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Small Outdoor Garden Ponds

Updated on May 2, 2016


A small outdoor pond with a few large goldfish or koi swimming around can be an excellent addition to your yard or garden. Here is some information about setting up and maintaining a fish pond. How to choose the right type and size, fish, and plants. There are some beautiful photos on this page and some links to help you get started building one.

Fish Photos: PD. Pond and Fountain Photos: Jardins Espanol.

Container Ponds

If you don't have the space for a large pond in the ground, you can construct a miniature pond in a container. They're movable, easy to set up, and they don't cost very much.

Anything that holds water can be used. A barrel lined with plastic, plastic tubs, ceramic pots, old bathtubs, or basins.You could build a wood box of any shape and size that you want and put a liner inside of it. The interior should be a dark color to discourage algae growth.

If you want to have fish it would be best if the container is at least 25 gallons. The water conditions will be better for the fish and the pond will heat up and cool down slower.

The plants will need at least 3 hours of direct sunlight to bloom, but they should not have full sun all the time. The water will get hot.

Fill the container with water, then add the rocks and plants. If you don't use a pond pump or filter, you will need mosquito control. Fish can be used. Gambusia, the mosquito fish or goldfish.

Above Ground Fountain


Floating plants stay on top of the water with their roots below. They provide shade and control algae. In cold climates they need to be taken indoors for the winter, or replaced.

Submerged plants are entirely under the water. They are important for a balanced pond.

Water lilies are the most popular pond plants.

Bridge Over a Large Garden Pond

Large Koi in a Pond


Some good pond fish are; Fancy Goldfish, Comets, and Shubunkins. Mosquito Fish, White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Japanese Rice Fish, and Rosy Barb. They are all compatible with each other.

Things to consider about adding fish:

Chlorine- Wait a few days before adding the fish.

Water Temperature- Float the bag in the pond and slowly release the fish.

Jumpers- Some fish will jump.

Predators- Provide hiding places.

Large Pond

Fish Pond Poll

What kind of garden pond fish is your favorite?

See results

Waterfall With Rocks and Plants

Fish in a Pond

Fountain in the Ground


Make your pond as childproof as possible, and don't leave children unattended near a pond. Provide an easy way to climb out of large ponds that are built in the ground. Check your local building codes. You may be required to put a fence around your pond or do other things for safety. Check about underground utility lines when you are ready to dig.

Waterfall Over Rocks

Lights in a Pond

Do You Have A Fish Pond Story?

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    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 4 years ago from UK

      We have a very small pond, well more of a waterfeature really. But it attracted a family of frogs who have been resident for many years nnow

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi no fish Pond story here, but would love to have one. These look so good.

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      I like ponds and fountains, we constructed a medium size pond in our garden about 10 years ago, every year I add something new like water lilies, golden fish, floating solar light. It looks very nice in the evening.

    • geosum profile image

      geosum 4 years ago

      I've built several wonderful fish ponds over the years. The last one had a bridge over it on the way to the front door. It had fish, water lilies and a waterfall. The only problem was the frogs that found it and multiplied...

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 4 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      I have wanted to put in a small pond in my backyard. I just have never gotten around to doing it. I really enjoyed this lens.


    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My neighbor had over 200 Koi and a mink got in and they were all gone, he was devastated as you can imagine. Very nice lens.

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      We have lovely floating solar powered pond lights. Lovely in the evening.

    • profile image

      Aunt-Mollie 5 years ago

      Sometimes I've had problems with too much algae. Other times I've had problems attracting wildlife that I don't won't in the pond - like snakes!

    • TriciaLymeMom profile image

      TriciaLymeMom 5 years ago

      so much to learn and so many great ideas...thanks!

    • newguitarman profile image

      newguitarman 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Good Read.

    • Art-Aspirations profile image

      Art-Aspirations 5 years ago

      This is a beautiful lens. My dad, the Waterwheelman, has a pond and a stream that he build in his back garden as a place to feature his waterwheel. He recirculates the water with a submersible pump.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      I have a pond in the village.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 5 years ago

      No, I don't have a fish pond story but I would love to have a fish pond one day. Great pictures and inspiration.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Nope, but i have a dream of having my own little pond one day. Beautiful photos!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I am planning on make a waterfall with rocks and plants in my garden.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 5 years ago

      I would love to have a fish pond, but with a small balcony, a large enough container is not an option. Instead, I built myself a shishi-odoshi water fountain, which splashes into (and out of) a small tub holding a few Japanese irises. WHen I get a bigger garden ...

