Building a Pond

The Age of DIY

The age of the internet has redefined DIY for a new generation. Effective shortcuts from those who came before can ensure your project is done, and done right.

Flat tire? YouTube teachers of every ilk will take you through it, step-by-step. Installing a new kitchen faucet? Plumbers, practicing and retired, are ready to help via video or community forum.

But it’s more than just the basics. Internet tutorials teach how to build, design, even construct projects previously left to professionals. With a slew of communities and blogs and self-made tutorials, the internet has increased self-sufficiency and brought new possibility.

Constructing a pond is no different. Step-by-step instructions ensure your first pond is just a weekend away.

It starts with proper planning...location, location, location. Ideally, your pond should receive 6 hours of daily sunlight, but for some homeowners choice is limited. Recognize how much sun your pond will receive—it will determine plant choice. Fish need at least some sun—but too much afternoon sun can produce an algae bloom, wreaking havoc on their health.

Once location is established, use a rope or hose to define the perimeter of your pond that will house two tiers—one deeper and one shallower. Excavate the deeper tier to a depth of roughly 18”. The pond pump and filter will sit in the center of this deeper tier. Dig a shallower second tier to a depth of approximately 12” and roughly 6”-10” wide. This tier will serve as a shelf for fish and marginal plants.

After the two tiers are dug, remove any visible rocks or tree roots. Then line the tiers with 3” of underlayment of some type—sand, newspaper, fiberglass material or geotextile fabric. This will serve to protect the pond liner. OASE pond liners are made for durability and come in a range of thickness. The pond’s size and its ability to endure stress should determine the thickness of the liner. OASE liners are eco-friendly, fish safe, and UV and ozone resistant.

For liner placement, fold the liner lengthwise, center it and unfold it, overlapping roughly 10” on all sides. Fill the center with enough water to hold the liner in place.

Place the filter on the edge of the pond. If using a pressure filter you can bury the tank up to the clamp, and if using a flow-through filter they can hide it around plants or within a garden and use PVC pipe to flow the water back to the pond (as long as the flow is down hill).

OASE filters—either BioSmart with Vitronic UVCBioTec with Bitron UVCBioPress, or FiltoClear—work as a multi-stage mechanical and biological filtration system in a compact package. During biological filtration, water is channeled through a series of filter foams that allows the settling of beneficial bacteria. During this stage, harmful ammonia and nitrites are converted to nitrates, supporting plant life in the pond. Use OASE kink-free tubing to connect your pump to the filter.

Now place the pump in the center of the deeper tier. OASE offers a range of pond pumps—including AquaMax Eco ClassicAquaMax Eco Premium and the ProfiMax 7000. New pump features include built-in thermal overload and frost protection; solids-handling ability means fewer clogs and better water quality. Included accessories allow setup of a filter system.

Stack the stone of your choice on the pond floor, but avoid the center where the pump is situated. Lay stones along the pond wall, fill gaps with smaller stones. Fill the pond with water to within a few inches of the top.

Place coping stones around the perimeter of the pond, on top of the liner. Finish with landscaping to accentuate your pond.

Pond enthusiasts now embrace the opportunity to troubleshoot, experiment and share helpful hints. Many have built their first pond on advice scattered through articles, posts and videos. Before the internet, constructing a pond without prior experience was a daunting task and often left to professionals. Helpful hints were limited and irreversible mistakes were more common. In the age of technology, a pond can be created and properly maintained, accompanied by a greater sense of accomplishment.