Build your own backyard fish pond

How to DIY my Fish Pond

Build Your Own Backyard Fish Pond-a-pond-fish
A Pond Fish

One special feature of landscape and gardening is adding a fish pond to brighten up and bringing life to that garden area. A few years ago I worked as a foreman taking care of a two-acre property and one of my delights in working on this property was the fish pond.

At times both my co-workers and I would visit this pond and watch as these beautiful fish along with turtles swim gracefully back and forth, seeming to enjoy those long cool summer days. We were also given the responsibility to make sure that they were well fed.

The fish and turtles seemed to be trained.  When feeding time came they would all come to the surface of the water with mouths wide open in anticipation. The turtles would not only come to the surface but they would stick their heads up out of the water as if to say ‘what are you waiting on? Throw the food down, feed us’. Their diet consisted of bread and fruits. The fruits we fed them with were called ‘star fruit’.

Relax and enjoy

Having a fish pond can be both relaxing and enjoyable to watch. It is said that persons who are under the care of doctors where they need to relax and relieve stress are advised to purchase a fish aquarium and watch as the fish swim gracefully back and forth as a form of therapy. It is amazing how this relaxes the mind and brings healing.

So we see that having a fish pond serves many benefits. It can be for beauty, for health reasons and a fish pond can be lots of fun for kids.

Next, in this article, we will be looking at how to build a backyard fish pond.

Tools you will need

  1. Wheelbarrow, 2. Garden hose or a piece of rope that could be anywhere from 8-10 feet (it can be longer or shorter depending on the size pond you desire) 3. Level, 4. Rake, 5. Square, 6. Spade,  7. Round mouth shovel, 8. Measuring tape, 9. Spray paint or chalk, 10. A plank of wood, 11. scissors


The location is so important. Choose a location that gets partial sun. Installing a fish pond in any type of area, let’s say under a tree that drops a lot of leaves can cause your pond to become dirty and soggy.

Build your own backyard fish pond

Are you ready? Here are the steps to follow

1. After you have chosen the location, use the rope or garden hose and shape how you desire your pond to look. Whether triangular, square, rectangular, round, or whatever your desire is, make that shape with the hose or rope.

2. Using chalk or spray paint, mark around the edge of the hose or rope.

3. Remove the hose or rope, the mark that you traced out should be the same size and shape as the hose or rope.

4. With the spade shovel begin to dig that same area that you marked, making sure to follow the pattern or design as you remove the soil.

5. Dig the hole to the desired depth, for example, the hole can either be 3-4 feet deep or larger. Use a measuring tape to measure the depth of the hole. You will need to use a level to make sure that the pond is level on all sides. A plank of wood with a straight edge can also help you to determine this.

Pond fish-build-a-back-yard-fish-pond
Duck and pond fish

6. Place skimmer in the corner of the pond. The top of the skimmer should be at ground level. Use a level to ensure this is done correctly. The purpose of a pond skimmer is to remove debris that falls into the pond. It also helps keep the pond clean.

7. Next, place underlayment in the hole, and with scissors cut the layment to cover the entire bottom of the pond. Place rubber liner in the hole, leaving sufficient liner on the outer edge of the hole. This extra liner that you leave at the edges of the pond will ensure that the liner in the pond stays in place.

8. Use silicone and go around the skimmer. Before attaching the rubber liner to the skimmer, make sure that the liner is firm. If there is any wrinkle or extra play in the liner expect to have a leak that spells trouble. Now attach a rubber liner to the skimmer. Then attach your faceplate and bolt it down. Next, remove the liner from the faceplate by cutting the liner away.

9. Use a few rocks, placing them strategically around the edges of the pond to help keep the liner in place and also to hide the skimmer. Remember to leave the faceplate open. This area should not be blocked by rocks.  According to the size of your pond place rocks edge to edge going around the entire pond. These rocks will not only hold the liner in place but will give the pond a natural look.

10. Next is the installation of the pump. The job of a pond pump is to circulate water throughout the entire pond. Make sure that you choose the right size pump because pumps have a huge demand ensuring that water flows correctly, so choose the right pump. If you are not sure you can always talk it over with your salesperson during the purchase.

Allow water to run in the pond until the bottom is covered, then place the pump at the bottom of the pond. In order to send water to the filter attach hoses to the pump.

