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How to Build a Pond in Your Backyard with Tips for Pond Plants

Updated on October 22, 2012
Ponds add beauty to backyards and gardens, and can help attract natural wildlife.
Ponds add beauty to backyards and gardens, and can help attract natural wildlife. | Source

Benefits of a Yard Pond

A pond can help create a soothing place to relax at when in the backyard or create a fun place for the natural wildlife to congregate. A few plants and some fish can help keep the mosquito population down as well as keeping it clean, while the pond provides a simple natural focal point in the backyard for the family.

Different Ways To Build a Pond

There are many different ways to create and build a pond at home. The three basic ways are to use a kit with a pre-made plastic form, or make it yourself with either plastic or cement as a liner.

Use a pre-built kit. These can purchased at many home improvement stores, and contain everything that is needed, such as the pond liner, pumps (if using) and any hardscapes that are needed. Going this route will the be the easiest for those who don't want any hassles when installing a pool in their garden.

Use a liner. There are thick liners for the ground to hold in water as it is being built. These can be an inexpensive alternative to an easy and quick job for building a pond. Trim the liner to fit the hole being dug for the pond, leaving several inches surrounding the area that will be held down by rocks or other hardscapes. The liner can be fit to virtually any design which makes is more attractive than some pre-built tubs with a manufactured shape to it.

Line the hole with cement. The pond can be made permanent by lining the hole with cement and letting it cure. After a hole is dug in the shape desire, it is lined by reinforcing mesh. The concrete is poured after it is prepared, then spread out and left to cure. It is very helpful to add a runoff drain or channel on one side and filling the hole with a mesh grid to prevent any fish from being drifted out in the chance of a rain downpour or if it is overfilled.

Pond Plants

Plants for the home garden pond can range from decorative flowers to hardy grasses. Here are some popular choices to consider, depending on the height and color wanted, and amount of sun exposure given to the pond in a day.

Reed grasses and cattails are suitable for areas in the pond that need shading, or for those gardeners that would like an area of tall grasses. These are all hardy plants. Cattails can reach as high as six feet, while dwarf cattails reach around two feet high. Reeds can be tall (as high as eight feet) but some varieties are restricted in some states, like California. Dwarf reeds range from two to three feet high.

Water plants include submerged and floating plants. Submerged plants While these plants ultimately spend their lives underwater and therefore not on display in the open, they are great for soaking up impurities and help keep down algae. Floating plants, as the name suggests, actually float on the surface of the water. These perform double duty to reduce excess nutrients in the water, and give the pond greenery at the surface level.

Flowering plants can be surface floating plants or under water potted plants. Certain plants will even change color - when the blooms first open they begin as one color and after a few days the color changes. The Aurora hardy flower lily is one such plant.

No matter what greenery is added to the pond, it will help filter it and provide hiding spaces for any water life you add or makes themselves home in your pond, like purchased koi fish or wild frogs and birds.


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