How to Install a Preformed Pond

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People love ponds in their gardens and often wish to build a pond themselves rather than hire a professional to do it. The preformed shells found in garden centers are enticing because the shell need only be placed in the ground, filled with water, plants and goldfish and the pond is done. This is not as easy as it sounds. One of the things we all love about ponds is they look natural, as if the pond were there, formed naturally before the house was built. Using a preformed pond rarely looks natural because it is very difficult to keep the plastic from showing. Here is how to install them to look as natural as a pond build using a flexible liner.

Things You'll Need

  • The preformed pond of your choice
  • • Shovel
  • • Garden hose
  • • Three or four bags of sandbox sand
  • • Approximately 10 bags of topsoil
  • • Depending on the size of your preformed pond, enough common bricks to put around it with about a 4" space between the bricks.
  • • Flat rocks to cover the top edge of the pond.
  • * Submersible pump or wet/dry vacuum cleaner
  • • dechlorinator
  • • A helper
  • Dig a hole to fit only the bottom part of the shell up to the plant ledges because it is impossible to get and keep a preformed pond level. Place the shell in the hole.

  • Fill the pond with water. This is important to do now, not later. The water will get dirty as you continue the installation, but you will pump it out later and put fresh water in.

  • Get in the water carefully. Do not stop on the ledges because they break easily and cannot be repaired.

  • Have a helper pour the sand around the edges of the shell so it fills up the spaces where the pond does not fit perfectly in the hole. Use the water from the hose to pack the sand in. Do not get out of the water or the shell will float up and you will have to start all over. When you are satisfied the pond will stay in place, you may get out of the water. Be careful not to step on the ledges.

  • Make sure your pond is now sitting in the ground up to the plant ledges. Using your bricks, put them under the lip of the pond to help keep it sturdy. Place the bricks about 4" apart and go all the way around the pond. This gives some structural strength to the pond shell.

  • Cover the bricks and spaces between to the top of the lip of the pond with topsoil. Water it in so it packs well.

  • Cantilever the flat rocks around your pond with about 2 or 3 inches sticking over the edge. This camouflages the lip of the pond so it cannot be seen. By now the water is full of sand and soil, so pump or wet vac it out and replace it with fresh clean water. Put dechlorinator in the water now.

  • Add a waterfall or fountain, plants and fish. Plant or mulch the outside for a finished look.

Tips & Warnings

  • Properly installing a preformed pond is very difficult. It can be easier to build a box with landscape timbers. Make the box big enough to hold the pond. Put the pond shell in the box and fill around it.
  • Preformed pond shells are extremely brittle and easily breakable. Do not step on the ledges.
  • Do not leave the pond unsupported during or after building.
  • Alway use a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet to plug anything into. The GFCI instantly cuts off electricity if water touches the outlet.

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