You’re a capable do-it-yourselfer who can find the pointy end of a shovel.
You’re not afraid to get dirt under your fingernails.
And now you want a pond.
How hard could it be?
Building your own pond takes lots of sweat, time and sore muscles – but you can absolutely do it yourself. Here are a few steps to take early on in the process:
1. Think about where you want your pond
Lots of people who come to us wanting to build their own ponds do so with a specific spot in mind – often a bare corner in their backyard, maybe once occupied by a forlorn shed or playset. A space like that can work, but ask yourself: How far away do you want your pond to be from where you spend your time?
For many pond owners, hearing a trickling waterfall and watching koi swim are more than half the joy of having a pond. Do you really want your pond far from your house where you can’t hear or see it from your back window? Maybe you do, but it’s worth thinking about.
You might also wonder if you can build your pond in full shade, full sun or somewhere in between. Pond life – if you plan carefully and pick the right plants and fish – can usually find a way to handle any level of shade or sun.
After you pick a spot, take lots of photos of the area. You’ll need them later.
2. Learn about pond ecosystems
Ponds are more than holes in the ground filled with water. They are living ecosystems, filled with fish, plants, bacteria and all other kinds of critters – many of which are too small to see.
A poorly designed pond throws off the balance of this ecosystem, causing issues like green water, algae, sick fish and mosquitos.
3. Consider starting with a kit
A pond lined with recycled-carpet underlayment and filtered through a Rubbermaid container might hold water for a little, but it won’t last long or give your fish friends a place where they can thrive.
We recommend starting with a pond kit that comes with high-quality materials meant specifically for ponds. Splash Supply Company sells Aquascape DIY Pond Kits, which include most of the essentials you need to get started: usually a skimmer, pumps, plumbing, biofilter, underlayment, rubber liner, silicone, waterfall foam and other basics. (They do not include rocks, fish or plants – all of which are crucial to your pond’s ecosystem.) Kits also include an instruction manual and links to helpful videos – plus free delivery to your build site from Splash if you live in southcentral Pennsylvania or northern Maryland.
But you want to save money. Trust us; using a kit still costs a lot less than the $6,000+ you would pay to have a professional do the work. If built correctly, using a professional-grade kit will also save you money in repairs throughout the life of the pond.
DIY Pond Kits start at around $999 for an 8-by-8-foot pond, not including rocks and gravel. Our next-largest kit – 8-by-11-foot – starts at around $1,100, with costs increasing from there depending on the size of your space. By the time you add in a few underwater lights, some pond plants like beautiful waterlilies and a few fish, you could expect to budget between $1,500 and $2,000 for a nice entry-level pond (about 100 to 200 square feet).
Check out the video below to see a DIY kit in action (depending on your space, you likely won’t follow each step exactly as described).
4. Talk to a professional
Building a pond by yourself doesn’t mean you’re on your own.
If you buy a pond kit from Splash Supply Company, we’ll talk about your exact hopes and expectations for your backyard oasis. All those pictures you took of your yard will come in handy here. We’ll also likely swap out pieces from the kit (i.e. if you need a different-sized liner) and go through the instruction manual step-by-step, crossing out and changing instructions as necessary. If you find yourself stuck during the build process or have a question, we’re always just a phone call or visit away.
We also have a full line-up of free pond classes where you can start building up your library of pond knowledge (there’s even free donuts!)