Before You Begin:
You do need to do some homework
and calculations before you begin.
You know you have a liner of a given size. In
my case, 12 x 17. However, you must
remember that some of that liner will
be used going up and down the SIDES of the pond
so you must subtract that from the
overall length and width of your pond. The deeper your
pond, the more liner is
used going vertically up and down the sides of the pond. Also, you
liner to extent about 1 foot past the edge of the hole that you dig for the
This not only helps to anchor the liner, it helps water run into the pond
when it rains.
It is recommended to build a little burm, or raised area
around your pond to help control
the amount of water running in, or out, of your
pond in heavy rain. This extra few inches
must also be calculated into your
liner dimensions. If I have confused you, the instructions
that come with a pond
kit explain how to calculate the dimensions and you can also find
information at several web sites.
You will want to build a little
shelf around the inside edge of pond for setting water plants
on. I decided to
build this shelf all the around the inside of my pond and to vary the depth
the shelf from 11 to 18 to accommodate different types of plants. The
shelf is 12 wide
all of the way around.
You also need to decide on the
depth of the pond. If you plan to have fish (which I highly
recommend), and you
live in an area with cold winters, you will need to make at least part
pond at least 30 deep. This will allow your fish go down deep enough so
winter even if the pond freezes over. Yes, your fish will survive
the winter with some help.
More about that later.
READ. There is a lot of very good
information available in books and on the Internet about
how big, and how deep
you make your pond and how to calculate how many fish a pond of
a given size and
depth will support. One of my favorite Web sites for information and
www.pondsonline.com . Remember, you
dont have to make the pond a uniform
depth or width.
I spent a considerable amount of
time planning, drawing and calculating. It was time well
spent. When I finally
put my plan into action, it worked out perfectly. I really stress that you
to take the time to figure out your size, shape, and depth and make sure your
big enough before you begin digging.
Here are the basic dimensions that
I came up with to make the most use of my 12 x 17
As you can see, I decided to make
half of my pond deeper but narrower, and the other half
not as deep but wider.
This gave me a nice shape and a deep pool for fish to winter-over.
I also wanted
a waterfall so I planned to put it at the wider, shallower end of the pond.
allowed room to stack rocks to make my waterfall.
Here in Louisville, Kentucky, our
winters are not too severe so I designed a portion of my
42 long, 36 wide, and 30 deep for the fish to spend the winter.
other half of the pond is approximately 66 long, 57 wide, and 21 deep.
IMPORTANT: You will need to dig a
second narrow and shallow shelf around the pond if you
plan to line the edge of
you pond with rocks or paving stones as I did (see drawing).
This helps to
anchor AND hide your liner. I edged my pond with square cut granite blocks set
at a depth that allowed the water level to go about halfway up the stones and
the top of the
stones would be even with the top of my burm.
Location: There are a couple of
things to consider about the location of your pond.
A pond that is in full sun
will grow more algae than one that is in the shade. This can be
water lilies, good filtration, and other methods. I had several water hyacinth
last year and noticed that mine did not grow nearly as big as ones that were in
However, I had more blooms on my water lilies than those in shady
ponds. Water lilies also
help to control algae by providing shade to the bottom
of the pond. If you put your pond near
a tree for the shade, you will have to
deal with leaves and twigs getting into it.
If you are in a suburban area as I am, your pond should be in a fenced-in yard.
You must be
extremely careful if you, or your neighbors, have small children. A
child can drown in just a
few inches of water and a pond, especially one with
pretty flowers or fish, is a natural
attraction for children.
I dont see any special hazard
posed to pets as dogs and cats seem to have no problem
around ponds. I have had
a couple of birds and an opossum drown in my pond.
You should also be aware that I
have been told that in some areas, your homeowners and/or
liability rates may go
up. I cant verify this but you may want to ask your insurance company.
tend to use any excuse to raise rates.
OK. Now that all of the
responsible stuff is out of the way, lets get started!