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Backyard Water Feature: How to Build a Pond

Updated on November 16, 2018
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Rosie is a library media specialist. An avid reader and life-long learner, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and expertise in many areas.

A Place to Enjoy Nature
A Place to Enjoy Nature | Source

Big Guy


Deciding to Build a Pond

Do you enjoy being outside and observing animals in their natural habitats? Here is a great weekend project that will bring nature to your backdoor instantly. Pond habitats and water features attract dragonflies, birds, butterflies, frogs, toads, turtles, newts, salamanders, rabbits, and even deer. After building your pond, each year you will probably see hundreds of tadpoles. I once read that only 10 of 1,000 tadpoles actually make it to 'froghood', and only a few will stick around a small pond and make it their permanent home. I have a very large toad that's been living in my pond for a few years - I call him Big Guy. So let's get started:

Steps to Building a Pond

Pond Installation:

  1. The hardest and most time-consuming part of building a pond is digging the hole. Make it a family activity and have everyone pitch in. If your soil is mostly clay, you may need to saturate the space with water before you dig. Be sure to put your pond in a place that receives shade for a portion of the day, as complete sunlight will cause excessive algae growth and cloud the water more easily; and if possible place it near evergreens and not deciduous trees, because of leaf debris.
  2. I recommend using an insert as liners can become damaged and leak more easily. Dig a hole larger than the insert. Place the insert in the hole and make sure it is level.
  3. Backfill the space around the insert with sand. Fill the insert partially with water and check again to be sure it is level. Now completely fill the insert with water.

4. You will need to put a water treatment product in your pond to rid it of chlorine and chloramine before adding fish. I recommend goldfish as they are very easy to care for. I feed mine weekly and sometimes daily as I like to see them, but this is not necessary. Goldfish can feed off of the algaeand other debris in the pond. Stop feeding your goldfish when the temperature outside gets below 60 degrees, as they are unable to metabolize their food as quickly. You can purchase goldfish for as little as 13 cents each at your local pet store, and they will live for several years. I've had 8 of mine for 5 years now.

5. To keep your pond clear, add No More Algae tablets as needed and pond-cleaner barley which breaks down organic matter and algae. Remove leaves and other debri with a net or by hand so that waste material does not build up at the bottom of your pond.

6. If you would like to have a water feature in your pond, I highly recommend a solar fountain. They are very easy to set up and they work beautifully. The one I have is pictured. I've had it for 3 years and I absolutely love it. Big Guy likes to sit underneath the spray when it is on.

7. Plants are a great way to enhance your pond. They add oxygen to the water, require absolutely no care, and are very pleasing to the eye. They are easy to establish as well. I use plastic planters (the ones that plants come in when you buy them) and fill them with garden dirt, and my plant. Then I top them with about a half inch of pea gravel. Your pond plant will come with directions that tell you how deep your plant should be in the water. Some should be at water level while others should be a few inches or even a foot below water level. Use bricks to attain the correct height for your plant.

8. The last thing you will want to do is add rock, flagstone, sand, or pebbles to complete the final touch for your pond. I have shells around my pond too. Other items you may enjoy are solar lights, torches, and ground plants that will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. I also have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy my pond. That is the most important part!

A Butterfly Bush will attract butterflies to your pond area..
A Butterfly Bush will attract butterflies to your pond area.. | Source

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