Then, taking a length of rope or string, mark out what would be the edge of the first shelf in your pond. Your next step is to dig out the centre of your pond until you reach your intended maximum depth. Once this is complete, it is a good idea to check that your shelf is level across the whole pond using a spirit level.

Wildlife safety

  • During the excavation process, it would be good practice to construct a gradual slope to allow any small animals such as hedgehogs the chance to escape should they fall in.

Fitting your pond lining

  • Run a quick check on your hole, removing any sharp items or jagged edges from the ground that are likely to pierce your pond lining once it has been fitted. Once you have done this, douse the area with a three centimetre lining of soft builders sand. This will further prevent damage to your pond from any sharp items that may be at the floor of your pond. As an additional layer of protection you can also place some old carpet or even a sheet of pond underlay on top of the sand. Now you need to line your pond using the butyl liner. Before filling your pond, secure the liner at the edges with bricks or other suitable heavy items.

Filling up your pond

  • Begin filling your pond with water moving the edges of the liner so that it tightly hugs the contours and dips of your pond. Once you have filled your pond, trim your liner so that there is around a 30 centimetre gap between the water and the edge of your liner. This should then be neatly covered and secured using paving slabs or, if you wish to achieve a more natural effect, you can lay grass right up to the water’s edge.

If you don’t have room for something so large see our ‘How to’? Create a Mini Pond guide. This will lead you through a step by step in how to make a pond using a container.


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