    • ShedHead LM profile image

      ShedHead LM 5 years ago

      I love water of all kinds especially in nature. It is always a welcome sight in any garden

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens... love the pics. Thanks for sharing.

    • AshleyCarew1 profile image

      AshleyCarew1 5 years ago

      Great lens - really nicely laid out!

    • profile image

      mumsgather 5 years ago

      I'd love to have a fish pond. Unfortunately I can only afford a fish bowl. :)

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I just love this lens, I would love to have a small gold fish pond. Blessed and added to my lens...Squid Angel flinnie.

    • profile image

      djroll 5 years ago

      No fish pond story to really tell, but I have enjoyed you lens and I do love fish ponds. Thanks for sharing.

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      I never liked them, once I was in Belgrade in the garden center and saw a Japanese garden with a pond and little fish and a bridge and everything!

      I fell in love right away!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      Beautiful photos. I love fish ponds. Blessings!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had a largish pond which I filled in (still in process) this summer because I developed knee problems and could no longer tend it--plus I have an adventuresome grandson who I feared would jump into it--plus it was located where I really couldn't enjoy it. It was just there. Instead, I made an above-ground pond closer to the house by placing a rigid pond liner (130 gallons) pretty much on top of the ground and walling it in with the rock from the old pond. This was a ton of work, but I am enjoying the heck out of it. I run a little water over a rock for the heavenly sound and have just a few 27-cent goldfish (lost most in the Kansas City heat this summer) and some floating plants. I'm planning to really work on landscaping it next summer.

      Now I'm getting anxious about this winter. A little internet information is a dangerous thing, and I read advice all over the place about winter maintenance in zone 5--empty it completely? throw a rubber ball on it and let it freeze? leave the fish in? bring them inside?

      I know this is thread is about pond stories and not pond questions, but if anyone who has experience with a small above-ground pond in hard freeze areas could get me headed in the right direction, I'd be extremely grateful. Right now I'm debating the purchase of a $40 aquarium to save three 27-cent goldfish. Hard head/soft heart.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      We lived in a church parsonage and had a pond with 2 goldfish in it, Smitty and Albert (Michael W. Smith the singer and Albert Belle, the baseball player). The church member who was responsible for mowing the church yard weedwhacked our pond by accident and left Smitty and Albert in about 1 1/2 inches of water one day. We didn't find them until hours later, but they were still alive!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      I had one for about 8 years. It was above ground (a tub actually) and I had Papyrus which I always wanted, I had mosquito fish. I still have the tub, but we're in a drought and the water evaporates so fast here, esp. in such a small pond. I really love ponds, though. Good ideas here.

    • LeeD LM profile image

      LeeD LM 5 years ago

      I don't have a fish pond story but I wanted to comment on how beautiful the pictures of the fish are!

    • TaraWojt profile image

      Tara Wojtaszek 5 years ago

      Fish ponds are so beautiful and add a nice atmosphere to any yard. Great presentation.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Such a beautiful lens. Blessed!

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 5 years ago

      As a child I was mesmerized by my grandparents' 20' diameter fish pond in their front yard. The estate had a couple hundred foot long driveway, along the crest of the hill, and it circled around the goldfish pond. These were large goldfish and we kids loved watching them among the lily pads.

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 5 years ago from UK

      We added a small water feature to the garden and a family of frogs took it over - wouldn't be without them, they pop-up all over the garden.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've never had a fish pond. It would be nice to have one.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I would really like a fish pond, but I am afraid the osprey and bald eagles will use it as their dinner table.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      So beautiful lens, great job! Squidlike

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I don't have a fish pond, but this lens makes me wish I did!

