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How to install a garden pond

Adam_W
Valued Contributor

Difficulty: Beginner

A pond is a wonderful water feature for any garden. You can use a rigid pre-made pond or design your own using flexible pond liner.

 

Here’s our step-by-step guide to installing a simple pond using a pre-made form. Please let us know if you need a hand with your own project. 

Video Tutorial

Steps

Step 1

Choose a suitable location for your pond. Here are a few tips:

 

  • Avoid areas that get too much sun. This can increase the growth of algae and pond weeds, increase evaporation and make the water too hot for fish and plants.
  • If you must position your pond in full sun, choose a deeper pond and a high-quality filter system – ideally one with a UV clarifier that uses ultraviolet light to kill algae.
  • If you want flowering pond plants, such as water lilies, your pond will need at least a half a day of sun in the warmer months.
  • Avoid excessively shady spots, especially if you plan to have pond plants and fish.
  • Avoid positions where your pond will fill up with fallen leaves.
  • Remember that you will need access to electricity to run your pump and lights (solar power can also be an option).
  • If you are adding your pond to a deck or balcony, make sure your pond won’t be too heavy. Water alone weighs 1kg per litre.

 

We chose our spot because it gets about half a day’s sun, it’s a focal point in a small courtyard, and it’s visible from indoors.

 

Step 1 Select a location.jpg

Step 2

Put your pond on the ground in the place you want it to be. Use your spade to mark a rough outline to guide your excavation, then remove your pond.

 

Step 2 Position pond and mark for digging.jpg

Step 3

Dig to the approximate depth of your pond. Keep soil in your wheelbarrow to use for backfilling. Make sure to clear the hole of any roots, rocks or other debris that might damage your pond or make it hard to level.

 

Step 3 Excavate to pond depth.jpg

Step 4

Gently lower your pond into the hole to see if it fits. If your soil is very rocky or otherwise difficult to bring to shape make your hole slightly bigger all round and use bagged river sand or paving sand to line the hole.

 

Step 4 check excavated depth and shape.jpg

Step 5

Position your pond in the finished hole. The lip of the pond must sit high enough above the surrounding soil and mulch so that heavy rain will not wash debris into the pond.

 

Use your level to check that your pond is level from side to side and back to front.

 

Use soil or sand to backfill around the sides of your pond, taking care to not move the pond itself.

 

Step 5 Position pond and make level.jpg

Step 6

If you’re planting plants around the edges of your pond you can do this now. Try to keep soil and mulch from falling into the pond.

 

Step 6 Plant around pond edge.jpg

Step 7

Adding gravel to your pond creates a more natural environment, encouraging colonies of beneficial microorganisms that help keep the water clear.

 

Thoroughly rinse your gravel or pebbles to remove dust and silt, then gently place them in your pond.

 

Remove the filter cage from your pump and replace the sponge block with your external pre-filter block. This will improve the filtration of your pond water and reduce sponge filter maintenance and strain on your pump.

 

Attach your fountain riser and head and position the pump in your pond base. Position your pond light if you have one.

 

Fill your pond with water.

 

If adding fish, first use a suitable dose of pond water treatment and conditioner to remove chlorine and other chemicals from tap water.

 

Tip: Always select a pump with a capacity a little greater than you need. This allows you greater flexibility with adjusting flow rates.

 

Step 7 Add gravel pump and light.jpg

Step 8

Mulch around the plants you’ve added and water well. Turn on your pump, adjusting or changing the fountain head and flow rate as required.

 

Enjoy your new pond.

 

Step 8 Mulch around plants and turn on pump.jpg

Materials

  • Pre-made pond (we used a 113L Aquapro Coquetdale polythene pond)

  • Electric pump (ours has an adjustable flow rate of 1200L an hour)

  • External pre-filter sponge block to suit your pump

  • Bagged paving sand or coarse river sand for backfilling the hole around your pond

  • Bagged gravel or pebbles for pond bed

  • Submersible light if desired (we used a warm white 12-LED pond and garden light)

  • Plants to suit surrounds

  • Mulch.

Tools

  • Digging spade

  • Level, long enough to span your pond from end to end

  • Wheelbarrow

  • Medium-duty gloves.

Images

 

Step 1 Select a location.jpg

Step 2 Position pond and mark for digging.jpg

Step 3 Excavate to pond depth.jpg

Step 4 check excavated depth and shape.jpg

Step 5 Position pond and make level.jpg

Step 6 Plant around pond edge.jpg

Step 7 Add gravel pump and light.jpg

Step 8 Mulch around plants and turn on pump.jpg

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