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How to set up backyard ponds

Updated February 21, 2017

Backyard ponds are natural-looking landscape additions that can be stocked with fish and turtles or just enjoyed for their simple tranquillity. Deluxe pond pump kits are available to circulate pond water or to create miniature waterfalls or fountains. Most backyard ponds start with a hole in the ground, a plastic liner and a fibreglass insert. The dimensions of the hole that you dig depend on the shape and depth of the purchased fibreglass pond insert.

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  1. Measure the length, width (or diameter) and depth of the fibreglass pond insert if the fibreglass insert is not accompanied by an information brochure or spec sheet that details these measurements for you. Position the pond insert on the ground in the backyard where you wish to install it. Use chalk or spray paint to outline the pond.

  2. Dig the soil from within the outline. Stop periodically to measure the depth of the hole you've dug. Dig until you reach the depth of the deepest part of the fibreglass pond insert. If you dig too much, don't panic: Just use dirt you've previously removed to fill in the section that has been over-dug.

  3. Stand in the hole and use your feet to stamp the soil flat so there are no bumps or uneven areas to cause the pond insert to bulge or rest awkwardly.

  4. Insert the fibreglass pond liner into the hole in your backyard. There will be gaps along the sides. There may be a lot of room along the sides. Place a garden hose into the pond liner and begin filling the pond with water.

  5. Fill in the gaps around the pond liner with soil or sand. Push the soil or sand down with your heel or shovel to pack it around the fibreglass insert.

  6. Fill the pond liner with water completely. Turn off the water. Wait 24 hours for the soil to settle beneath the pond.

  7. Add more soil or sand to the areas around the pond liner edges that have settled and are now lower than the liner. Water the soil around the liner, leaving it to settle overnight again.

  8. Add more soil or sand once again to any areas that have settled significantly lower than the edges of the fibreglass pond insert in your backyard.

  9. Place sod or stones over and around the edges of the pond liner to secure the liner edges to the ground. Beautify however you desire.

  10. Warning

    Always contact your utility companies before you dig to make sure you don't rupture any gas lines or interfere with cables. Pumps should be installed according to the instructions in the pump packaging. Follow the instructions while adding the pump during the pond insert installation stages to avoid injury from electrocution or pump damage.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Fibreglass pond insert
  • Chalk or spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Garden hose
  • Soil or sand
  • Sod or stones

About the Author

Louise Harding

Louise Harding holds a B.A. in English language arts and is a licensed teacher. Harding is a professional fiction writer. She is mother to four children, two adopted internationally, and has had small businesses involving sewing and crafting for children and the home. Harding's frugal domestic skills help readers save money around the home.

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