    • PeacefieldFarm LM profile image

      PeacefieldFarm LM 5 years ago

      We have a small fish pond. We have fish, frogs, and usually both toad and frog tadpoles. I want to figure out the best way to keep my waterlilies alive over winter.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      I have a small fish pond, and I love it. I love looking at other ponds as well to see what others have done. Great lens!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      We have been planning a pond project and this lens gave some good information - thanks

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 5 years ago

      I need to move to a warmer climate zone. I do have a pond in my back yard that is about 500 square feet - but it freezes to the bottom during our long winters which makes it difficult to keep exotic plants or any type of fish.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      I wish I had a fish pond story. Maybe I'll have one to tell as soon as I get my new dome greenhouse built and aquaponics tank installed.

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      I had a backyard pond for several years. It always gave me such joy!

    • suzy-t profile image

      suzy-t 5 years ago

      I love my backyard pond and this is a great lens. I had a wonderful collection of comets and some lilies but forgot one very important thing that you point out...Provide hiding places for your fish ! In 5 minutes last summer, a blue heron found my pond and cleaned it out of all but a few fish. I was devastated.

    • lkamom profile image

      Heather McGlaughlin 5 years ago from Marryland

      You've inspired me, I have always wanted a garden pond. I think a container one is a great way to go for your first one.

    • Herman IV profile image

      Herman IV 5 years ago

      I love garden ponds. Great lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      saerae01 5 years ago

      WOW! Great lens and really really pretty pictures! When I get my own house I'm going to put 3 ponds in the backyard.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 6 years ago from USA

      My parents had a pond with a fountain. On holidays in the summer we used to cool our watermelon in the fountain until it was time to eat it (we washed it off first). I had several fountains in my yard in the past, but now I only have one.

    • hysongdesigns profile image

      hysongdesigns 6 years ago

      I don't have one at the moment but have made ponds out of all sorts of stuff since I was a kid. I remember digging a hole in the back yard and lining it with plastic and catching tadpoles in the creek to put in my pond. I think I was about 8 years old. I've used bathtubs and washtubs too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      No fish - no pond! Just stopped by to admire your visual treat here! :)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      Nicely done! We have a small pond, and really enjoy watching the goldfish and koi.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I made a pond once and it became home to frogs and more. I then added another made from an old bath, in this were two goldfish, imagine my surprise when I found they had a large family!

      We had to move then and I do miss my ponds so much, where we are now would not be suitable for one. I have really enjoyed this Lens, thank you for sharing.

    • mountainstevo profile image

      mountainstevo 6 years ago

      We had one but since we have moved I have not had the opportunity to install a new one.

    • profile image

      carredsal 6 years ago

      Nope, no fish pond. Yet:)

    • profile image

      PondWorld 6 years ago

      @masunyoananda: Why not? You should get one, they are great!

    • profile image

      PondWorld 6 years ago

      @ajgodinho: We agree - beautiful! We'd love all of your feedback on the pond lens we just wrote. Please stop by!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Oh, these are beautiful! I love fish ponds. I am always fascinated by Koi and their awesome colors.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland


    • profile image

      masunyoananda 6 years ago

      I don't have a fish pond....but yes, your lens is fabulous..........thanks for sharing...........

    • profile image

      masunyoananda 6 years ago

      I don't have a fish pond....but yes, your lens is fabulous..........thanks for sharing...........

    • profile image

      DevBlue 6 years ago

      No I do not have one due to lack of space. But I found your lens very interesting and contained lots of beautiful ideas.

    • one SquidAddict profile image

      one SquidAddict 6 years ago

      Unfortunately I don't have a garden large enough for a pond, even a small one, but I love to look at them - blessings from the Landscape Angel.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 6 years ago from Canada

      I would love to have a fish pond, but we have raccoons and they would just come fishing! We have thought about installing a small pond with a nice waterfall maybe this year.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      God bless you for your work, I have learnt a lot from you.

    • profile image

      r2fish 6 years ago

      Greatly maintained and well built lens. keep it up.

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      NIicely done & great resource. ***Angel blessed*** by the Bath and Shower neighborhood Angel & featured on "My Life with Angel Wings" lens ... :)

    • greenkat lm profile image

      greenkat lm 6 years ago

      Always wanted to do one of these - maybe someday! And loved the pics

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      lovedlooking at some of the options available. Wiuld love to have a pond someday.

