Gardening video: How to build a garden pond
You will need:
Rigid pond liner
- Fork (large garden variety)
- Marking paint
- 2 bags of building sand
- Straight edge of timber
- Spirit level
TV gardeners are always saying how we should encourage wildlife into our gardens. One of the best ways to attract birds, insects and small animals is to add a pond. You don't need a lot of space, nor a team of experts. A few hours and a bit of elbow grease is all it takes.
Time to complete the job: 3 hours.
IMPORTANT: If you have young children, or young children will be visiting your garden, a pond can be dangerous, even lethal. Consider installing a safe water feature instead.
If you want to have a pond in your garden but aren't sure where to put it, why not take a look at our garden design ideas.
Step 1: Choose your site
A garden pond needs to be in a spot that gets both sun and shade - it musn't be in direct sunlight all day. Once you've chosen your pond's location, put your pond liner in position on the ground and mark its outline on the soil with marker paint.
Step 2: Dig a hole
Move the pond liner and start digging. Using a spade, remove the topsoil first. This will likely go down about a foot into the ground.
For the layer underneath, which could be rock, clay or rubble, use a garden fork. Push the fork into the ground using your foot and pry up to loosen the layer. Scoop the loosened matter out of the way with a shovel.
TIP: If the rubble layer is completely solid, you can use a pickaxe to chip away at the matter until it's loose.
Step 3: Prepare the ground
Once the hole looks deep enough, scoop out any last loose bits of soil from the bottom and try to get it roughly flat. Place your liner in the hole to check you've gone deep enough and keep digging if not.
Remove your pond liner and shovel a layer of sand into the hole. If you're using a hard pond liner, you'll need about an inch of sand in the bottom of the hole.
For a rubber liner, cover the hole very carefully with about two inches of sand to ensure the liner doesn't get pierced by rubble or debris.
TIP: Instead of using sand to line the hole, you can use an piece of old carpet, rubber side up.
Step 4: Level the pond
It is absolutely vital that you get this step right!
Place the liner back in the hole. Rest the piece of timber across the pond lengthwise and place the spirit level on top. If it's not level, adjust the liner and try again.
Rest the timber across the width of the pond and check that it's level that way as well.
Step 5: Fill in the hole
Once the pond is perfectly level, fill in the gaps around the edge of the pond loosely with topsoil from the hole. Fill the pond with water and keep an eye open for wildlife.
TIP: Don't pack the soil tightly around the pond before you fill it with water. It's best to leave the soil loose and let things settle for about a week before then packing it more tightly.