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Build a Gardenpond for Under $100! A "How to" Guide in Five Parts

Photo of my Pond
Photo of my Pond Snake

See Dr. Taylor's Pet Advice & Links, too!

Part 1: Attitude
Part 2: Getting Started
Part 3: The Hard Part
Part 4: Liner Issues
Part 5: Finishing Touches & Maintenance Reports
Gardenpond Troubleshooting and FAQ
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Links You Might Like: // Pond
Just Liners //
Pondkeeper Search Engine
Atlantic Fountains
Van Ness Water Gardens // Maryland Aquatic Nurseries
North Texas Virtual Water Garden Society
Pond Plants
The Water Garden
Chuck's Koi Page
Custom Fountains // Eric's Half-Whiskey Barrel Pond
Jones Fish & Lake Management // Pond Supplies of America
The Pond Doctor // Bob & Bren's Pond Home Page
Anjon Products & Pondliners // Water Gardening
Koi Karnival // Winter in the Pond
Water Gardening
Welcome to My Backyard Pond
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Pond Cam

Part 1: Attitude

  • Although these instructions break many of the traditional laws of pond building, everyone should read a couple of the books that describe pond-building to get an overview. Then, be prepared to use common sense to break the rules. Each book you read has a regional bias that might not suit your particular environment. The books also recommend expensive materials and equipment that are not necessary. Authors often are promoting a particular brand of pond supplies. So, after you have read the books and get a general idea, be prepared to take your own path.
  • The first thing you need to figure out is what you are wanting to accomplish. There are different reasons to have a garden pond. Are you most interested in a decoration for your yard? Or are you trying to create something wild and natural? The following instructions will be mostly helpful for those of you trying to create a little ecosystem in the backyard. I do not try to discourage visits from frogs or snakes or anything except animals with claws that might tear the liner. The first time you see a snake in your pond can be a bit of a shock. At the same time, I have yet to figure out a way to stop them unless I totally remove myself from the goal of a natural state. Once I accepted this, I saw the snakes as a sign that I had indeed created a natural setting.

Back to Beginning

Part 2: Getting Started

  • The next step is the figure out a basic design for the pond. You need to consider location and size. Do you want the pond close to the house so it can been seen from a window or porch? Or, do you want it away from the house? Remember, ponds attract frogs that can make quite a racket at night (but it's a nice racket).
  • One debate about pond location is the question of should your pond be near trees or not. Most books suggest that trees should not be near your pond, especially deciduous trees, because when they loose their leaves, they go right into the pond creating a mess. This is true, however, if you live in a warm to hot climate, trees are very helpful. For examples, in Texas where I live, the pond gets too hot in the summer for the fish to be comfortable. Full sun also leads to full algae! So, here's one of those times you need to figure out what's best for your situation. Frankly, a pond without trees looks unnatural to me.
  • Once location has been determined, how big do you want it? One way to approach this is to start small with a plan for expansion. By designing the pond to have several ponds connected by narrows, you can get one area started and then slowly add to it. A figure eight plan is a good way to start, working on one-half at a time. A long-term plan is important so that you don't end up having to move plants placed around the pond. If you really get into your pond, you will always wish it was even bigger.

Back to Beginning // To Part 3: The Hard Part

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