A water garden can be the focal point of your backyard landscape, and you don’t even need a large yard to build one. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t even need pumps or filters to create a natural pond that can host flowers, foliage and fish.
The first thing you need for a water garden is a way to contain the water from draining into the earth. A flexible plastic or rubber liner is an easy-to-work with option. From there, dig a hole as the base of your pond. Be creative with shapes that work with your landscape—the water garden doesn’t need to be round. Try to make the hole at least 16 inches deep so it will not become too hot in warm climates or freeze solid in cool climates. If you don’t want to dig, you can also build a raised water garden using timbers.
Once the hole is finished, lay out the liner. You can use brick or stone edging to create a border for your pool, as well as hold the liner in place. This is when you can add pumps for a fountain if you choose to have one. Once everything is set, add water. You will need to wait a few weeks before adding fish or plants.
Once your water garden is ready, plants you can add include rooted floating plants, like lotus; free floaters, like water clover; emergent plants, like cattails; or submerged plants, like elodea. As far as fish go, goldfish are a good choice, as long as the backyard pond does not freeze hard in winter. Don’t forget to clean by occasionally removing excess algae.
How to build a garden pond: