All About Ponds

Outdoor Ponds

Porch and Patio

Indoor Ponds

Pond Construction



Determining Sizes


It’s Easy To Add a New and Exciting Dimension to your home by introducing a beautiful, natural-looking waterscape in your home. The wonderful thing about waterscapes is their flexibility. They can be designed to fit into whatever space you have available. You can create a large free-form outdoor pond, an intimate porch or patio tub garden, or a unique indoor waterscape.

All it takes is a little imagination, some spare time, and the right materials. The results are truly satisfying. Listen to the soft, relaxing sound of lightly cascading water. Enjoy the intimacy of your own quiet spot… the beauty of natural stone and exotic water plants. Experience the unbelievable relationship that develops between you and your fish who surface to take food from your hand.

Outdoor Ponds Originally Belonged To The Very Wealthy or the fortunate few who had natural freshwater ponds on their property. Today though, you can create your own pond, either natural-looking or formal, through the use of a flexible liner or with a pre-formed shell as big or as small as you like.

Start by selecting the best location (easily viewed, open area, best natural surroundings, etc.). Once you have made your selection, decide what you want your pond to look like (formal, natural, multi-tiered) and then choose the material you want to use — a liner or a pre-formed shell. The actual construction shouldn’t take more than a well-planned weekend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Friends and family are usually easy to recruit.

When everything is in place, as with an artist’s rough sketch, you now put brush to canvas by adding rocks, plants, bridges, waterfalls — all of the details that go into creating a waterscape.

Read all you can find at your dealer, from the library, from the magazine stand. Talk to other pond-keepers — they love to share their knowledge — and there are a lot of them. Join a pond society (google one near you, look on meetup).

Before long your pond will be complete, but it never really is, because water gardening is a living art form. One that reflects the seasons, the time of day and your own changing moods.

Porch and Patio Waterscaping Should Not Be Limited To In-The-Ground Ponds.

You can create smaller works of art, like miniatures, that add to the beauty of your outdoor porch or patio. They can also be placed in an open or secluded garden area, instead of a bird bath.

“Tub Gardens,” as they are often called, can be constructed from almost anything that can hold water. And, even if your receptacle doesn’t hold water, it can be made to do so through the use of a flexible liner that is cut to size and properly fitted. You can use cedar planters, wine barrels or large clay pots. You can be whimsical and use old bathtubs, boats or even the proverbial kitchen sink! Let your imagination be your creative guide.

The object is to fill a space with a waterscape to bring a sense of peace, harmony and beauty. Add a small fountainhead to create movement. Add plants in submerged containers for color. Put in a couple of small fish to add a touch of life. For a finishing touch, use a low-voltage submerged light to extend the hours you have to enjoy your piece of water art. Just remember to add a small filter unit if you plan to add fish.

Here Is A Way For You To Create A Piece Of Living Art Inside Your Home! Bring the art of waterscaping indoors.

Just put a small pond in your den, living room, foyer or other special place. Then, begin enjoying
the natural beauty of rushing water and unusual plantings inside. People have had aquariums in their homes for centuries — why not a pond?

Find a convenient, semi-sunny spot and build a pond from a tub garden or a small, pre-formed shell. Decorate with natural rock and potted seasonal or exotic water plants that are not hardy enough to survive the winter outdoors. Use grow lamps in track lighting to foster plant life. Add a small fountainhead to create soft sound, and if you introduce fish, be sure to include a filtering device to keep the water clean. It’s really easy. And since the water plants are all self-contained, you can rearrange them whenever you want to create a new look.

Indoor ponds are a unique decorating device that add a new dimension to your home. They bring a certain peace and tranquility into your living space that cannot be achieved by any other means. If you are looking for a way to sooth the hectic pace of your day-to-day life, try the magic of water gardening.


Today There Are Primarily Two Basic Means Used In Constructing An Outdoor Pond — flexible EPDM or PVC liners or rigid preformed shells. The flexible liner gives you greater design creativity, while the rigid shell is sturdier. Make your choice and let’s get started.

