Backyard Ponds: A Slice of Serenity Just Outside Your Door

From planning to purchase to execution, learn how to build serenity right in your backyard.

Moving water has a soothing effect that's good for the soul. It signifies healing, and the sound of trickling water and swimming aquatic life can create a peaceful backdrop in your yard that you will enjoy for years to come. A garden pond does not need to come with a hefty price tag or a professional installer. You can create your DIY backyard pond to fit any budget and yard and enjoy your slice of serenity right outside your door.


Backyard pond with grey rocks and green fenced yard


Backyard ponds can be constructed in just about any type of landscaped yard, scaled to whatever size you’d like, and can be as simple or as elaborate as your vision. You can install a pond in the corner of your yard, next to a patio or deck, or integrate the design into an existing garden setting. You can add rock waterfalls to enjoy the peaceful sound of water trickling while it oxygenates the pond. Oregon State University says, “ponds are a naturally relaxing and scenic addition to your home that can provide interest and enjoyment year round.” Water plants and aquatic life can be added to enhance both the look and the natural environment of the water. Lighting accents, ornamental grasses and flowers, miniature bridges, and other ornamental accents can all add to the design and help build a serene water environment in your yard. 




What You’ll Need to Get Started

To get started, you’ll need to first decide on a location in your yard. You can save on the expense and create a pond on a budget if you get a shovel and do your digging. Then, you’ll need to select a good-quality and durable rubber liner that will keep the water from leaking through to the ground and a filter to keep the water clean and clear. A water agitator will help to keep your water oxygenated, and you can choose from a bubbler, fountain or waterfall depending on what your design preferences are. You’ll need to choose an effective pump system to move your water up through the filter and into your agitator and keep it circulated. Finally, a GFCI outlet, which will prevent electric shock, is what will provide power to the pump.  
According to This Old House, ponds measuring less than six feet long and less than 18 inches deep can easily be tackled as a DIY project. Depending on your level of knowledge, you may still want to consider letting a professional take care of the plumbing and electrical portions of your small pond to be sure these pieces are done safely and correctly. Ponds that are longer than six feet wide are best left to the professional installers due to the amount of digging and other heavy work that they require.  


Stone Pavers for backyard patio pond hardscape with garden landscaping tools gloves level rubber mallet sand gravel tamper


Choosing Your Pond Design

There are several pond designs you can choose from to give you the look that is right for your yard. A natural pond design is made to look like it is an innate part of your landscaping. It is usually edged in natural stones, and its outline does not follow a structured pattern. It often integrates plants that are native to the area you live in to enhance the natural setting. A semi-natural pond is the most popular choice for backyard ponds, and it incorporates a free-form natural design on some sides while following more structured lines on other sides. This type of pond often runs up against hardscape elements such as brick, stone or concrete patios or walkways, and these sides will be less natural and more arranged. Plant life can either be native but the ability to grow in your local climate is the main factor when choosing plants. The third type of pond is a formal style, and this design is constructed around geometric shapes erected from poured concrete or a mortared stone. This is usually an expensive pond design that exhibits interesting fish or offers reflection in a formal garden setting. With any of these pond designs, you can add koi fish, frogs, or other aquatic creatures to make your pond come to life  


Small Artificial Decorative Pond With Rocks And Plants On The Backyard In Summer

Whether you’re installing a pond in the corner of your yard, next to a patio or deck, or integrated into an existing garden setting, you can create a healing, serene environment right outside your backyard that you can enjoy for years. By taking on much of the work yourself, you can not only save on the expense, but you can take pride in this DIY project that will cultivate a peaceful backdrop for your home and a natural habitat for plant and aquatic life to thrive.  


Koi fish swimming in the pond, Colorful koi fish in the pond

DISCLAIMER: Readers proceed at their own risk if they attempt to replicate any activities described here.


Images used with permission, courtesy of and

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