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DIY Small Garden Pond with Simple Instructions

I love water features in the garden. The sound of trickling water just adds an extra dose of peace and tranquility to the garden. Today I’m sharing a sweet backyard water feature from our former home and some simple instructions for building your own small garden pond.

Small DIY Garden Pond

We’ve contemplated adding some type of waterfall, brook or pond to our new yard, but so far we’re just keeping up with the makeover projects. Perhaps someday we will. In the meantime, my little fountains will have to do. In case, you’re new to Gingham Gardens, take a few minutes and check out a few of our garden makeovers – Garden Makeover #1 and Garden Makeover #2.

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Small Garden Pond Supplies:

Pond Liner
Tubing (to connect the pump to a water feature, or to create a water fall effect)
Water Feature or Spitter
Rocks – field stones and river rock
Sand (optional to level)

DIY Small Garden Pond

Steps for Building A Small Pond:

Choose a location. You’ll need to consider electrical access when choosing your location.

Decide on the shape of your pond. If you use a preformed pond liner, that will determine the shape and size of hole you will dig. We choose not to go with a preformed pond liner, because we had heard from others that they would crack or pop out of the ground in the winter from freezing. We used a a heavy duty pond liner that worked really well and lasted several years.

Now it’s time to dig. Don’t make your pond to shallow because the water will evaporate quickly. Also, you’ll have a problem with algae if it’s in a sunny location. Think about creating some ledges if you want to add water plants.

Once the hole is dug and you’re happy with the overall shape, spread your liner. Getting as many wrinkles out as possible. Pull the liner up over the ledge of your pond hole, so when you add water, the weight of it doesn’t pull your liner down into the hole.

Once the pond liner is spread and you have a good amount up over the edges. You can add water now, to make sure everything is exactly how you want it, or you can wait.

Next we added lots and lots of field stones and river rock to the bottom and sides of our pond. We loved the look. The added work, not so much, but it was totally worth it and looked more natural than a black liner. If you have problems with the field stones slipping, use some landscape adhesive or E6000.

Put the pump in place when the rocks are almost complete, so you can hide the cords and hoses with the rocks. We used a pond plant basket upside down over the filter, cutting notches out for the cords, and then placed a rock on top to help hide the pump. Add any tubing for waterfalls or fountains at this point as well.

I tried fish one summer, but they only lasted about a week before some birdie ate them. Fish poop also makes the pond dirty.

DIY Small Garden Pond

Small Garden Pond Upkeep:

I would highly recommend using a pond clarifier and algaecide that’s safe for fish, birds and wildlife. There’s also a product called barley straw, but our pond was to small and it just made it look cluttered. I also kept a skimmer close by to clean leaves, mulch and other things out of the pond.

Every fall, we would drain the pond and remove the pumps. We did not cover the pond in the fall, but I would highly recommend that you do. It’s such a yucky gross mess to clean up in the spring, that you’ll want to come up with some type of cover to keep the leaves out. Keep in mind that any cover you create will have to bear the weight of snow and water from melted snow. This pond cover net looks very interesting.

If you’re looking to create a much larger pond or water feature, check out Cottage at the Crossroads posts on the pond and waterfall they built. It’s pretty spectacular!

That’s all there is to creating your very own DIY Small Garden Pond. The digging and hauling rock is physically demanding work, but if we can do it anyone can. Do you have a favorite water feature in your garden?

Thanks so much for stopping by today. What’s going on in your gardens? Do you have any projects planned? We’ve been working on a few big garden makeover projects that I can’t wait to share with you, so stay tuned.


Feel free to hang out for a bit and make yourself at home! Do you need some awesome gardening ideas?  Check out Garden Decor IdeasFlower Garden Design Tips has been hugely popular too. Or, if you are new to gardening, or just need some help, check out Flower Gardening 101 or Vegetable Garden 101?  And, you can find my favorite gardening tools in Essential Gardening Tools. Come back soon!

Happy gardening,


More Water Features for Your Garden or Backyard


p.s. Follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest for lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.

p.p.s. You can pin these pictures by hovering in the upper left-hand corner and below is a collage you can pin and come back to later. Pin away!

Image of small garden pond with text overlay How to add a Little Pond to your Garden

DIY Small Garden Pond


  1. Good morning Joanna, I’ve had a 2500 gallon pond for 35 years & agree with your advice. I would add the following based on experience 1: Keep it small 2: If you decide to include fish add just a few & make sure you have someone to give fish to because they will spawn. 3:Do not fall behind on your cleaning . I neglected this for 2 or 3 seasons & removed 8 wheelbarrows of muck this spring. 4: Larger ponds are expensive to keep clear requiring U.V. lights , filIters etc. Ponds are enjoyable & I am glad I have one . Good luck, Joe

    1. Thanks for you tips, Joe. I agree to keeping it small, unless you can afford to hire someone to maintain it for you. I will have one at my current home. It’s just a matter of time until I talk the hubs into it.

  2. Your pond looks very nice. We had one for two years (with stream and waterfall x 2) and it was so much work, I just couldn’t do it anymore and we filled it in.

    1. Hi Beth – there’s definitely maintenance involved. We ended up filling ours in too when we decided to sell our last home. Even knowing the work involved, I would still like to have another one. Thanks for stopping by and happy gardening!

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