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I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know? | Decorative Ponds & Water Gardens Q & A


Q: I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know?

Q: I would like to build a backyard pond. What do I need to know?

Carolyn – Jackson, TN

A: Are you dreaming of summertime landscaping projects? Yep, we are too. With the cold season upon us, there’s nothing like some backyard pond planning to warm up those chilly days and get excited about diving in to your favorite hobby.

Whether you plan to build a half-acre pond with a recirculating stream and fish, expand on your existing feature, or install a petite 200-gallon in-ground aquatic water garden, you should consider these points as you design your backyard dream:

Start with a Budget

First of all, consider what kind of money you want to spend and develop a project budget. In most cases, the larger the water feature, the more expensive it will cost—but some of those top-of-the-line accessories for smaller features can cost quite a bit, too. If you need some help, call a pond-building professional in your area who can assess your needs and determine your budget.

Look for Higher Ground

Next, take a close look at your landscape and plan to position your pond on a high spot rather than a low spot. It might seem logical to locate your water feature in a valley, but it’s actually better to situate it on higher ground. This will prevent rainwater from running into your pond, which can cause water clarity and algae growth problems later on.

Size It Right

While you’re inspecting your outdoor space, consider what sized water feature will realistically fit within your existing landscaping. Do you have a large yard and want to go big? Do you have a small space that’s perfect for a preformed pond with a small fountain? Perhaps the area is best suited for a pondless stream or waterfall. Many seasoned pond hobbyists have admitted that, in retrospect, they wish they had gone bigger with their initial designs …

Consider Your Audience

Who will be enjoying your water feature? When planning your backyard pond, keep your audience in mind. If you have young kids running around the yard and safety is an issue, a pondless waterfall with no open body of water might be a good choice. If, however, you and your family have a passion for aquatic plants or fish, it would make sense to go with a traditional pond.

Go with a Kit

As you’re planning your backyard dream pond, make the process easier by buying a pond kit, which comes with everything you’ll need. Different kits are designed for different types of ponds. Here are three that we recommend:

  • For a large waterfall with big sound: The RapidFlo™ Ecosystem Pond Kit is ideal for those who want a large waterfall or stream, lots of sound to drown out nearby noise, and a system with the capacity to deal with heavy debris from nearby trees.
  • For fish lovers: The AllClear™ Ecosystem Pond Kit is designed for hobbyists who want their pond to be all about their fish, not a waterfall. It works well in yards with full sun exposure and few falling leaves.
  • For easy maintenance: The Cascading Falls Pondless Pond Kit is perfect for busy people who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of running water but have little time to maintain a traditional water feature. It’s also well suited for small yards or families with children.

Have Fun with It!

The most important thing to know about planning a pond of your dreams is that you should have a great time doing it. You’ll enjoy this backyard feature for years, so do your research, think through these points, and spend time designing something that you’ll love!

Pond Talk: When you built your first pond or water feature, what inspired your design?

Build Your Dream Pond - The Pond Guy(r) RapidFlo(rm) Ecosystem Pond Kits

11 Responses

  1. JOHN BUSCEMI, THE POND BUILDERS WHO BUILT MINE IS CALLED NATURAL WATER GARDENS. —TIM IS THE OWNER! THEY ARE CLOSED RIGHT NOW FOR THE WINTER. THEY ARE LOCATED OUT OF FREEPORT, ILL. THEY WORK AT TIMES UP TO MADISON, WIS. HE CAN GIVE YOU AN IDEA OR TELL YOU WHO TO CONTACT FOR THAT AREA. MOST OF THE TIME IT IS THE LINER BY THE ROCKS IS TOO SHORT, SO THE WATER RUNS UNDER IT. I REMOVEd ONE ROCK AT A TIME AND CHECK IT OUT. LAYING A NEW LINER OVER WHAT IS ALREADY THERE THEN BUILDING IT UP UNDER THE ORIGINAL LINER. THAT WAY IT MAKES A CURVE. THERE IS A GLUE THAT YOU CAN BUY, TO GLUE IT TOGETHER WITH A BRUSH! YES IT TAKES TIME!

    GOOD LUCK! THEY ARE GOING TO FIND MY LEAK THIS SUMMER, A TURKEY PUT A HOLE IN MINE, IN THE WATERFALL!! TELL THEM I GAVE YOU THEIR NUMBER! THEY DO A LOT OF WORK FOR ME! AT LEAST IT IS A START! –LANDSCAPERS KNOW NOTHING ABOUT PONDS, MAYBE 1 OUT OF 20.

    GREG JOHNSON

    • Thanks Greg, I know there not much I can do now this time of year. have had this issue about 5 or 6 years already, so like every other week all winter long I have to run hose out of basement to add water. in the summer I kind leave the hose in the water and turn it on every few days but even that is becoming a pain in the butt. the leak is about half way down cause this year I did like they say stop the water falls to see if still loses water, then let it go till it stops and that was about half empty so I kind of know about how far down it must be but at the time I did it, I did not want to take all them rocks out going that far. I have rocks on all walls and bottom so it is a lot of rocks in a 20 by 18 pond. about 4 feet deep in center. that is why I asked what would be cheaper to dig new or remove all the rocks lay a new liner and put all the rocks back so it looks all Natural again, there a lot of people that can throw the rocks in there again but it does take a guy with a eye for it to look like it was always there

      • JOHN, IF IT WAS MINE I WOULD CALL TIM FIRST! BUT TO ME DIGGING A NEW HOLE WOULD BE THE HARDEST. THEY MAY FIND IT BY REMOVING SOME ROCKS & GLUE A SECTION OF LINER OVER THE AREA THEN REPLACE THE ROCKS. CAN YOU SEE THE TEAR? TIM MAY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE A WATER COLORING TO SHOW WHERE THE LEAK IS! I WOULD NOT KEEP FILLING IT UP, THAT IS A WASTE.

