Slide show of a pond being built

​Digging the hole

  • Outline the shape of the pond using rope, a hose or spray paint before digging to make sure the pond fits in the desired location.   

  • Your pond should be at least four feet deep. This will keep the water temperature from making a huge temperature swing which is is dangerous to koi and goldfish in the summer and winter. It also gives enough depth for koi to swim in a more vertical manner which will help to keep them long and lean. Shallow the water will make them fatter, more stressed and more vulnerable to health problems.

  • When digging the hole or making the shape of the pond  keep in mind that the walls of the pond will greatly influence how algae grows in the pond. Straight walled ponds have less algae problems than sloped wall ponds. Straight walls will also give the appearance of a larger and deeper pond.   

  • The bottom of your pond should be sloped (about 7°) so that all the sludge and organics at the bottom of the pond will slide to a corner of the pond. This makes keeping the pond clean easier.   

  • You do not have to use rocks all the way down the side walls of the pond. The rocks will be covered with algae and after spending so much money and time it serve as a frustration point for you. Use rocks as a toping on the liner by placing them just above the water line. If you must have water contact with the rocks keep it to a minimal depth. Do not use sandstone or limestone. Sandstone will fall apart during the winter when exposed to water and limestone will contribute to pH increases.​

  • If you are using primary water from your garden hose, do not put a bunch of fish in right away. There is chlorine in the water that needs to be removed. Chlorine will burn the gills of the fish and they will suffocate.

  • If you are using secondary water, do not forget it contains storm water runoff from what ever is upstream; neighborhoods, farms etc. The water could contain many chemicals which are detrimental to pond life. Avoid filling your pond immediately after storms and early in the spring as these are times when contaminates are at their highest.


Ponds are made from all sorts of things. From whiskey barrels to water troughs to bathtubs to a hole in the ground. There are many ways to make them watertight from concrete to fiberglass to liners to prefabrication. No one type is better or worse than another. There are advantages and disadvantages of each. Here are a few helpful hints or tips on how to create a successful pond. 

Pond placement 

  • The placement of the pond is the most important part of ponding. A pond placed in full sunshine will have more algae problems than a pond in the shade and less oxygen for the fish in the summer, but a pond in the shade will not have good plant or fish growth. What do you do?   

  • Choose a spot where the pond will get morning sun and up to 6 hours of sun each day. If you are going to have a waterfall it should ideally face north or northeastward. If it must face south or west plant a tree that will shade the falls in the afternoon through evening. Otherwise the falls will constantly be covered in algae.   

  • Do not place the pond in the lowest part of the yard. Runoff will carry pesticides, fertilizers and other undesirable chemicals into the pond that will kill the fish and plants.   

  • When placing ponds under trees realize you may encounter roots. Cutting these roots may kill the tree if the roots are large enough. It is best to put trees in after you dig the hole for your pond. You will end up with an above ground pond or partially above ground pond if the roots are shallow which makes the pond more expensive to make.   

  • The pond must be level right to left and front to back if you want it to have a nice appearing pond. An unleveled pond will put the lip of the pond substantially above the water line and the other end will be flooding over constantly.