Step 1: Excavate the area

excavate the area
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Lay out the size and shape of your pond with a rope or garden hose. Using a spade, dig down 3 inches in a 1-foot-wide ring outside the outline to create the stone-border shelf. Next, create a plant terrace by digging a 1-foot-wide shelf 8 inches deep inside the rope outline. Only dig the terrace in areas where you plan to put plants.

Continue digging inside the plant terrace to make the bed of the pond—a minimum of 18 inches deep, with a slight slope.
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    Tools List

    • pointed shovel
      Shovel
    • four-foot level
      Level
    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape Measure
    • utility knife
      Utility Knife
    • garden hose
      Garden Hose

    Shopping List

    1. Pond Liner, which is available off the roll at garden centers or precut in kits. Buy one 4 feet longer and wider than your pond dimensions to fit 18 inches deep.

    2. General Purpose Sand to cover and smooth over stones or roots. Three or four bags should be enough.

    3. Newspaper or Burlap to cover the sand.

    4. Scrap 2x4 to help level the pond.

    5. Pea Gravel to create drainage for overflow.

    6. Large Rocks to create the border and waterfall. Gather them from around the pond or buy them at a stone yard. 7. Submersible Recirculating Pump to keep water aerated and to create a waterfall. Get one that pumps 200 or fewer gallons per minute for a gentle flow.

    8. Air Line Tubing to carry the water to the waterfall. Available at hardware stores or pet stores that sell fish tanks.

    9. 2-inch PVC conduit to protect the buried pump