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Garden water ponds have gained in popularity over the years. Designing and installing your own pond can be exciting, yet knowing how to install it isn’t the only question that you need to answer.
You need to think about where in your yard you want the garden pond be located. It is not good to be under a tree where it will collect leaves and yet sometimes you have no choice.

What size do you want it to be and will that work best in your yard? I have built a couple in my small yard and they never seem big enough.
What design would best suit your yard and home? Formal or natural, I personally like natural.
Will it include a fountain or waterfall, plant life or fish? A natural pond just isn’t natural without fish and plant life.

What type garden pond liner will you get; molded plastic, fiberglass, or a flexible rubber liner? The flexible liners give you the greatest versatility but may take a little more work to install and it is what I’m going to tell you how to do in this article.
Will your pond be compliant with your city’s building code?

After some thoughtful consideration and speaking with your local garden center these questions can be answered and you are ready to get started.

Some general rules
Water garden pond design should work with and compliment the contours of the landscape.
To help insure the size and design truly fits into your yard and the location, complimentary size, and shape is what you want. Mark the outline of the design you have chosen on the ground using a garden hose or rope and leave it there for a bit.

This will let you know whether or not you’ll be happy with the location, also how it might affect the traffic patterns in your yard.

Where can I buy?
Most landscaping centers will have most if not all materials required for backyard pond. There are different types of liners being sold but the higher end, thick mil rubber works best and is well worth the extra money. It is more durable, has a longer life span, harder to puncture, and is easier to install. So let’s get started.

First you need to Prepare the Ground

Ponds with one end shallow or with a shelf for plants and one end deeper, at least 36” if you are going to over winter fish, works best.

 Installing a Garden Pond Remove the sod inside your outline and don’t forget to save any turf removed to fill bare spots in the lawn once the pond is constructed.
• To accommodate the stones for edging the pond, dig a small shelf about 8-inches wide by 2-inches deep around the perimeter of the pond.
Tip: As you dig, keep pond edges (from one side of the pond to the other) level so the liner won’t show. Check this by resting a level on a straight board laid across the pond.
 Installing a Garden Pond Also create a level shelf about 8 to12-inches down from the surface of the ground on the sides of the pond. This will provide a spot for placing some aquatic pond plants to frame the pond.
• Continue digging until you are a little deeper than the total depth you desire to allow for some underlayment under the liner.
• When you have finished digging, make sure you check for and remove any protruding twigs, sharp object or stones that might puncture the liner.

Now you can Install the Liner

Before installation, lay the liner out in the sun to warm for a bit to soften before placement. Also before installing the liner, install ½” or so of underlayment. This could be a layer of damp sand, old carpeting, carpet underpaid or one made specifically for use with flexible pond liners.
Depending upon the size of your pond you may need help installing the liner.

• Fold the liner in half and center it over half of the pond then unfold the second half like making a bed. Smooth the liner out as much as possible but do not pull or stretch in fact leave small wrinkles in the bottom of the pond. This allows the liner to spread once the water gets in it and the soil settles.
 Installing a Garden Pond Be sure and leave a lap of no less than 6-inches over the outside of the pond. Then fold and tuck the liner to fit the contours of the pool as best as possible. Use some bricks or stones to temporarily hold the liner in place.
• Start filling the pool with water readjusting the liner as needed as the pond fills by folding the excess material neatly to fit the contours of the pool again as best as possible. Continue to adjust the liner and bricks as the pond fills until it is full. Note: there is no way to get rid of all wrinkles and folds just fold the excess lining material as neatly and compactly as possible.
• Trim excess liner to leave 6 – 12” of lip on top of the ground using heavy scissors or a utility knife. Then start covering the exposed lip of liner with the stones you are using for the edges around the pond.
• When you install the edging stone it should overhang the pond by 2 to 3-inches. You can use flagstone, brick, cut stone, or other decorative or natural stone for this. Trim the liner one final time then use a little soil in behind the stone to conceal visible liner. Some people like to put one layer of stone under the liner and one on top when using flagstone or flat stone.
Tip: When you first fill the pond, it may start out fairly murky or dirty. To help avoid this, clean out any dirt before filling with water and rinse the stones you use before placement. The murk should settle within a few hours.

Finishing Off

 Installing a Garden Pond Finish off your installation by installing the pump and filter. Most ponds need a pump and filter to not only keep it clean and looking good but also to create the sound of running water which is so soothing and relaxing. When you purchase your pump it needs to correspond to the size of your pond. Select a pump that is rated, at a minimum, to move your pond’s gallon capacity once per hour. Today most of these pumps are submersible pumps. Work both the electrical cord and the recirculating hose in through the stones to disguise it. Then set the pump in the deepest part of your pond.

You pond is now ready to come alive. You can now add any aquatic pond plants like water lilies, hyacinths or others, but it is recommended you wait at least 24 hours before you do this to let all the chemicals leach out of the water, especially if you are using city water. You may want to have a bit of a water fall or a small creak running into you pond. There are many things you can add which will make it look natural and look great. Landscaping and adding plants and shrubs around the pond make it feel at home. The rest is up to you! Now grab a lawn chair, sit back and enjoy the relaxing sights and sounds of your pond!

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