11. Place filter box in a container, the container can be hidden with plants, rocks, or using small logs to give the pond area a more natural look. The container is to be placed on the side of the pond. Give a good space or distance between the filter and the pump.

The wire is connected to the power source by running wires through a PVC pipe underground from the filter to the power source. Followed by connecting both the inlet and the outlet hoses. Make sure to use hose clamps as you make the connection. These hoses can be hidden out of sight by using plants or rocks.

The fun part

Now add plants and fish to your pond and enjoy. Above is a photo of water lilies. To learn how to install water lilies in your fish pond follow this link, installing water lilies. With that said, let’s get started on that fish pond.


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About the author

+ posts

Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.

35 thoughts on “Build your own backyard fish pond”

  1. Hey Norman
    I love the idea of including turtles in a fish pond.
    We have quite a number of birds where we live that will pose a threat to the fish, especially the newly spawned. Any suggestions on how to protect them?
    A hotel nearby has crisscrossed wire and fishing line over the pond to prevent kingfishers from dive bombing their koi but the effect detracts from the beauty of the pond.

    • Hello Keith it is so good to meet you, I know that birds can a big problem but what you can do is to install motion detector sprinklers which comes on and scares away the bird. This is a good method that has proven to be effective. Hope this helps and if you need help with anyting else please give me a shout, all the best to you and have a good day.

  2. Wow, this is a great idea to brighten up any backyard!! I have always liked the idea of having something like this or some type of waterfall in my back yard, but have never lived in a place where it was possible. Great explanation of the tools needed and the process. Definitely something I want to try in the future!!

    • Hello Emily it is so great to meet you, I am glad that I could help and having a fish pond can really add that touch of class to a garden area. All the best to you with your pond project, if I can help you with anything else please let me know and have a good day.

  3. Hey Norman.
    Fantastic idea especially for those who own plots with massive backyards. Was looking for several ideas and this one never even crossed my mind.
    Seen several office buildings with this before but never knew how much work goes into maintaining this sort of idea. But it really adds value to scenery.
    Love the fact that you even added the links for pump and additional accessories beautiful job.
    Bookmarking this one definitely going to consider this one on my next backyard upgrade.

    • Hello Naeem it is so good to meet you , I am glad that I could help. A back yard fish pond can really work wonders especially if you have a garden area where you can work in a fish pond. Glad I could help all the best to you and have a good day.

  4. Thanks for the article Norman. I used to have a 100 gallon but always wanted to take my fish hobby to the next level in terms of size. I was wondering since I would probably sell my current setup to create this, would I be able to transfer my current Oscar fish to an outdoor setup such as this?

    • Hello again Devin, now when it comes to the Oscar fish I want to give you the best possible answer. Oscar fish loves clean warm water. The water temperature should be around 77 Fahrenheit, now doing the winter months the water can become very cold and of course put you fish life at risk. As long as the water stays warm your fish will be fine. Installing a pond heater will go along way insuring the health of your fish. Hope this helps all the best to you and have a good day and feel free to contact me if you need my help.

  5. Omg!!! I have Got to try this!!! I have always dreamed of making my own backyard pond. I’m so glad that I found this site! You make the building process look so easy, in fact with These instructions, product Guide and all of this fantastic information, I’m urethane to at least be starting this project in the Spring, have it ready right on time for Summer and all the seasons afterwards. Awesome!!! Thank you so much!!! 🙂

    • Hello it is so good to meet you, I am truly glad that I could help. Adding a fish pond do work wonders, wishing you all the best with this project and If you need my help just give me a shout. All the best to you my dare lady and have a good day.

      • Thank you Norman, it’s been one year since I’ve commented on this post and I am so glad that I am able to be reminded of this amazing landscaping activity. I still would live to try it ine day. I a m so grateful to you for sharing your ideas!

  6. Your site is incredible! I have always been envious of people who have backyard ponds and had no idea how they went about installing them. I was under the assumption that you would have to hire an expensive company in order to make it look professional. Thanks for detailing the process, I am very interested and will talk to my family to see if this is something to pursue. Thank you so much!

    • Hello Amanda it is so good to meet you and I am glad that I could help, thanks for those kind words, I am wishing you all the best with your pond project, trust me it is a fun project both for you and your family. Let me know how it goes and if ever you need my help in the future please give me a shout. All the best to you my dare lady and have a good day.

