A well-made and well-maintained backyard pond adds a serene, serendipitous note to any backyard environment. However, poorly planned ponds can quickly become eyesores that don't provide optimal environments for living plants and aquatic life, so take the time to install your pond properly. Follow the advice below to get started on creating the backyard pond of your dreams, where fish and plants thrive and where family members and guests can enjoy a natural haven.

Choose the Right Site

Site selection is an essential component of creating and maintaining a successful backyard pond. Soil stability is an important factor in selecting the right site; building a pond on unstable soils will result in the pond sinking or otherwise becoming uneven, so avoid sandy soils. Also, if you are planning on stocking your pond with fish, be sure to choose a site that receives plenty of sunlight. Aquatic plants like lilies and lotus require at least six hours of sun per day. Don't site your pond in an area where falling nuts and fruit may fall into it—these can kill fish and pollute the water, and fallen leaves and needles can clog filters and drains. Keep in mind that certain types of trees such as silver-leaf maples have shallow root systems that can disrupt your pond if planted too close to them. 

Try to choose a site that's located in a central part of your backyard so that you, family members, and guests can easily enjoy it. The site should also have good drainage and should never be situated in low-lying areas of your yard because rain-water runoff can damage ponds by causing them to overflow as well as fill the pond with debris and create muddy conditions. 

Choose the Right Plants 

Traditional water plants for backyard ponds include:

  • Lotus
  • Iris
  • Water lily 

However, there are many other plants for water-garden enthusiasts to choose from, such as water hyacinth, water clover, floating yellow hearts, and water lettuce. Besides surface and floating plants, it's important to include submerged plants such as cabomba and anacharis because they'll help keep the water clean and oxygenated. You should also plan to have bog plants such as marsh marigolds, cardinal flowers, and cattails around the edges of your pond. 

Choose the Right Fish

Goldfish and koi are the old backyard-pond standbys, but consider using a different type of fish, especially if you live in an area close to an area such as a natural stream or lake, where there's a chance that the fish in your pond could become accidentally released via flooding. Koi and goldfish both pose potential problems for wild fish stocks if released into their habitat. Other options include sunfish, darters, and killifish. Killifish provide the added bonus of acting as excellent mosquito control. 

Choose the Right Pond Liner

The right pond liner will help keep your pond intact and keep surrounding areas looking good by retaining water and keeping it from seeping into the soil. Flexible pond liners are often recommended because they provide the consumer with optimal freedom of choice when custom-designing a backyard pond. Materials used in crafting flexible pond liners include polyvinyl chloride, isobutylene isoprene rubber, polyethylene, and ethylene propylene diene monomer. Your pond-liner manufacturer can assist you in selecting the one that best suits your individual needs and preferences. Look at the selections of companies like Billboard Tarps to find a pond liner that is a good choice for you. 

Finish Things Off with a Waterfall

A waterfall will keep the water from becoming stagnant as well as add pleasant sounds and visual effects to your outdoor living environment. Imagine relaxing with friends and family during a balmy weekend afternoon, enjoying a glass of wine with your spouse after work, or simply reading the day away outdoors with the gentle splashing of a waterfall for background music. ​