Location, Location, Location

This is your most important decision. There are three key factors to consider — sunlight (you want some sun and some shade), leaf-shedding or pollen-emitting trees (you want as few as possible) and drainage or runoff (you want to stay away from low-lying areas). Using these guidelines, location selection becomes a decision based on your property and what you are looking to achieve — visually and aurally. Because, besides being wonderful to look at, the addition of a stream, waterfall or fountainhead gives the added dimension of sound. Take your time and plan carefully — repositioning a pond is a major undertaking!

Flexible Liner Pond Construction

First thing is to determine the size and shape of your pond. Try drawing pleasing shapes on paper before beginning. This will give you a bird’s eye view and will help giving you a direction. Rectangular shapes are formal, free-flowing are more casual and natural. Allow for variation in water level by planning a rock shelf about 8″ below the maximum water level, as wide as the coping you intend to use.

With the liner pulled vertically behind the coping stones and anchored with backfill, the water level will be able to vary by 8″ without ever exposing the liner to view or damaging sunlight. For safety, reduced maintenance and convenience, plan on allowing room for a flat plant shelf 12-18″ wide and 18″ below water level all the way around the pond. Making the sides as vertical as possible denies predators easy access to your fish. Without a ramp or beach, waders like raccoons and herons will have no way to enter the pond. In addition mosquitoes and string algae will have no warm, shallow water to grow in; and the pond water will be easier to circulate and will stay cooler. Another advantage: at 18″ deep, the flat plant shelf is not only ideal for lilies and lotus, it’s an easy step out of the pond for anyone in it.

Depth is determined by your location and use. If you plan to have fish and you live in an area where there is winter freezing, you should have a portion of the pond at least 24-30″ deep, otherwise an average depth of 18″ is enough (See drawing A , warning below, and note on city code caution. Next, get a long
garden hose, string or rope and layout the shape on the ground. Bigger is better because a pond seems to diminish in size when viewed from eye level. When you are satisfied with the location, size and shape, you are ready to begin the actual construction. Take your time, make this a fun, family project.

Drawing A

WARNING! Remember to check local codes for depth or fencing restrictions before construction. It is extremely important to call your local utility markout service before starting excavation.

Just Follow These Easy Steps

1. Begin by excavating inside your line to a depth of about 18″, digging from the center outward. Make the sides as vertical as possible. At the base of the sides, make the bottom flat for a plant shelf 12-18″ wide all the way around the pond, even if the pond will go deeper in the center. Dig outside your line to a depth of 8″ for the rock shelf, wide enough for the coping you intend to use, and be generous; you may decide to plant marginals in a bog area behind the coping (drawing A), and you will be backfilling behind the coping everywhere else to hold the liner in place. Put the soil on a tarp to prevent damage to the outlying area. You may not have to dispose of any dirt if you plan carefully. Use it for a waterfall or to make a 2-3″ tall berm all the way around to keep runoff from entering the pond.

Drawing B

2. Check the ground level (See Drawing B). Place a number of stakes around the perimeter. Select the “Key Stake”, the stake that appears to be the average ground level. Mark that level with a piece of tape or marker pen. Using a straight 2 x 4 and a carpenter’s level, go from the Key Stake to Stake #1 and mark it when the 2 x 4 is level. Similarly, continue around the perimeter from stake to stake marking the level spot. If possible, check the measurements by stretching the 2 x 4 across the width or length. Run a string around the pond at the level mark and use this as your guide for raising the ground level. If you need to raise areas, build up fill at least 4-6″ above level to allow settling. Once your level line is marked, measure down from it to ensure that the rock shelf is also level.

3. After the hole, shelves and pockets have been dug and leveled, remove any stones, rocks or tree roots, and smooth the surfaces. To protect the liner from puncture holes, use a Pondmaster underlayment, 1″ of sand, indoor/outdoor carpeting, carpet padding or 2-3 layers of damp newspapers.

4. Drape the liner in the hole. It should extend at least 12-18″ outside the top edge. Place rocks or other heavy objects temporarily around the outside to hold the liner in place. Some curves or corners will create excess material. Fold the liner on itself to take up the material, the pressure of the water will keep it in place.

5. Begin filling with water. Check to be sure everything stays in place and the liner doesn’t get pulled away from the edging area. By running the liner under the edging and extending it you can accommodate varying water depths. Stop filling when the water is about 1-2″ below ground level.