  7. Thanks for this, very informative. I am considering putting a fish pond in my back garden so good to read this to see how to make one.

    I was wondering, are there particular types of fish that are best suited for a pond? Do you need to have a sunny climate to have a pond? I ask as it rains quite a lot where I live.

    • Hello Colm it is so good to meet you and I am glad that I could help. Here are some names of fish that you can use for you fish pond. Goldfish, Golden Orfes, Kio Craps, Sunfish and Sturgeon. These are just a few of many. You can always visit your local pet store for more on names of pond fish.Heavy rain can wash organic material such as grass clippings and leaves into the water, as the organic material begins to decompose their will,be a demand for oxgen in your pond, when this happens the supply of oxgen that is needed will not be met, If you can take care of these problems like making sure to keep organic material out of your pond area then there is a chance that you can have success. Hope this helps, all the best to you and your pond project.

  8. Hello Norman

    Those images of fish and water plants look so calming.
    I can just imagine how nice it would be to take care of these fish and turtles.

    You mentioned that we can dig down 3 to 4 feet. Is there a guide on how deep a pond needs to be in more northern areas?
    I live in Canada and the frost line in our area goes down to 4 feet, so I’m thinking it will need to be deeper than that. I know it is possible to have fish here but not sure on the type and how deep to make the pond.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Nice site, keep up the awesome work.

    • Hello Paul it is so good to meet you and I Know that it can get pretty cold in Canda, any pond that is larger than 3 feet you should check with the rules and regualtion as to how to go about this to make sure that you are in keeping with the codes, And as far as fish is concern I would go with Koi fish. Hope this helps. Best of wishes with your pond project and please let me know how it goes. Also you may want to install a pond heater to keep the water at the right temperature.

  9. How does it do in the winter? I am mid latitudes so it doesn’t get too cold but it would definitely freeze for part of the winter. Would I need to add some heating? I am thinking a upper an lower pond on a slop in the backyard.
    Neighbor had a water feature and one day a rather bedraggled looking Heron showed up and seem to real appreciated it.

    • Hello Leroy it is so good to meet you, The problem is in the winter the water can become so cold causing the fish to die. What you can do is to get a pond heater install, this should help. In the case of birds you can always install a motion dectactor sprinkler system so when the bird comes close it turns on and scares them away. Hope this helps, all the best to you and have a good day.

  10. I think your site is amazing to explore. It’s funny was just thinking about setting one of these up, It depends on where I move next. Do you know any good sources for Fancy Goldfish? I have done hydroponics before, so it shouldn’t be hard for me. I’m also listed as a local contractor, and I may use your site later to get a list and a refresher. I love the pics!!! The fishies are so CUTE!!

    • Hello Eddie it is so good to meet you, and thanks fro those kind words. If I understand your question, you are looking for goldfish suppliers. If that is the case then you can try Hope this help and that I got it right. All the best to you and have a good day.

  11. Hi, Norman. We moved to our newly renovated house about a year back. Fish pond and water fountain were part of the list of things to have for the new home. I had to scrap it partly due to installation and maintenance cost. If only I bumped into your article earlier, it might have changed my mind!
    What type of pump and filtering system are you using and how’s the maintenance cost?

    • Hello wagreatstuff it is so good to meet you, first of all the maintenance cost of a fish pond varies depending on the size of pond and the extend to which the maintenance work goes on, on a monthly basis. Wether you decide to have your pond clean once or twice a month can also effect cost. What you can do is determine the size pond that you want and fine out from cleanning contractors on monthly fees, this should give you and idea and I would go with the AEO 12V-24V Pump and the GOPLUS Pond Pressure Bio Filter 4000GAL. Hope this helps. All the best with your pond project and please let me know how it goes. Have a good day.

  12. Love this site,
    I have just started a garden with a few vegies and herbs and noticed something is starting to nibble at my basil leaves, nothing else! I thought that you may have an idea of what it could be. Your site is so full of wonderful helpful information. Your DIY fish pond is fantastic. I will be bookmarking Eden’s Garden for all sorts of useful references. Another question: Would you happen to know a really good way to get rid of mosquitoes,without harming the garden plants?

