How to plan a garden pond build

While pruning back my rose bushes last night, I realised how quickly the nights are starting to draw in now that the Summer solstice of 2015 has passed us by. Without wishing to hurry time, as an avid gardner and pond owner it is always worth having a rough schedule of what tasks need to be carried out over the course of each of our four distinct seasons.

If you have an aspiration to become the owner of a garden pond, Autumn is considered to be the ideal season to get digging before the ground freezes in the cold Winter or dries solid in the hot Summer months. An Autumn pond build will also mean you can get the job complete before the start of the following Spring in time to plant then sit back and enjoy all that a pond has to offer.

Pond construction shouldn’t be a complex project if it is carefully planned out including materials, tools and type of preformed or flexible pond liner you choose to install to create a water tight feature.

Writing a checklist of what needs to be done including scaled drawings will help the project run smoothly. Building a pond should be filled with fun and enjoyment so minimise the stress by having your list in order before work commences.

Garden pond construction checklist

  • Pond design – drawn to scale in relation to fixed structures (house, garage, shed) and garden layout. If you like a particular type of fish or aquatic plant, then your pond design needs to accommodate them. When putting your design to scale remember that a large, wide, shallow body of water is generally healthier, safer and easier to maintain than a small deep pond – so go as big as your garden space allows. 
  • Confirm design is within the law – check that there are no legal restrictions against building a pond in your garden including proximity to your neighbour
  • List all materials required – a list of the most useful items are as follows:
    • Geotextile protective underlay, flexible rubber pond liner or PVC liner, rigid liner, pond pump, edging material (rocks, cobble stones, bricks), sand, gravel, bark chips, sleepers, piping
    • Tools – tape measure, spirit level, garden rake, spade, fork, trowel, wheel burrow, general purpose saw
  • Formal ponds whether raised above ground level or dug into the ground often need walls to create the regular shape and retain water (these ponds are then lined with a pond liner to make the structure waterproof). Blocks, bricks or stones and mortar will need to be added to the list of material for a formal pond build. A box-welded pond liner made to the exact pond measurements will need to be ordered for delivery after the formal structure is complete and the concrete has dried thoroughly. 
  • Set-out the order of work

Whatever your choice of pond liner, the secret to a stunning garden pond is to make sure the edges are concealed using bricks or paving stones. If your preference is a natural pond design, then you may choose to hide the edge of the pond liner under ground by covering with turf or pebbles.

Research by looking at various pond designs including the surrounding landscape. Join a Facebook group of fellow pond owners and use their knowledge and experience. Have fun and enjoy the project from start to finish :0)

6 thoughts on “How to plan a garden pond build

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