The reason to fill in a garden pond may be for personal, safety, aesthetic visibility, among many others. No matter the reason, there will be a solution here for you.
Fill in the hole left by your pond with large rocks, followed by gravel and loose dirt. This will ensure that minimal settling of the ground occurs, and gives you a fresh patch of ground to do something new with.
While this is the easiest method, there are several available to you, so we’ll go over a few of them and explain the pros and cons to help you make the best choice for your yard!
Draining the Pond
Regardless of the way you choose to fill your pond, you’re going to have to start by draining the water out of the hole before you can fill it.
When draining a small pond, there are two methods: with a pump and without a pump. If you have a pump with the pond, simply connect your hose to the discharge outlet and it will pump the water out. Make sure to drain the water into a bucket or a nearby drain to keep the standing water that has been in the pond from sitting in your yard.
If you do not have a pump, you can use a garden hose! Place one end in the bottom of the pond and place the other end in the bucket or drain you’ve chosen. Once you know where you want the water to go, you will need to siphon the water. The easiest way to do this is to use your mouth and suck on the hose until the water is flowing.
Spit out any water that may come into your mouth while doing this. Once the water is flowing, the water will continue to flow until the end in the pond reaches air.
This definitely isn’t the easiest way and there’s a good chance you’re going to get pond water in your mouth.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, but you’re still not wanting to spend money on a pump, you can always just use a smaller container to drain the water one bucket at a time. This is the most time consuming option, but if you’re trying to save money and avoid getting old pond water in your mouth, it’s probably your best option.
Last, but certainly not least, the wet vac, or shop vac. These vaccums can handle liquids, and they’re you’re more likely to own one of these than you are a water pump. Just suck up the water til the container is half-way to three-quarters full, empty it, and repeat until the water has been removed from the pond.
The shop vac is a great option for you to use if the pond is old, and has debris in it that might clog up a normal water pump. The suction is more likely to keep the line clear, and it’s already connected to a collection container, as opposed to spewing wet trash into your yard.
Once the water has been drained, you are going to take out any liners, rocks, or cement that is in the bottom of the pond. This will allow the water to completely drain once it is filled and water will not begin pooling.
If it is not possible to take out the entire thing, slicing holes or making cracks to help the water drain can also work, however, that is not recommended, and it can cause potholes to form in that area years down the road.
Rocks and Soil
The easiest way to fill in a pond is with rocks and soil. By placing rocks in first, you will need less soil to fill in the hole. One long term problem that may arise with this solution is the ground settling over time. As the ground endures weather and foot traffic, the ground will settle causing the rocks to sink down.
One way to avoid this is to compact the rocks and soil down as much as you can in the beginning. This will leave less room for it to settle down.
During cold winters, the ground may compact and the rocks could get pushed together, causing the ground to become uneven. Keep in mind that no matter what you do, whenever you fill a large area with dirt, there will be some settling and ground change over time that you will need to address down the road.
The best way to minimize this effect is to constantly water down the area after you’ve filled it, which will help the dirt settle into the cracks between the rocks more quickly, This will make it easier for you to identify the areas that will settle early on.
Clay Based Soil
There are certain areas that have more clay in their soil. If this is the case for you, using a mixture of clay and soil can match what is already there and allow for a seamless transition.
Clay has a higher rate of expansion and contraction than regular dirt does when it’s exposed to high heat or water, which is why the soil composition for filling your hole would be something you would want to consider if your yard has a high clay concentration.
Depending on the location of your old pond, filling it could be the perfect opportunity to plant a garden, or construct a flowerbed! Fill the hole with a mixture of gardening soil, regular dirt to help keep the moisture content down, and gravel to help with drainage.
Water the area down frequently, and leave it for a few weeks to give the area time to settle. After about a month, you should be good to go, and the area will be prepped for planting!
This only qualifies as an easy option because there’s a good chance someone else will be doing the work! Depending on the location the pond was in, an in-ground hot tub (or a pool) could be a great addition to your yard, since the hole will already be there.
This is certainly one of the more expensive options, but it is also one of the most enjoyable! While the perks of this option are obvious, the major con is that you will continue to have upkeep for what is essentially just a different kind of water installation in your hard, which includes all the upkeep and purchase of labor and materials that would come with it.
If you’re a family with some small kids, you could put a sandbox in the area where the pond used it be! Whether you decided to build your own, or purchase one to place in the ground, having a hole already dug would make the transition from pond to sandbox much easier.
Before turning the area into a sandbox, make sure the hole has been emptied of pond water, the liner, and any rocks and fixtures you had. We want the ground to be completely dry before you put anything new in the hole.
Once you’ve done this, you can either purchase a sandbox to place in the hole, or you can make one yourself. You could simply buy a new liner to keep the sand from mixing into the dirt, and fill the area with sand.
The edges of the liner would need to be secured in some way, so you could decorate the rim of the sandpit with something like bricks. This would not only be a nice way to decorate the area, but it would provide a little bit of a windshield, which would help keep too much of the sand from blowing away.
Understandably, your pond probably wasn’t trampoline sized. However, if you’re thinking about filling your old pond, it never hurts to consider what you could use that hole for before you fill it and realize you need to dig another one. An in-ground trampoline is a perfect example of something that could go in that hole!
If you have kids that are wanting a trampoline, in-ground trampolines are becoming increasingly popular with parents. Your kids can’t really fall off of them, since the edge is level with the ground. They’re also perfect for really breezy areas, where above-ground trampolines are prone to getting flipped over your neighbor’s fences during wind storms.
A tree could be the perfect thing to fill your old pond hole! There are a number of low maintenance trees and bushes that wouldn’t take much of your attention, and the root system would take up a good portion of the hole, leaving a smaller amount for you to fill.
The vegetation would also do a good job of hiding the ground as it settled, making it a more aesthetically pleasing option. Japanese Maples, Magnolias, Azaleas, a Burning Bush, and the Chinese Elm are all great, low maintenance options with gorgeous foliage.