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Outdoor Plumbing Project: Backyard Pond

Have you always wanted a backyard pond? If this outdoor plumbing project sounds too in-depth or expensive, rest assured that it's actually a very doable DIY project! All you need are some excavation and assembly skills. If you're an avid DIY'er, this outdoor plumbing project is perfect for you.

When you're ready to get started, follow these instructions to help you design and build a pond. Begin the outdoor plumbing project knowing it will take two to seven days, and that you may want to consult a landscape designer, electrician or plumber before you begin, particularly if you intend to put in a fountain.

Pick a Location

Where should you install your pond? Consider these factors:

  • General terrain: Avoid installing a pond at the bottom of a slope. Rainwater runoff could muddy your pond and harm your fish and plants. If you must choose a low-lying location, install a French drain to help discharge water before it reaches the pond.
  • Soil conditions: Rocky soil may require an aboveground pool. Sand soil may need a pre-formed liner. Clay soil is excellent for flexible pool liners.
  • Intended use: Installing a pond in a private area of your yard provides a secluded retreat. Sun exposure also affects fish and the plants you intend to put around the pond.

Build the Pond

  • Step 1: Lay out a garden hose or heavy rope on the grass to outline the pond's contour. Spray along the hose with marking paint to give you an excavation outline.
  • Step 2: Dig a spade into the soil along the painted line, pushing it at least 2 inches deep. Cut the sod within the pool outline into 12-inch-wide strips. Slice the grass roots from the soil, working from the edge of the pool outline inward, and roll up the sod as you go.
  • Step 3: Dig out the main body of the pond with a shovel. Outline a 12-inch-wide shelf along the outer edge using the garden hose and marking paint trick. Dig the shelf down about 12 inches. Make sure the shelf is level by placing a carpenter's level on a straight 2x4 stretching from one side to the other.
  • Step 4: Strip away about 12 inches of sod all around the perimeter of the pond to make room for recess border materials.
  • Step 5: Remove any stones or roots from the excavation area that could puncture the pond liner. Spread an even 1- to 2-inch layer of sand or commercial underlayment material on all horizontal surfaces to cushion the liner.
  • Step 6: Lay the liner out in the sun for about an hour to make it more malleable. Pull it to the excavation site and drape it loosely over the opening. Overlap the pleats, working from the bottom up, to give it a bowl shape and help it fill the corners.
  • Step 7: Add a few inches of water to the bottom of the liner to settle it out. Pleat the outer edges and place large stones strategically to hold the liner in place.
  • Step 8: Fill the pond with water. Trim the liner about 12 inches from the lip of pond with heavy scissors.
  • Step 9: Stack edging rocks and other natural fill material along the edge of the pond to cover the liner and give it a professional look.
  • Step 10: Add a few fish for movement and color and to help control mosquitoes.

If the idea of having a pond in the back yard excites you, but you need help installing a French drain or putting in a fountain, please contact Mr. Rooter® for help.