Tips to Build a Healthy Garden Pond

There’s just something mesmerizing about watching the shimmer of scales as vibrant goldfish flit about lily pads in a clear garden pond. Whether you want to add fish or plants, a manmade pond can add to the bliss and beauty of any yard. Of course, it’s important to properly maintain it year round, but it doesn’t have to be complicated by spending heaps of money or using chemical products. Set up your new pond utilizing rocks , plants and fish that will clean and balance naturally, saving you time. Follow these simple tips to get started.

Location and size:

Choose a smaller sized pond form (you can purchase a used one on websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji) to ease maintenance and to save on electricity with the pump. If you’re pond will be in direct sunlight, invest in a solar powered pump. Be sure to steer clear of trees to avoid disturbing roots.

Follow the rules:

What are the homeowner rules and regulations regarding ponds in your town? How will your neighbors feel about it? Save yourself from bumps down the road by confirming what is and is not allowed. Also consider safety, especially with pets and children.

Choosing plants:

Live pond plants oxygenate the water and filter out naturally occurring organics such as metals, phosphates, nitrates and ammonium. The goal is to create as natural an environment as possible without sacrificing aesthetics. Be wary of types with overbearing, tangled root systems or types that spread quickly. Incorporate these four types to set up a well-balanced, self sufficient environment:

  • Oxygenating pond plants: They grow directly in the water, feeding on organic waste such as leaves or fish waste and giving off oxygen. The abundance of oxygen controls algae growth and allows fish to thrive.
  • Floating pond plants: It’s all about the shade these floating blooms provide, keeping water from overheating and algae from growing too quickly.
  • Deep water plants: Lilies and lotus’ are examples of deep water plants, which are rooted to the ponds floor, growing straight up to the water’s surface.
  • Marginal Water Garden Plants: These water plants offer the same filtration benefits as the other types, except they’re potted. Build a simple shelf inside the pond to stabilize the pots with the plant placed deep enough so that the water only covers the pot by a few inches.

Choosing fish:

After filling your pond with water, let it sit to let the chlorine gas off. Then, add plants. After approximately 3 weeks, you may add fish. Goldfish are the most common choice for smaller ponds, with several species, sizes and colors to choose from. For larger ponds, the koi, an ornamental species of carp, offers an exotic look in a bigger package.


Situate your pond close to the outdoor living area, not tucked into a far, quiet corner of the yard. Guests will get to visit and enjoy the scenery, and close proximity will keep pesky raccoons from turning your beautiful pond into their hot new fishing spot. Have questions or need design ideas? Browse our learning center for ideas!

1 Comment

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