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      No story, but I'd love to make one in the future.

    • ToTheBrimm LM profile image

      ToTheBrimm LM 6 years ago

      Great pictures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I am building more of waterfall then a pond this summer, started last summer and never really finished. Got a few ideas from your lens, thanks.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Lovely useful lens. Color-wow.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      There's something very relaxing about a fish pond. Some excellent ideas here and lovely presentation too.

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 6 years ago

      Nice lens. I love a garden. I have a small running brook near mine where I made several little waterfalls with rocks near the bridge.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 6 years ago

      Very well done. Ponds add so much to a home.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Beautiful lens on fish ponds - very well crafted and loved all those pictures! :)

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 6 years ago

      Great lens and the pictures are beautiful, like the layout of your lens.


    • profile image

      ShamanicShift 6 years ago

      One of my first fun childhood memories -- from when I was still being pushed in a stroller -- was stopping by a goldfish pond in front of a house we passed every day on the way downtown.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great lens Jack :) We had a pond at one home we lived in and it was so nice to hear the water, take care of the fish and the plants. We are hoping to build another one in our new home this spring, now you have really inspired me.

    • beerhead profile image

      beerhead 6 years ago

      My dad made one of these ponds with goldfish and a bridge years ago. Great ideas, Great lens!!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 6 years ago

      Great lens! very appealing! My neighbor in California had a huge Koi pond and waterfall. She imported and bred Koi... my love for oriental garden design came from her.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 7 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      We have a small Koi Pond and really enjoyed watching them. I will be sharing this great lens about Small Outdoor Garden Ponds with my husband. Thanks.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The sound of water always makes me calm.

    • profile image

      tssfacts 7 years ago

      There is just something about a backyard waterfall or fish pond that make me just want to sit and relax. I grew up with a backyard fish pond filled with fan-tailed goldfish. This article brings back lots of memories. Great job. Blessed by a SquidAngel. You are featured on Home and Garden SquidAngel.

    • marketmasterpro profile image

      marketmasterpro 7 years ago

      So beautiful, It makes me want to be by a pond right now and not in a puddle. Thank you!

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      I love your pond ideas! Great lens.

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 7 years ago from New Market

      Beautiful images and great information. Blessed by an angel :)

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 7 years ago

      Very attractive lens! Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 7 years ago from Canada

      If we ever got a bigger property, I might. Really enjoyed the lovely Koi and the enchanting ponds.

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 7 years ago

      No...but soon. When I get my own house I am going to have a garden and pond in my back yard. Great lens.

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      We have koi in the canal outside our building but that's as close as we'll get to a garden pond as long as we live inTokyo. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Oh for a yard again! Beautiful!

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 7 years ago

      Fluttering back to bestow Butterfly Blessings!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 7 years ago

      Yes indeed I do! My friend Chris in Jacksonville sculpted the most marvelous outdoor fish pond with a dozen Koi fish. I had wanted to capture her story, but alas, now I am no longer her neighbor.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 7 years ago

      Those are beautiful gardens and ponds!! I really enjoyed imagining myself in each scene! I've been working on a garden lens...but it's been in wip for a while now. lol

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love some of these images, and would really like to incorporate them into the pond I dug this year, especially the lights!

    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 7 years ago

      great ideas! rolled to "feng shui gardens"

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Not only do the fish-ponds look lovely, they create a lively atmosphere. Just to watch the fish is a stress relieving activity. Koi are also good from the point of FengShui

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      We have created a very large pond, but created it mainly for the native amphibian species in our area so did not add fish since they eat up the young amphibians. We have enjoyed watching the native species discover and use the new habitat and have been rewarded with an evening serenade by a chorus of frogs every spring.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      We have a pond at the top of our garden but we built it for frogs not fish. However, because of our apple tree, there was too much shade for the frogs to want to breed. However, during the last winter we pruned the apple tree and hey presto, frogsspawn and lots of tadpoles.

      We raised some indoors and released about 50 baby frogs back into the pond and lots of the ones we left in the pond survived as well - I really should make a lens!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      I bought a pond kit, but we have to do about 6 other projects before we can put the pond in. Great lens ... I will definitely be back when we're ready to move ahead with our own pond.