        KEEP TAKING THE ROCKS OUT ONE AT A TIME, LAY THEM ON THE BRIM SO YOU KNOW WHERE TO REPLACE THEM. REMEMBER WATER TRAVELS, WHERE YOU THINK THE LEAK IS, IT COULD BE 10 FT AWAY FROM THAT AREA. LOOK FOR SHARP ROCKS, THAT ARE NEXT TO THE LINER WALL. ROLL BACK AN AREA THEN LAY A NEW LINER, OVERLAY IT WITH GLUE ON THE EDGES OR AS BEST AREA AS YOU CAN. THEN ROLL BACK THAT END THEN GO TO OTHER END, CENTER OUT, GLUE THAT SIDE DOWN. THE LONGER YOU DELAY FIXING IT THE WIDER THE RIP OR HOLE WILL GET… I KNOW THAT, IT HAPPENED TO ME. A NEW LINER IS CHEAPER THEN DIGGING A NEW HOLE, JUST NOT FASTER! I HAVE ( 8.5 )TONS OF ROCK IN MINE,TAKES STEEL BARS TO MOVE SOME OF MY BOLDER’S !!

        ASK TIM BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING. THAT IS WHAT I WOULD DO! YOUR PONDERING FRIEND – G. J. LET ME KNOW WHAT HAPPENS — THANKS!

      • Well I don’t know where the leak is. just about the level where it is at not where in the pond the leak is at. and I have to wait till spring now cause it is iced over now

  2. I started ponding like 20 years ago, started with the formed plastic kind about 300 gallons, then dug my own about 1000 gallons, then paid a pro that made it 2000 gallons, with a water fall. it has a leak now and I made it with a small beach that was a big mistake. it ended up being a easy feeding area for the blue heron, lost a few thousand dollars of koi over the years before I was able to stop him, so my question to the pond guy is do you recommend anybody in my area racine wi that could either fix the leak that will be removing all the rocks and replace the liner or would it be cheaper to just dig a new one in another place in the yard what does the pond guy think would be best or cheapest way to go and anyone to recommend doing the work

  3. RANGER BILL, MY WIFE & I DUG A TRENCH FOR THE ELECTRIC, TO THE MAIN CIRCUIT BREAKER IN THE BASEMENT. THERE ARE 3 LANDSCAPE LOGS THAT HOLDS THE OUTLET BOXES. EACH ONE HAS THEIR OWN ( GFI ) OUTLET CIRCUIT BREAKER. SO WHEN IT DOES BLOW, IT IS RIGHT THERE,AND THE REST KEEP RUNNING. WATER AND ELECTRIC DON’T MIX. SO YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO CAREFUL !!! EACH POST HAS 2 – 4 WAY GFI OUTLETS ON IT !!! WITH THE POND THE SIZE OF MINE, YOU HAVE TO BE ALWAYS CAREFUL !!! IF YOU DO DIG YOUR OWN HOLE, I DUG MINE 12 INCHES DEEP, ONLY REALLY NEED 8. JUST DON’T DIG IN THAT AREA WHEN PLANTING, WHEN GOING 8 INCHES DEEP !!!

    THERE IS A LOT TO THINK ABOUT WHEN DOING IT YOURSELF !!?? DRAW IT OUT ON PAPER, THEN GO FROM THERE!!! YOU CAN ALWAYS THROW THE PAPER AWAY !!!?? Y.U.P !!

    YOUR PONDERING FRIEND — GREG JOHNSON

  4. CAROLYN ,
    ( A )- LOCATION, VIEWING AREA !!!
    ( B )- BUDGET
    ( C ) – SIZE — HERON LOVE FISH !!!! THEY CAN CLEAN OUT A SMALL POND IN LESS THEN 2 0 MINUTES. MINE IS 2 5 X 1 9 , DEEP END IS – 5 FT,, SHALLOW – END – 1 8 INCHES !! THERE IS – 8 . 5 TONS – OF ROCK – IN IT, WITH AN -1 8 FT – WATERFALL,,HOLDS – 3, 0 0 0 GALLONS, CIRCULATES 5 , 0 0 0 GALLONS AN HOUR. I NOW WISH IT WAS – 1 0 FT – LONGER, FOR A BRIDGE !!
    ( D ) – LOT SIZE, FLAT, HILLY, TREES, ROOTS, ROCKS, SOIL. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PUT IT RIGHT HERE. I CHANGED MY LAY OUT – 4 -TIMES !! FOUND OLD HOSES , ROPE TO LAY OUT FOR THE DESIGN & SIZE. SPRAY PAINTED THEM TO CUT THE YARD TOO. MINE HAS A 1/2 INCH FELT PAD UNDER THE LINER, TO PROTECT THE LINER, I HAVE LOTS OF TREES.

    YES, THERE IS A LOT TO THINK ABOUT, BUT IN MY OPINION, THE BIGGER THE BETTER,ALSO LESS WORK WHEN COMPLETED! THEY ARE A PROJECT. I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON MINE FOR 8 YEARS & STILL WORKING ON IT,,BUT RUNNING OUT OF ROOM !!!
    POND GUYS CAN HELP YOU TO DETERMINE WHAT YOU NEED, ALSO THE SIZE FOR THE AMOUNT OF WATER IT WILL HOLD. WHAT EVER YOU END UP DOING, GOOD LUCK !!!

    YOUR PONDERING FRIEND – GREG JOHNSON

  5. Nearby power source. You need an electrical hookup for your pump. (GFI controlled.) Better not to try to use an extension cord. Also access for supplies. You will need alot of heavy rocks so you need to get something with wheels close to the site.

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