    • Hello Kerryanne it is so good to meet you, it is amazing how unwanted guess just seems to show up at our door step waningt to help themeselve to our price harvest. Their are a few pest that do feed on basil such as slugs, snails, spider mites, whiteflies, aphids and a few others. Here is a link to one of my pages that talks about pest control . and as for mosquitoes make sure that there is no containers in the garden area that can collect water, always keep the garden weed free because mosquitoes love to rest on weeds or you can install a few mosquitoe repellant plants around your garden like citronella. Hope this helps. all the best to you and have a good day.

  13. I love the idea of adding a pond to landscaping. You really made it sound so simple and easy. My husband and I have been looking at houses, I will definitely bring up the pond idea to him when considering yard size. Speaking of size, are there certain pond sizes you would recommend for different uses? Thanks!

    • Hello Damron it is so good to meet you, adding a pond can reallly add that touch of class to your garden area. When it comes to size it depends on the amount of space you have to work with and and the over all desgin of your pond. Hope I answered your question, and if not then please feel free and give me a shout I will help you where I can. All the best to you and your husband with your pond project.

  14. What a great way to use the area in my backyard that is unused. I think a fish bond would be the perfect addition! I have been looking for something to add that would be both relaxing and enjoyable to look at. I have woods right behind my house and sometimes I see racoons and other wild animals coming from them, is there anything you can suggest to protect the fish from them?

    • Hello again Guy good to meet you as always, Having a backyard fish pond can add a touch of class and liven up that garden area. You can do 2 things to protect your fish, either place a protective fence around your pond or install a motion dectator sprinkler system. When your uninvited guess comes the sprinklers comes on and scares them away. The motion dectator may be more effective in this case. Hope this helps all the best to you and give me a shout if you ever need my help, Wishing you the best of success with your fish pond and please do let me know how it goes.

  15. This is a lovely post and the thought of having a backyard fish pond sounds wonderful. It would be nice to sit quietly beside your pond and just relax. Watching fish can be very relaxing cant it? The only thing I would worry about is small children wandering into my yard and getting drowned in the pond. Is there a way to put a protective mesh over the water to prevent this?

    • Hello Margaret it is so nice to meet you, and I know what you are talking about. In this article that I have written I will go back and talk about child saftey. There are child saftey equipements like fences, gates that you can buy to keep children out of your pond.I am glad that you enjoyed my post all the best to you my dare lady and have a good evening.

  16. Hi Norman,

    Very nice article!
    I always thought that fishes have something relaxing and in fact, I wanted to have an aquarium at home, but I never did because of the lack of space. I have a backyard and to tell you the truth I ‘ve never thought of building my own fish pond. The steps seem to be easy to follow and the material does is not expensive!
    Quick question, please. Is the backyard fish pond will attract mosquitos? I’ve heard that mosquitoes love fish eggs and water:) If so, what to do to repel them?

    Thank you for this informative post!

    • Hello Daniella it is so good to meet you, adding a fish pond can work wonders for that garden area. What you can do to take care of your mosquitos problem is make sure that there is no open containers around your garden area that can collect water, second make sure garden areas is weed free because mosquitos love to rest on weeds and thirdly add mosquito repelling plants around the pond area such as Marigolds, Lemon Balm, Rosemay is and excllent herb for giving great flavors to foods and it can also repel mosquitos, so you have the best of both world with this plant, repelling mosquitos and using it to flavor your foods, Citronella, Garlic which is a herb that flavors food, Lavender and Basil that is also a herb and a mosquitoe repellent. These are just a few you can try. Hope this helps all the best to you and have a good day. And if I can ever be of futher help please give me a shout, I will be more than happy to help.

  17. Hi Norman,

    Thanks for your post. I love ponds in gardens, principally when they look natural. Unfortunately our backyard is not bug enough, but otherwise I would definitely try this out.

    I never realized making a pond in your garden was so easy to do. You write in a very enthusiastic, inspiring way. I’ll bookmark your site, and will definitely come back for more.

    • Hello again and thanks a lot for those very kind words. There are ponds that come already made, these ponds are of different sizes. You just buy the frame dig a hole in the ground according to frame shape and place in hole along with other parts that comes with it. The whole set up comes with instruction and you can set up in a matter of 2-3 hours depending on how fast you work. You can check you garden centre or home depot . Hope this helps all the best to you and have a good day.


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