Can You Just Dig a Hole to Make a Pond?

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When it comes to building a pond, there are going to be lots of questions you might have, plans to draw, and things to think about. Maybe one of your thoughts is “Where do I start? Do I just…dig a hole?”

A pond is harder than just digging a hole. In order to create a pond, you need to have a liner that lines the bottom of your pond. This will keep the surrounding plants or dirt from absorbing the water inside it. Otherwise, over time, your pond will slowly drain!

There are a number of reasons that just digging a hole wouldn’t work in order to make your pond, and here are some of the things you need to consider before you start digging.

You Could Be Digging in an Unsafe Space!

So why can’t you just “dig a hole” to make a pond? You could be digging in an area where there are electric lines or water pipes, especially if you’re in an overdense neighborhood. You need to find a safe area, where you are avoiding things that may be damaged.

You don’t want to dig 3 feet down just to find you’ve cut into something! You also may want to have a direct water line to your pond, in which case you’re going to need to have it in an area where that is easily accessible.

If you’re wanting to have vegetation in your pond, you’re going to need to make sure it gets sunlight. In order to keep up with any water plants, your pond needs to be in an area that will receive up to 5 hours of sunlight a day. You also should avoid putting it under a tree, which will drop leaves into the pond, prevent sunlight, and roots can grow into your pond, which can damage it, or even ruin it.

You also need to avoid digging a pond too close to a ledge. If it happens to rain too much, overflow, or become damage, you could create mudslides or it could crumble.

Before beginning digging, make sure you’re in a safe area, or an area where you’re able to access a water line. This will ensure for the digging and building process to go much smoother, and to avoid any snags along the way.

Wildlife Degradation May Occur

Your soil may not be best suited for water. If it isn’t, the water won’t hold or you could be destroying the land around you by putting in a pond.

In a worst-case scenario, a pond could cause damage to any surrounding grass, flowers, or trees, by the influx of water. If this is the case it could take months, even years, to fix the mistakes. Especially if you’re in a highly-populated area, you could not only be damaging your property but others. Which can result in fines, and legal complications. This is why using a pond liner is so important!

Water features, especially larger ones, can also attract animals. If your water feature is large enough, and you’re in an area that’s prone to wildlife, you may attract ducks, geese, deer, or fox, that are looking for a drink. If you’re not interested in attracting any of these creatures, you may want to avoid creating a pond.

Before you begin digging a pond, consider how it may affect the environment around you. It could bring unwanted animals, and deteriorate the ground around you.

Water Absorption

Digging a hole may be apart of the pond creating process, but up-keeping your water feature is important. A simple hole in the ground is going to allow for water to soak into the dirt, not exactly a great pond. When creating your pond, you’re going to want to be able to keep water from being absorbed into the ground. In this case, you’re going to need a liner.

There are multiple liners you can use when creating your pond, clay, cement, and most popularly: plastic. Plastic liners are common as they don’t require as much upkeep, and are substantially cheaper, especially if you’re trying to create a larger pond. All of these liners create a great barrier between the water and the ground. This will help you totally avoid the ground absorbing your water!

Water absorption also can be harmful, as mentioned when discussing an unsafe area. It can make the greenery around your pond become overwatered, and kill some of your planting endeavors.

You Have to Have a Perfect Depth

Depth of a pond is incredibly important. Too shallow of a pond can become too hot in the summer. If you’re in an excessively hot space, your shallow pond can evaporate during the summer and become hard to keep up with.

On top of this you could also face issues in the winter. Either it will be too shallow that the pond itself will freeze and kill any fish you may have. It could also make fish susceptible to predators, and you could lose them!

If your depth is too deep it can be harder to keep up with. With algae growing along the pond liner, it can be hard to keep it clean. It can also be harmful to any potential fish, for if they dive too deep the lack of oxygen in the pond will kill them! So you have to make sure your depth, much like the story of the 3 bears, is just right. If you want to learn more, read our article on how to get the best depth for your pond.

You Also Have to Have a Perfect Size

Who knew building a pond had to be perfect? Well, it does. If your pond is too small, it can be harmful to fish, and end up not being worth the money. Building ponds can be expensive if you’re trying to do it right, and if you have too small of an area then you’re not going to be able to maintain fish or plants.

Too big of a pond will become too hard to maintain. If you’re in an area that rains a lot, your large pond could overflow, and create mudslides or take up too much of your area. Something to avoid when creating your pond.

There May Be Legal Restrictions

If you’re able to own your own home, and away from a neighborhood, you may think you’re in the clear! Not quite true. If your home or land is insured, adding a pond may up your insurance, or your insurance could not even cover it!

Not only is insurance finicky, but so you could also be in legal trouble in your area. Some areas require permits for things like ponds, or other water features, and if you’re perhaps apart of an HOA (Home Owners Association), it may not even be allowed!

In order to avoid a legal issue, it’s important that you research before you touch a shovel and get into digging.

Some Ponds Need Extra TLC

If you want to maintain a full fledged pond with fish and plants, you may need to have a filter! If you want to have specific type of fish, or avoid certain bacteria getting into your pond, then you’re going to need a filter. This is something you’re going to need to begin prepping during the digging process.

If you’re also looking to be able to have a direct water line, this is when you’re going to need to prep it as well. Not just as simple as digging into the ground as you would think. You often have to carve out your own space for any water lines, or waterfalls, or spouts, that you may want to include in your pond or water feature.

Steps to Take When Building Your Pond

  1. Make sure you can build a pond in your area: You don’t want to get started on a pond unless you can finish it. Make sure to look into your insurance, any HOA rules, or any legal proceedings you may need to follow.
  2. Pick the perfect place: Find a place that will be in a great, sunny, area. Avoiding trees or any pipes and electrical lines, and potentially being able to connect to a water source.
  3. Measure your perfect size and depth: make sure your pond is at the correct depth, and size for your area and the type of wildlife you’re wanting to sustain. There are plenty of great forums all over the internet that can help you find exactly the measurements you need.
  4. Begin digging, layers at a time, and incorporate any places you may need water lines, spouts, or places for extra accessories such as waterfalls. Or even filters if you’re wishing to house fish or other wildlife. These will all need to be installed before the pond is filled with water.
  5. Find a liner: Find the liner you wish to have for the inside of your pond to prevent the water to be absorbed into the ground. This will keep the plants around you safe, and keep your water in the pond at all times.

So before you pick up your shovel and begin digging, it’s important to be able to understand exactly the ins and outs of pond building. And make sure, that your pond will be safe, strong, and flourishing.

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We always wanted a fountain of some kind at our house, but professional installation was just too pricey. So, we decided to make our own little fountain and after learning how, we thought we should share our experiences to help people in our same situation.

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