Get Started

Lay out your pond outline. Here’s a neat little trick. Take a rope or a garden hose and measure it to the outside dimensions of your liner. Don’t forget to allow for going down the sides of the pond and subtract that from your liner size. Take you measured rope (or hose) and lay it on the ground and use it to determine the location and shape of your pond. This allows you to experiment with the shape before you begin to dig. It also helps to make sure you have enough room around your pond for plants, walkways or whatever. 

Step Two – Get Your Act Together 

Get all of the materials and tools that you will need for the project.

  1. Your pond kit or a liner. Liners of almost any size can be purchased separately at home and pond supply stores or ordered over the Internet.
  2. Padding. You will need to put some kind of padding UNDER the liner to keep rocks, sticks, and roots from poking a hole in it. You can buy special padding designed for this purpose or use scrap carpet or even cardboard. I chose to use some old carpeting that I had laying around and then bought some more carpet remnants and scraps.
  3. Sand. Get yourself a bunch of sand to put under the padding for additional padding. It also helps to contour your shape and it’s great to put under rocks and pavers to hold them in place.
  4. Shovels, picks, spades. Get a hatchet, saw or an axe to deal with roots that you may encounter when you dig.
  5. Wheelbarrow. Hint: Don’t move the dirt you dig out too far from the pond (like I did). You will just end up hauling all back to make your “burm” around the pond and landscaping.
  6. Rocks and/or paving stones. You can stack rocks to make a waterfall (flat creek stones are great for this). You can line the inside edge of the pond with stones for appearance and support (People will always be walking right up to the edge to look at your pond. The stones help to give a stable surface to stand on and keep dirt from crumbing into the pond.) You may want to make a walkway around the pond. I used 12” square brick paving stones for the walkway.

Lesson 3: ROCKS ARE EXPENSIVE! (and heavy)
Especially the pretty ones. I went to a local nursery that sells a great variety of rocks of all sizes, shapes, textures, and colors for landscaping. I was shocked to see prices of $.50 to over $2.00 per pound! Pounds add up real quick when you’re dealing with rocks.

I bought about 20 larger, pretty rocks for my waterfall. I used about 70 square pink granite rough cut stones about 7” x 10” to line the inside edge of the pond. They were expensive but I really like the look of the granite at the water line. I bought 12” square brick pavers to make a walkway around the pond. I picked up a few more pretty rocks to scatter about the garden around the pond.

Altogether, I spent about $300 on rocks! And that was with a discount from a friend who ran the nursery! This was the biggest single expense of the project.

A friend knew someone who had a large piece of land with a creek running through it. He allowed him take a whole truckload of creek stone out of there for free when he built his pond. Something to think about.

Hint: Get your rocks a few days before you begin digging. Moving rocks is back-breaking work. You will need to rest up before you begin digging. In my case, I had to carry the rocks from storage bins to a scale, then load them into my truck, then unload them from my truck at home, and then carry them to the area of the pond. I’m glad that I didn’t plan to dig the pond the next day.

One more note about rocks: I did experience considerable growth of 'string algae" late in my fist year of my pond. I found that the algae was attached to the rocks around the edge of my pond and not to the liner. Based on this, one might assume that the more rocks you have in the water, the more surface you have to grow string algae. 

Next: Dig In


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