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» Make a Small Fish Pond

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Make a Small Fish Pond
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Ponds are a remarkable addition to your property, yard or garden.

They don’t have to be large, very deep, or even expensive if you choose to make one from a kit, or in point of fact from something so small as a Rubbermaid tote sunk into the ground to its depth and then equipped with a submersible pump which you attach to a ground fault extension cord.

My own personal fish pond, which I implemented just early this spring is exactly that. A tote type container from Rubbermaid, made of plastic, blue to prevent my having to line it or color it, and sunk into the ground to its full depth of about two feet deep. It holds about 19 gallons of water, which is more than plenty to house two small koi and a few choice water plants.

Step one will be to find the pond kit that you would like to install, or to decide on your container, whether it will be sunken into the ground, or above ground, such as a large wooden tub or half a barrel, lined with thick plastic liner to provide the waterproof lining that your pond will need to hold water, or in fact, what I used, the Tote from Rubbermaid.

Depending on the container involved you will require different methods, so for the purposes of the tutorial, I’m going to use my own container and show the steps involved in it.

The materials you will need:

About 6 feet of tubing

a submersible pump, available at any lawn and garden supply store. (I purchased my own at Earl Mays) You will want one that is a bit larger than you need so that you can adjust the water movement. What I chose was one which moved 900 gallons of water per hour, whch was in fact a lot more than I needed but that didn’t hurt.

Make sure what the code is in your area regarding fencing of ponds. In some places even if the pond is only a foot around and a foot deep it will need some degree of fencing.

My own did not, being just 18 inches deep and two feet across, however it also could not hold more than two or three fish and about four plants because the amount of water could not sustain more. It was however lovely and the gurgling water satisfied a need, so it serves its purpose.

Before you begin digging the hole for the pond liner of your outdoor water fountain, pond or garden, have a certified electrician install a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet near where the artificial pond will be, if you don’t already have one. Since the cord length of the pump I selected was 6′, I determined a location for my water fountain that would be within 6′ of the outlet. An ideal location in your landscaping for a water fountain is near a patio. While relaxing on the patio, you’ll be treated to the soothing sounds of the water fountain.

Your first landscaping job before making your pond will be to take out any weeds or sod from the area that you selected to install your pond or water fountain and then make sure that the place you want it is level. If not, we’ll get to that later.

Then you will dig out the hole, into which the plastic pond liner, barrel, tote container or whatever you choose to use will be placed. To get an accurate measurement for the hole’s dimensions, simply flip the container upside down and trace around it with your shovel.

Here is what I did..

Remove all weeds and rocks from the area and set the rocks aside to use in the garden.

Dig a hole that is the diameter or shape and depth that you need, to permit the container to sink leaving just about an inch of the sides above ground.

lined the hole with sand

Sink the container making sure that it is level by laying a level across the top of it, and removing to continue adding sand and small gravel to the bottom of the areas that were lower until it sits level.

Filled the container and added gravel and river rock to the bottom of it, connecting the submersible pump to a tube that rose above the water level only slightly to mildly fountain the water.

As the lip of the container is above ground, to prevent soil from leeching into it, I took rocks and surrounded it, layering them around in a natural way, and planting smaller plants which enjoy the moisture and shade (as my pond was under a locust tree)

Some of the plants I added were bulbs, others from seed growth, and included dianthus, tulip, narcissus, and snow on the mountain, as well as dusty miller.

Hen and chicks makes a nice addition as well since the outer edges of my garden were primarily the same as a rock garden and would deal well with plants that like moisture but also sandier soil.

Moving out a bit from the garden itself I planted some impatiens and woods violets, again because they like moisture and shade and will grow well in the sandy soil that I used. Around the plants as well as the pond, I used primarily sandstone, but some granite tossed in as well as river rock.

I rounded it off with two bulbs for water lilies which I planted in the container water garden and added two bubble eye goldfish, which suited the small pond admirably.


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