6. Cover the excess liner material with decorative stone or other material. Apply your edging. This can be free-form rocks, slate, brick, or any other material that suits your design. Overhang the water with edging by at least 2″ to hide the liner.

7. Before adding plants or fish, let the water settle for two days (for treated city water) or use Pondmaster Chloramine Remover. This is not necessary with natural well water. Ask your pond dealer for suggestions.

8. Ponds normally require some sort of aeration and filtration to promote healthy plant and fish life. Pondmaster products include a complete selection of energy-efficient pumps, filter systems, fountainheads, and decorative waterworks. Ask your dealer to show them to you.

NOTE: Create a pond, not a pool. Local building codes specify the minimum depth of a water cavity that it considers to be a pool. Check with your building department and keep your excavation at least 1-2″ less than pool depth and avoid costly and unsightly fencing issues.

Rigid Pond Construction

Rigid liners are available in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Select your pond site and measure out the maximum dimensions you can fit at the location you have chosen. Take these dimensions to your dealer and choose a form that fits and a shape that is most pleasing to you. After you get it home, follow these steps.

1. Position the shell where you want it. Put a series of stakes approximately 12″ apart (See Drawing C) around the perimeter (inexpensive vegetable stakes will do). Remove the shell and put string, rope or a garden hose around the stakes to create the digging pattern. Check the ground level (See step 2 in Flexible Liners).

2. Measure shelf width, shelf depth and total depth. Begin excavation from the center outward. Try to dig matching the contours of the shell using the measurements taken above. Check your progress by occasionally putting the shell over the hole. Retain the soil and sod for possible later use.

3. When the hole is finished, remove any protrusions such as rocks or roots. Put the shell in the hole and fill the gaps with soil.

4. Cut back the sod 10-12″ from the shell’s perimeter for edging material. Use free-form stone, slate, brick, or any combination.

5. Fill with water and let it stand for two days (for treated city water) or use a pond starter chemical.

6. Speak to your Pondmaster dealer about plants and fish. Most ponds require aeration and/or filtration to help support plant and fish life. Pondmaster products include a complete selection of energy-efficient pumps, filter systems, fountain heads and decorative waterworks. Ask your dealer to show them to you.

Patio/Tub Pond Construction

Tub ponds (small, self-contained, movable) are easy to construct and maintain. Just choose any suitable container and add water. If the container is not waterproof, use a small tub liner (typically 5′ x 5′) and drape it inside. Secure at the edges using trim material (See Drawing D). Tub ponds may require aeration and/or filtration. Pondmaster offers a complete selection of small, energy-efficient pumps, filter systems and fountain heads for tub garden application. Ask your dealer to show them to you.


Completing The Job

Once the construction is completed, attention should be given to the handling and treatment of the water. This very complex, closed environment is changing all the time due to internal and external considerations such as waste products from aquatic plants, fish and visiting birds and animals as well as the effects of rain, snow, leaves and other airborne contaminant’s.

The Components and What They Do.

Illustration 1 shows some of the various components that are typically included in a complete filtration system. In this installation a submersible pump is used in conjunction with a skimmer. It passes pre-filtered water to a biological filter that, in turn, empties into a waterfall.

Illustration 2 shows a submersible pump pulling water through a submerged filter and sending it directly to the pressurized filter which, in turn, passes it to a waterfall.


These are the ‘engines’ that move the water. Your pond may have one or more depending on the size and complexity of your installation. They may be either external or submersible. Their pumping capacity should be correlated to the total number of gallons in the pond and the pumping height (the difference between the level of the pump and the highest point to which it is asked to deliver water – also called ‘head height’) and the specific function they are asked to perform.


These are permanently mounted devices that house a pump and whose primary function is to filter floating surface debris out of the water. This primary filtering reduces the amount of organic matter that settles to the bottom of the pond that can decay, building up hazardous ammonia and nitrate levels. In addition, the skimmer pre-filters the water entering the pump, thereby minimizing pump clogging.

Biological Filter And Falls

A biological filter and falls is a complete waterfall filtration/aeration system. It takes the water from the skimmer or pressurized filter and passes it through a filter mat and other filtering material. The filtered water then passes over the opening, or weir, and returns to the pond. The passage of the water over the opening aerates and oxygenates it, helping to improve water quality.

