August 05, 2012

How to make an above-ground pond

It seems common practice among garden bloggers to nickname their significant others and family members. Since I have one son and one daughter, I've chosen to refer to them that way.

But "hubby" doesn't quite do it for my better-half. From now on, I'll refer to him as the "fishman." There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that the man is fascinated with fish the way I'm fascinated with plants. Enough said.


I had to give him an official name because he gets the kudos for our new above-ground pond. The approximate dimensions: 66 X 45 X 20 inches. We've talked for years about adding a water feature. While we didn't want to go elaborate, we wanted a modest pond, with a few fish and some water plants.

I'm mechanically challenged, so he did all the work. Plus, he had a vision. So here's how the fishman got it done:


He started with a plywood base.


Next, he measured and added two-by-fours for the sidewalls.



Screwed them together to create the sides of the pond.


Measured and cut oriented-strand board (OSB) to form the interior walls.


Added styrofoam in the bottom and along the sides for insulation.



Moved (with the son's help) the nearly finished pond to its home on the patio.



Checked to make sure it was level (it was!).



Flattened and then placed the 10- X 8-foot PVC pond liner.


Stapled the pond liner in place with stainless-steel staples (at the top only) and added water.


Added the filter, pump, and fountain.


Tested the fountainyay, it worked!


Added small milk crates, granite weights, rocks, and pebbles for structure and interest.


Took a break to enjoy the view (and the rain).

Next, came the fun part: I helped pick out the plants!

Typha latifolia variegata

A variegated Cattail for marginal structure, filtration, and interest;

Ceratophyllum demersum

Hornwort (we think it's C. demersum) for oxygenation; and

Nymphaea 'Clyde Ikins'

A deepwater Waterlily for beauty, interest, and cover for the fish. We'll probably add more plants next summer, but this is a good start.


Speaking of the fish, here they are: three goldfish. (We had four but one died.) I chased them around and tried to capture good photos of them, but they are fast! And I'm terrible at capturing objects in motion (not to mention under water). They'll give me some practice, that's for sure!


But the best part of all is now I get to play with photographing water plants!








Oh, and see the first photo for the nifty tongue-and-groove cedar siding the fishman used to decorate the sides of the pond. Send me an email if you'd like more information on the materials and methods, or if you have any questions. I'm sure the fishman can answer them.

(Thanks to Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk for suggestions on experimenting with higher ISO camera settings in low light.)

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Added 1.9.14: I've received many requests for the dimensions and more specifics about the building of this pond. Please note that I added a later post, "The 'pond post': most popular by a long shot," that should help you determine what supplies you need to build a similar pond. Good luck!

33 comments:

  1. Fantastic how to....Maybe my Mr I can do this for our garden.

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    1. Thanks, Gail. He amazes me with his projects! The current one is adding cedar siding around a rain barrel to make it look nice.

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  2. Wonderful, love it, and he made it look so simple, I know from experience that it's a lot more work.

    Great shots, you captured the essence of the entire operation, and made it very interesting.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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    1. Yes, he does make it look easy. I was going to call him handyman or Mr. Fix-It, but he didn't like those options. Thanks, Jen.

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  3. Oh My Gosh!!! Send Fishman to my house, asap!!! I LOVE the pond! You can probably find water plants on sale this fall. What a fabulous addition to your garden. :o)

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    1. He says, OK! We both love Virginia, so one of these days we'll take another trip out there. ;-) Good idea about fall sales. We're trying to figure out what to do with the plants during the winter--maybe buckets in the basement?

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  4. Great job - and easy to manage to. Better than scrambling up or down a rockery for sure!

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    1. Yes, that's true. We can reach around it and into it pretty easily. It looks kind of like a hot tub. ;-)

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  5. Excellent job, you're an inspiration. The water lilies are beautiful.

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    1. He says, "Thanks!" Those flowers are photogenic, aren't they?!

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  6. Fantastic!! Congrats to fishman!!! Looks really nice and I am sure you will have a lot of fun with the camera and the fishes ;-)!

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    1. Thanks, Lula! Yes, I need a lot of practice with the fish. I think I took about 50 photos and none of them really turned out. I'm more of a still-life kind of gal. :-)

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  7. He did a fine job. The fish will be mighty happy I am sure.

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    1. "Thanks," from the fishman. Yes, the fish seem contented and they're growing fast!

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  8. Wow Beth that is amazing...what a great water feature...and I love the water lily!

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    1. He did a great job, thanks! Aren't they beautiful--you have some too, right Donna?

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  9. Wonderful job! How long did this project take? You picked a good year to add a water feature. The water lilies look fantastic.

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    1. Thanks! Once he had the materials and the plan, it took only a couple of days. Yes, it has been nice to have gurgling water during this hot, dry summer.

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  10. Okay, I'm bookmarking this one. What a awesome pond! So gorgeous! Have fun with the plants and fish!

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    1. Tee hee. Thanks! He enjoyed building it, and now we're enjoying sight and sound of it. The fish are really cute.

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  11. Such a gorgeous looking pond. All your husband's hard work paid off. Its truly amazing. I like it a lot.

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    1. Thanks! It's adding some personality to the patio and the back garden. Plus, it's fun to watch the fish.

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  12. So nice to have a mechanically minded mate by your side. Great job. I can almost hear the water flowing.

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    1. Yes, it is good. We've saved tons of money over the years. The water is very calming. :)

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  13. Kudos to the Fishman for a job well done--the new water feature looks fantastic! I keep hoping one of these days when my husband retires, he might need a few projects to keep him busy--this water feature would make us both happy:) The water lilies look lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Rose. We moved the Waterlilies a little deeper and they haven't had new blooms for a few days. I miss the flowers!

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  14. This sounds so familiar. My hubby is "fishman" while I garden. He is keeping 9 koi fishes in his little fountain pond. These fishes are "vegetarians", hence I can't grow any water lilies or floating plants in it. Your hubby, Mr Fishman did a DIY job on the pond. I look forward to more posts about this. I think using the PVC pond liner is a great idea.

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    1. Wow, I'd love to see pictures of your pond. Have you posted about it? That must be challenging to have a pond like yours.

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  15. Impressively done, made it look easy too, and now you have a whole new environment to play with. Love the water lily.

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    1. Thanks, Janet. He had fun building it, and now we're both enjoying the fish AND the plants. ;-)

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  16. What kind of wood was used on the frame? Pressure treated or anything? It looks GREAT!

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    1. Hi Chris: The fishman said all the visible wood and wood potentially exposed to pond water is cedar. He used some non-arsenic-based, pressure-treated wood for the baseplates and framing, which is completely isolated from the pond water.

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  17. It's a blessing to be so crafty and creative! Fishman did an awesome job!

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