Having a water feature on your garden can be a real focal point. Ponds are also great for attracting wildlife like the beautiful damselfly and frogs and newts. Whether you opt for a fountain, a traditional pond, or something more elaborate, they all share the same root. The first thing to do is work out whether you think you can put in a pond yourself, or whether it’s worth getting one installed professionally. Read on for our guide to installing a basic pond in your garden.


Lining the pond

You can buy specialist pond liners or you can make use of any watertight container. Things like old baths, or a long-forgotten plastic paddling pool can reduce the cost of building your pond, and make a good way to recycle items that would otherwise be difficult to rehome. If you go for a specialist pond, you can choose from a pre-formed hard shell, or a soft liner.



Decide on the location and size of your pond. Work out if you will be able to see it from your sitting room or from another focal point, and work out if you want a small pond or even a dipping pond that you can swim in. Importantly, make sure your pond is placed in a sheltered but open spot away from any deciduous trees. Aquatic plants needs access to lots of sunlight. If you want to add a pump or fountain, keep in mind that you will need an outdoor electricity supply and so the pond placement should take this into account.



Mark everything out and get digging. Make sure one side of the pond has a gentle sloping side so that any wildlife that falls in accidentally can climb out again easily, like the humble hedgehog who enjoys a spot of night swimming. If you’re using a flexible liner, work out the depth you want and build in some ledges around the edge to add interest. If you opted for a hard shell liner, keep checking the depth and size as you go until you get the perfect fit.



Line the bottom of your pond with builder’s sand and washed pebbles – this is really important to avoid introducing any contaminants into your pond environment. The sand and pebbles will provide anchor points for any plants, and will be the perfect insect habitat too. You can place larger rocks at this point too for interest and hiding places for fish and insects.



Always use rainwater as tap water has chemicals in it that will be harmful to pond life. As you fill, keep tugging the lining upward and then once you’re happy with the depth, curve the excess lining over the edges and weigh down with paving or turf for a natural finish.



Once your pond is full and all lining is trimmed and protected from sunlight, add your plants. Plants are a vital part of a pond ecosystem as they oxygenate the water. What you plant depends on the depth of water for example, bog plants for the edges of your pond, and deep water oxygenators for the centre. Make sure you do a little background reading to get the right plant for the job.


Job done

Once you’ve got your pond all up and running, wait about six weeks for the ecosystem to form properly before you introduce any fish.


Don’t forget, if your garden has open access or young children often visit you, you must make sure your pond is safe. You can do this by either sectioning off the area, or installing a hard safety mesh over the top of your pond.


Once everything is in place, you can sit back and relax and watch the fascinating underwater world of your pond come to life.