Build It Yourself

from Simply Perfect Water Gardening
With all the containers for water gardens on the market, why not get exactly what you want by building one yourself? See an easy water garden design that will fit in any yard.

Create this naturalistic, free-form pond and surrounding patio in your backyard.

What You’ll Need for the Pond


  • Shovel
  • Cutting tool with heavy-duty blade


  • String and sticks, or flour
  • Rotproof polyester underlayment or old carpet
  • Liner
  • Rocks
  • Permeable fabric, such as old towels or scraps of underlayment
  • Gravel
  • Pump and filtering system
  • Black plastic edging
  • Plants
  • Permeable landscape fabric

What You’ll Need for the Patio


  • String and sticks, or flour
  • Builder’s sand
  • Flagstone pavers

Step-by-Step Directions

1. Using a string and sticks, or flour, outline the shape of the pond and the circular path around the outside. Dig a hole for the pond with a shovel. (If you dig a pond that is more than 2 feet deep, you may need to fence it in; check local zoning regulations.) Dig out a ledge about 4 inches deep and 6 inches wide around the perimeter of the hole.

2. Line the hole with underlayment
or old carpet to protect the pond liner from punctures. After the underlayment is in place, pull the sides of the liner together at the top in the shape of a bag and lower it into place in the hole.

3. Spread out the liner and temporarily secure
the edges with rocks. Fill the liner with water, smoothing out wrinkles as the pond fills. Fold over excess portions of the liner, repositioning the rocks as needed. Stop filling the pond before water reaches the outer ledge.

4. Place rocks along the ledge surrounding the pond to permanently hold the liner in place and to camouflage it once the pond is filled. Leave about 1 foot of liner beyond the rocks; use a cutting tool with a heavy-duty blade to remove excess liner.

5. Wedge sections of permeable fabric, such as old towels or scraps of underlayment, behind the rocks to keep soil and debris from entering the pond. Cover the fabric with gravel, then place rocks on top of the gravel. Finish filling the pond.

6. Install the pump and filtering system.

7. Position black plastic edging around the inner planting bed. Install a second band of edging around the first to create a circular path. Dig the path about 4 inches deep.

8. Add plants to the inner planting bed, then spread permeable landscape fabric along the circular path to create a weed barrier. Top the fabric with several inches of gravel.

9. Using string and sticks, or flour, outline the shape of the patio.

10. Dig out the patio to a depth of 4 inches. Fill the hole with a 31/2-inch layer of builder’s sand, then work flagstone pavers into the sand. You may need to lift the pavers and add more sand until they’re level. Fill gaps between the pavers with sand, then sweep off excess.

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