Pressurized Filters

This is another method of filtering pond water. It can be supplied by pre-filtered water from a skimmer or directly from an external pump and submerged filter box. A pressurized system employs bio-mechanical filtration through its internal filter media. The processed water can be directed back to the pond through an outflow hose or sent to a waterfall to be aerated and returned to the pond. Optional UV lamps are available to help control algae in most pond environments.

Air Pumps And De-Icers

These products are used in areas where pond water is subject to freezing during long, cold winters. The object is to keep a portion of the pond surface clear so that toxic gases are allowed to escape. The air pump accomplishes this by sending a stream of air bubbles and warmer bottom water to the surface preventing icing and, at the same time, aerating the water. De-icers or pond heaters keep the surface water around the unit heated, effectively preventing icing-over.

Ultra-Violet Lamps

Submersible UV lamps are designed to control waterborne algae, clear green water and prevent the spread of disease. They do this by passing the water through a chamber and subjecting it to ultraviolet light. Light in this sector of the spectrum can reduce the level of most algae and ‘bad’ bacteria. These units must be sized to the number of gallons of water in the pond to be effective.

We Manufacture A Complete Line Of Quality Products For Water Gardeners.

Among them are a series of fish-friendly, magnetically-driven submersible pumps that are oil-free and consume less than half the electricity of pumps using older technology. These reliable pumps, available in capacities from 65 to 5000 gallons per hour, are also used to power our packaged filtration systems and fountainhead kits.

In addition to pumps, filters and fountain-head kits, we also offer a unique, low-voltage lighting system that can be used either in or out of the pond and a selection of floating solar powered lights.


In colder northern climates where trees lose their leaves and the water drops below 50°F (10°C), you must take steps to protect the pond, the fish and the aquatic plants. At the first hint of the changing weather, place a pond net over the surface of the water to prevent leaves from falling into the water and sinking to the bottom. When the trees are bare, temporarily remove the netting and clean all debris from within the pool. Cut back hardy plant stems to approximately 1″ and position so that stems are just above the water level. Turn off all the pumps and drain the filters. Add salt and water conditioner. If you live in an area where the water freezes, it is best to install either an air pump and/or a pond heater to keep a portion of the surface free from ice to allow the accumulated toxic gases to escape from the trapped pond water thus promoting a healthier environment for aquatic and plant life.

Our Integra Koi and Pond Fish food is a specially formulated floating food that promotes health and brilliant color in pond fish. Available in convenient one, two, and four pound containers.

Our other accessory items include flexible liners, pond netting, fountainhead spray attachments, replacement filter media, water treatments and decorative statuary. All of our quality products are guaranteed for your satisfaction. Ask your dealer to show you all of the Pondmaster and ProLine® pond products.


Recommended Pump Sizes For Ponds
Approximate Pond Size Pump Size Liner Size
200 gal.
(3’x6’x18″ deep)
190-350 GPH 7’x10′ or larger
300 gal.
(4’x8’x18″ deep)
250-500 GPH 8’x12′ or larger
500 gal.
(6’x8’x18″ deep)
350-700 GPH 10’x12′ or larger
700 gal.
(7’x9’x18″ deep)
500-1200 GPH 11’x13′ or larger
1000 gal.
(8’x12’x18″ deep)
700-2400 GPH 12’x16′ or larger
2000 gal.
(10’x13’x2′ deep)
1200-3600 GPH 15’x20′ or larger
4000 gal.
(13’x17’x2.5′ deep)
2400-6000 GPH 20’x30′ or larger
6000 gal.
(16’x20’x2.5′ deep)
4000-12,000 GPH 25’x35′ or larger
For Extra Filtration Use The Pondmaster 1000 or 2000 Filter,
Resulting In A Cleaner Pond.

Determining Liner Size
Liner Size Finished Pond Size Depth Approx Gal.
8′ x 12′ 4′ x 8′ 18″ 350
10′ x 12′ 6′ x 8′ 18″ 550
16′ x 20′ 12′ x 16′ 18″ 2150

Formula for Gallons
Length x Width x Depth x 7.5
Example: 10′ x 20′ x 1.5′ x 7.5 = 2250 gal.