For the longest time, my husband has talked about wanting a pond in our yard. A professional pond job is at least $1000, and we are not the types to pay someone to do something in our yard. And when I say we, I have to admit I am not a garden/yard type, whereas my husband loves it. I enjoy the outdoors, basking in the sun, playing games/sports, barbeques, and eyeing beautiful flowers. I just don’t like the whole maintenance part. So that’s what makes this DIY project that awesome. I had my husband’s help, but because he’s recuperating from a back surgery, I did much of this.
The first thing we did was get a plastic pond tub from Home Depot. We also bought an air filter/fountain, our decorative bottom pond rocks, and pea gravel there. Our pond has goldfish and pond plants, but they are not necessary for a garden pond. If you don’t want fish, an air filter is also not necessary. Altogether, with all the supplies and décor, this project cost us about $100.
(Things we already had that we didn’t have to buy: spray paint, shovel, leveler, sand, faux stone steps, decor)
Step 1: Deciding on Location
We already have a flower bed with a fountain our front yard, so it made sense to put them together. You need to have access to an electrical outlet if you plan to have an air filter with fishies or if you just want a fountain.
Step 2: Trace Your Hole
Step 3: Dig a Hole
Step 4: Place the Pond Tub
Once your hole is deep enough, you can place it in and begin to fill dirt in around it. You also want to be sure your pond is level before you fully add in dirt surrounding the pond. This took a little more digging here and there and re-placing dirt here and there, but eventually we got it. My husband also informed me this is not how I should have used the leveler, and I instead should have placed a board across the middle of the pond and placed the leveler on top. This was good enough for me. Because we had sand bags, which was easier to use to fill in spaces, we used the sand. We also edged the pond with the remaining sand.
Step 5: Before the Water
We took a little drive with the kids out to a store which specifically has water plants, fountains, rock, etc. It was fun to see all the different plants, and the kids had a good time. We picked two plants out. The plant life helps the pond create a self-sustaining environment so that the fish won’t need fish food their whole lives. We added white rock to the bottom to contrast with the black pond. I recommend a not using the color white because the goldfish are really hard to see. My husband went back to Petco a couple days later and got some rock used in aquariums which now allows for us to see the fish better. The filter/fountain is centered in the middle, and the plants are placed on the steps because we don’t want them to be completely submerged.
Step 6: Add the water, add the fish.
At Petco, they recommended we leave the goldfish in their bag for 20 minutes to get used to the temperature of the pond. Once the water is high enough to your liking (be sure to make room for rainfall) you can plug in the filter/fountain. We had to adjust the fountain so that it was at the right depth in the water. We ended up placing a brick underneath because the center was too low for it to fully shoot out.
Step 7: Stones and Decor
At a garage sale last fall, we acquired some fake square stones. They look real enough. We broke them into little pieces (easy to do because they are not real rock or cement) and placed them into the sand. We also brought our fountain up closer to the pond and built in some rock work around the fountain. I imagine we would have spent more money if we had to buy rock. I think a pond could be outlined with other things like shells, gravel, large stones, a mini fence, etc. Just be sure that whatever is around the pond is not something that will easily get blown into it. We finished up with an angel statue and a solar light that shines on the fountain at night.
Step 8: Love it.
A month later, we are still adding to the décor. We filled in the sand areas with pea gravel and added some more flowers. We haven’t had too many fatalities (only 3?) with the goldfish either. This took us two days, but that’s because we did it spontaneously. If we had started off the day knowing we were taking on this project, we could have spent just one day on it. Don’t be afraid of this DIY project; the kids love watching the fish, and I enjoy having a zen spot in the afternoon sunshine.