How to Build a Backyard Pond

There are many benefits to having a pond in your backyard. Create a space of art and peace in your backyard with this simple DIY project. We'll guide you every step of the way, from what kind of pond would work best to adding the perfect accessories. Read on to get started.

One Weekend
Less Than $1,000

What You Need for This Project

Build a Pond in Your Backyard

  1. 1

    Choose Your Pond Type & Size

    Did you know? Water gardens require an 18 inch depth or more, while Koi ponds are deeper and require a 3 foot depth or more.
    • Small Ponds: About 3 ft. by 6 ft. and up to 300 gallons in volume
    • Medium Ponds: About 6 ft by 9 ft. and up to 750 gal. in volume
    • Large Ponds: About 9 ft. by 16 ft. and more than 750 gal., plus a spillway
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  1. 2

    Location, Location, Location

    When choosing pond placement, look beyond the visual and consider factors like a nearby power source and the surrounding environment. For example, sun exposure can affect plant and fish maintenance, while falling leaves can clog your pump. After you've found a good spot, use markers to identify buried utility lines, and spray paint to draw the shape and size of your pond. While you're digging, use a level to ensure all sides are even.

    For a waterfall addition, create an elevation with a downward slope. Large waterfalls will need tiers, so determine the location and height of the highest point then use flat rocks, bricks, blocks, or stones to build elevation and set each tier. Finish off by using a rake or garden hoe to clear debris from the base and walls, then cover the bottom entirely in sand. Excess sand can be used to cover up voids or uneven surfaces along the back and sides.
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  1. 3

    Choose Your Pond Lining to Prevent Leakage

    Pond liner must be applied smooth side down with the textured side facing up, which will help with healthy bacteria growth. Smooth the liner to avoid creasing, using rocks on top as anchors. When you apply decorative rocks to finish off your lock, waterfall foam sealant will help to fill, insulate, and bond any gaps for a water-resistant seal to keep your water flow smooth and uninterrupted.

    Tip: Choose polyvinylchloride (PVC) liners, which are flexible, durable, lightweight, and easy to customize into any shape. It's also UV-protected and has a limited lifetime warranty; if installed correctly, it can last more than 20 years.
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  1. 4

    Pick the Proper Pump for Your Pond for Water Circulation

    Next, choose the right pump so your pond gets adequate water circulation for fish and plant life, as well as provide proper flow for any water features, such as waterfalls. To begin, estimate the total volume of your pond with the following formulas. When making your calculations, always round up; all pumps include flow control.
    • Rectangular Ponds: Average length x average width x average depth x 7.5 = total gallons
    • Circular Ponds: Average length x average width x average depth x 5.9 = total gallons
    Each gallon should circulate at least once every other hour, so choose a pump that has a gallons per hour (gph) rating that is at least half your pond's size. For example, if your pond is 1,000 gal., you'll need at least a 500 gph pump. For large ponds, consider additional pumps if you plan to include any special water features, like waterfalls — those with larger elevations will require pumps with a higher gph.
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  1. 5

    Find the Right Pond Filter to Keep Your Pond Clean & Clear

    Based on the volume of your pond, select the best filter for your pump. Proper filtration helps to eliminate organic waste and keeps your water crystal clear. Mechanical filters use filter pads to reduce debris in your pond. Pressure filters push water through the chambers, maximizing the effectiveness.
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  1. 6

    Connect a Waterfall or Water Feature for a Lovely Focal Point & Healthier Pond

    Water features, such as spitters, waterfalls, and sprays, not only help to create beautiful scenery, they also come with a practical purpose. Remember that fresh water circulation and aeration help keep your pond oxygenated, which, in turn, create an environment that helps keep any fish, plant, and "good" bacteria thriving.

    Waterfalls: Attach tubing directly to a pond pump; from this connection, ensure your tubing and all other cords follow the same direction upwards along the path of your planned waterfall. Trim tubing as needed, and keep it hidden along the side. At the top, either conceal the end of the tube or add a spillway, then cover with decorative stones.

    Fountains, Spitters & Sprays: The setup is simple — connect the adapter included in the product packaging to your spitter or nozzle on one end, then directly attach to your pond pump on the other.
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  1. 7

    Don't Forget Lighting & Accessories

    Personalize your pond with illuminating lights, romantic garden bridges, and other decorative accessories to complete your tranquil outdoor sanctuary.
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  1. 8

    Keep Your Pond Sparkling with Regular Maintenance & Water Treatment

    Make sure your beautiful backyard scenery stays that way with regular upkeep. If you have fish in your pond, you will need to ensure that fish waste and any other water pollutants are eliminated. All Lowe's pond water treatment products are safe for fish and plants.
  2. Steps:

  1. 9

    How to Winterize Your Pond

    During autumn, use pond skimmers or nets to catch fallen foliage. Do this before winter so that chemicals released from decaying leaves don't get frozen in the pond over winter. A pond aerator will also help to introduce dissolved oxygen back into the pond and help restore a balanced ecosystem.

    Ensure non-hardy aquatic plants are moved into a garage, house, or green house; for more hardy plants, make sure your pond is deep enough for the anticipated weather in your area, or move them to lower levels, if necessary.

    As the weather gets cooler, reduce feeding your fish to match their decelerating metabolism. For 21 degrees Celsius and above, feed them as "normal" (up to four times a day). Below that temperature, slow down a bit to once or twice a day, using wheat germ between 10 to 15.5 C. Fish start to fast below 10 C and should not be fed, or it can cause death. Don't start feeding them until the water starts to rise above 10 C when the fish become active again.
  2. Steps:

How to Terms

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes, and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors, or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures.

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