How to Build a Natural Pond: Step by Step

Now that you’ve designed your natural pond, it’s time to start building. You can build your pond alone or ask friends and family to assist in the process. If you’re embarking on a larger project, it might be a good idea to get a helping hand or two. Pond construction is much more enjoyable as a group project – and it’s a lot quicker!

Here’s a step by step guide to putting your pond together. From checking for hazards to breaking ground, to adding the finishing touches to your new water feature, these instructions are sure to prove helpful! 

Check for Hazards

To ensure you don’t experience unwanted surprises when you first break ground, we recommend calling 811 before you start digging. Clearly mark out any hazards, pipes, or wires early on to help ensure that your chosen area is clear. Hitting a cable or pipe by mistake can be costly!

Mark Out Your Pond

Make sure to mark out the ground where you plan on digging your natural pond. An easy way to do this is by staking sticks in the ground. Connect these with string to create a clear outline that won’t disappear when you’re ready to start digging.

Clear Your Site and Break Ground

Now you’re ready to start digging. Make sure that there are no sharp sticks or rocks around your site with the potential to puncture your liner. You can do an initial check by scraping along the walls and floor of your pond with a shovel and remove unwanted debris. Remove all offending objects as you continue to dig, and fill any holes left by larger objects with soil. For an extra-safe check, use your hands to feel around the areas of your pond.

Unlike many other types of ponds, it’s safe to dig the sides of a natural pond at sloping angles. You will want these to look natural when you’re ready to add your liner. You may want to start slightly smaller than your ideal size and make your natural pond larger as you go in case you make any missteps.

Create Trenches

You will want to dig just around the inside of the pond you’ve marked out to craft effective trenches. Reinforcing the edges of your natural pond with trenches is the easiest way to keep your pond safe from leaching.

If your soil is mostly made of clay, building an earthen dam to keep water in is simple. However, bear in mind that some soils are too porous for the construction of this kind of dam. Pond liners are the safest way to ensure that your new water feature will not leak.

Your trenches should be significantly deeper than the rest of your pond. For added security, make sure to line your trenches with pond liners before you fill them with clay.

Determine Your Pond’s Depth

The depth of your pond is an essential decision that affects both the cost and the eventual appearance of your new pond. As your pond gets deeper, its bottom becomes less visible and rocks cannot be seen. As a result, your fish might hide from view. Deeper ponds also require the use of additional pond liner, so you will want to keep this in mind as you continue to dig.

Shallower ponds are typically better for displaying decorative rocks and fish, as these are more prominent when they are closer to the pond’s surface. However, shallow ponds tend to build up too much algae too quickly, since sunlight can reach more of your water with greater intensity.

You will want to dig both deep and shallow areas in your natural pond, as doing so will allow you to put in a variety of plants and fish that may thrive in different environments. For instance, some plants can only be placed in shallow water, while certain fish thrive in colder, deeper waters.

Line Your Pond

Now that you have successfully crafted the shape and depth of your pond, you are ready to seal the bottom. When choosing your pond liner, it’s essential to confirm that your selection will last for many years without frequent maintenance. BTL Liners fabricates AquaArmor liners for natural ponds with pliable forming materials, strong HDPE weaving, high oxidation and ozone resistance and an NSF-61 certification.

First, line your natural pond’s floor with overlapping layers of pond liners and soil. This will keep any water from leaking over time. As previously mentioned, BTL Liners provides a free calculator on its website to help you determine how much liner you will need for your pond project.

View the AquaArmor Calculator Here

For a simple way to secure your liner, ease it straight up behind a line of bricks. You can pack dirt up against this like a ramp. Then, you will need to fold your liner down and pack soil over its top.

Your liner should come up to the level of the bricks and then slope away from your new pond. This ensures that runoff, like dirt or debris, will not flow into your pond. Additionally, proper placement will also direct any overflow away from your pond.


Liners by BTL

AquaArmor Pond Liner

The most versatile liner on the market today, AquaArmor maximizes protection from harmful UV rays, tear resistance and punctures that cause leaks. Simply the best liner on the market.

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