How to Build a Pond in Your Backyard

building a pondYou’re not alone in wanting to build a pond.  Thousands of people add them to their homes each year and the number is increasing.  You may be wondering why all the hype about a hole with water in it? That is a valid question, but to really understand you will have to experience the feeling you get standing next to a pond.  Once you get lost listening to the babbling sound of a waterfall stream, or lose yourself in watching a couple koi fish swim around you’ll understand.   Ponds become an ongoing, interesting home project that usually evolves to become bigger and better over time.

With the proper pond supplies, and planning you can build you own instead of hiring a contractor.  We’ll show you everything you need and the proper steps.

Steps to Take Before Building a Pond

There are a few things to check before going any further.  Your local building codes may require a fence around your property.  Fencing helps keep children and pets safe from drowning, but could add significant cost to the project.  Most projects we work on do not require a fence as long as the pond is two feet deep or shallower.

Call to have your utilities located.  We have a organization called Julie in Illinois where we are located.

Now you know how deep you can go and where the pond can be safely located.

How to Build a Pond

Here are the steps to build a backyard pond.  For this tutorial we will be using an Aquascape pond kit and instructions to give you an overview of the process.  You will need more detail than what’s here, but this will help prepare you.

Aquascape is who we generally steer new new builders to due to their simple designs and quality products. [Subscribe to their YouTube channel here].  Ed and Brian featured in the pictures and video are a couple of the top pond builders in the industry.

Step 1. Mark the pond area

mark the pond area

Using the dimensions of the kit being used, spray paint the ground with the shape of the pond.

Step 2. Place the skimmer and BioFalls on the perimeter the pond.

place bio falls and skimmer

Make sure to consider viewing areas and how the waterfall is positioned.

Step 3. Lay the Plumbing

step 3

Doing this now allows pipe to be buried while you build the berm.

Step 4. Hookup the BioFalls

step 4

Plug any unused inlets.

Step 5. Dig the pond

step 5

Use the dirt to build a berm around the BioFalls.

Step 6. Install underlayment and pond liner

step 6

Start and the bottom and work out any wrinkles.

Step 7. Hookup the Aquascape skimmer to liner

step 7

Remember to leave slack in the liner at the bottom.

Step 8. Place rocks in pond

step 8

Step 9.  Install Underwater lighting and cover liner with gravel

step 9

Install pump and overflow into skimmer.

Step 10.  Rinse stone and use a cleanup pump to remove dirty water

step 10

Step 11.  Fill the pond with fresh water

step 11

Step 12. Build the waterfall

step 12

Step 13. Add topsoil

step 13

Step 14. Create a retaining wall

step 14

Step 15. Adjust waterfall flow

step 15

Step 16.  Trim excess liner

step 16

Leave about 6″ of excess liner to provide for edging.

Step 17.  Add mulch over topsoil

step 17

Step 18. Cleanup – You’re done!

You can watch the whole installation by Aquascape .


Ed, Brian and the Aquascape crew making building a pond look easy.  We would love to hear your thoughts on our how to build a pond tutorial.  Contact us with any questions.