12 best DIY pond ideas & tutorials, from easy kits for small garden & patio water feature to beautiful backyard waterfall with plants & fish!
A pond can be such a magical addition to a garden, a backyard or even a small patio. While a pond or water feature looks amazing, there are many easy ways to create a beautiful pond or simple fountain with minimal work.
In this guide, we will look at tutorials and ideas such as how to create simple free-standing pond perfect for a small patio, or use easy kit with simple pump and piping to create a small waterfall pond in your backyard. We will end with inspirations on using beautiful plants and landscape features to enhance the beauty of your pond, plus resources such as Koi pond and winter pond maintenance.
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Follow safety guidelines and local building requirements.
Before starting any DIY pond no matter how shallow it is, it’s important to follow safety guidelines such as how to make a pond child-safe. In California for example, a pond deeper than 18 inches requires a permit and a 5’ tall pool fence. In general, it’s a good idea to keep a pond less than 12” deep unless you want to have larger fish like Koi (see resources at the end).
People often ask if a pond should be in sun or shade. In most cases morning sun is great. If a pond does not have shade from plants such as water lilies or trees, the water can get too warm for fish,or develop algae.
Now Let’s start with some easy no-dig DIY pond ideas!
The easiest DIY pond from a tub and a solar pump
This easy DIY pond only takes an hour to create! Solar pump requires no wiring and is a great way to create an instant water feature on your patio. Check out the tutorial and a list of easy care water plants here!
If you want to grow Water Lilies, you will need a bigger tub like this garden pond. The plants and some tiny mosquito fish will keep the water clean and free of mosquito larvae.
Easy DIY garden pond and water feature kit
These easy patio pond & water feature kits make it simple to have a water garden in almost any setting — no shovel required. See the DIY patio pond video tutorial below on how you can easily transform any outdoor or indoor space with a beautifully planted water bowl or container water garden!
Wood box DIY patio pond
Never thought you could make a modern pond water feature from a small wooden box that fits on a small balcony, deck, or patio. And it’s easy to build! The secret is to use liquid rubber waterproof sealant to seal the wood, or use a piece of pond liner. Tutorial on BHG.
This DIY rectangle shape wood pond from Family Handyman looks great in both traditional and modern style gardens.
Once constructed, fill the planter section with a mixture of ferns, grasses, rocks and ornamental items!
Wine barrel DIY garden pond
Rustic wine barrels or whiskey barrels are perfect for a DIY pond. They are large enough to hold many plants and fish like in this photo.
How to build a garden pond with liner
Next we are going to explore some DIY garden ponds that require some digging, but still very achievable. It’s a good idea to keep the pond depth at less than 12” if you don’t plan to keep Koi or other large fish in the pond. (See resources section at the end for Koi ponds. )
Remember: always follow safety guidelines and local building codes when working with water pipes and electrical connections.
To build a simple and easy small garden pond, just dig the pond area and add pond liner. Secure with rocks. Add natural looking rocks and plants around the border. Tutorial for simple DIY pond here, diagram for pond with waterfall here.
You can also add aquatic plants, solar pump, and small fish inside the pond.
DIY pond with Preformed rigid pond liner
Susan at Oh-My Creative build their beautiful DIY pond with a preformed pond liner. The mini waterfall adds delightful sounds in this backyard pond.
Another variation of a DIY pond with preformed pond liner and a spillway. Tutorial here.
DIY pond with waterfall
Many of us dream of a backyard pond with waterfalls. It is actually easy to add a small waterfall to a pond with stacked stone. Tutorial here.
DIY garden pond with stream
If you can create a garden pond, you can use the same methods to build a series of small DIY ponds connected as a stream in a sloped backyard. Tutorial here.
Water feature in a garden pond
You can add water feature such as over-flowing pots to a garden pond, or make it into a hidden pond, which means the reservoir is underneath and covered by things like pebbles on a sturdy metal grate. Tutorial here.
This is a good option if you are concerned about pet or child safety around water.
Landscape design ideas for a beautiful garden pond
You can also build a small bridge and paint it with you favorite color like this beautiful white garden bridge.
What better way to enjoy your beautiful garden pond than sitting under a pergola? Via BHG.
Create an attractive outdoor space by adding landscape design features such as deck and patio next to a garden pond. Tutorial here.
A nice mix of plants can make a backyard pond look lush and natural. The colorful Day Lilies around this pond are easy to grow and flower year round in warmer climates.
Additional resources :
To have a beautiful and healthy pond is both a science and an art. It is impossible to cover everything in one article. Here are some additional resources.
A Koi pond is beautiful but more complicated to build and maintain. Here is a good place to start your research on how to keep a healthy Koi pond.
A pond with lots of plants and fish is an ecosystem. If you live in colder climates and have a pond with fish, pump and filter, check out these good tips on fall and winter pond maintenance.