Easy Step-By-Step Guide For Building A Garden Pond

How to build a garden pond

You’ve chosen to create a pond. Great! Now, where do you begin?

Here is our advice on ‘How to Build a Garden Pond.’
Since we have been making and installing pond liners for over 50 years, we have put together this helpful pond design guide that will walk you through the process of building a garden pond, from planning to installation to enjoying your lovely new pond.

Before beginning your digging, consider the following:

First of all, where should you place it? Consider putting your pond where you’ll have beautiful views most of the time to enjoy it most. It would be fantastic if you could position it so you can see it from the inside to ensure you can enjoy your pond even in bad weather. For the vegetation and water quality to remain at their best, your pond needs 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Green or murky water may develop from significant algae growth if your pond gets more than 6 hours daily. As some plants may require particular conditions to grow, make sure you find out which conditions are favoured by most of the plants you intend to add. Remember that if you want to place your pond in a partially shaded area, the amount of time needed for pond maintenance may increase due to falling leaves and other debris. Furthermore, placement near trees may result in later problems with sap loss or root growth and movement. And last but certainly not least, ensure there aren’t any buried cables or wires before you start excavating.

Think About Your Stock

Calculate how many inches of fish you can comfortably fit in the pond size you want. An overstocked Pond may result in poor water quality, damaging the health and growth of your fish and plants.

Note: Use the formula below to estimate your pond’s estimated volume in litres:

Maximum Length x Maximum Width x Maximum Depth x 1000

Example: A pond that is 4.0 metres long by 5.0 metres broad and has a depth of around 1.0 metres may hold about 20,000 litres of water.

Are you having a Waterfall?

If you want a waterfall, be sure there is enough space for it. Knowing where you want it in advance will save you a lot of time because you can place the soil you’ll need to build it up while digging the pond.

What Kind of Pond Do You Want?

Informal Ponds can be designed in any way you like and have a natural appearance. They often have sloping edges and softly varied depths. Aim to avoid complicated or tight curves that could restrict the water flow around the pond. Because of their flexibility, flat sheet liners are perfect for these ponds because they can adapt to variations in the excavation as you fill the pond.

How to build a garden pond

Larger Ponds with liner requirements in excess of 200m² that are complex in design may benefit from our staggered panels; simply Get In Touch with a dimensioned sketch or drawing, and we’ll be pleased to provide pricing for a custom-made staggered panel to perfectly suit your requirement.

Ok, Let’s Dive In!

Planning the shape of your pond is the first step you should take when you’re ready to begin.

  1. Using a piece of rope or hosepipe, trace the outline of your pond. Please ensure you are satisfied with your shape by checking it from several perspectives.
  2. Remove the rope or hosepipe once happy with the shape, and mark it by sprinkling sand around the edge.
  3. Just inside the sand line, begin excavating the pond crater. Keep the slope of the pond’s sides at 20 degrees to prevent soil from falling into the hole.
  4. If necessary, dig a set of steps that lead down to the pond’s bottom.
  5. Remove a strip of turf about 450mm wide and 50mm deep around the sand line to allow liner overlap.
  6. Verify that the pond’s edges are level all the way around by using a spirit level on a flat plank. If there are any low areas, fill them in with the excavation waste.
  7. The addition of water will highlight any abnormalities, so be sure that any underwater steps are level.
  8. Take out any stones or protruding objects that could hurt the liner.
  9. Compact the pond’s sides to prevent the chance of collapse.
  10. Your pond is now ready for lining!

How Do I Work Out What Size Flat Sheet Liner I Need To Build a Garden Pond, Then?

Measure the excavation by taking readings at its maximum length, width, and depth. Now, determine the size of your liner as follows:

Pond Length Plus 2 Times Pond Depth Plus 0.6m = Flat Sheet Liner Length (2ft)

Pond Width Plus Twice The Pond Depth Plus 0.6m = Flat Sheet Liner Width (2ft)

The extra 0.6m (2ft) is needed to allow for the liner’s perimeter anchoring (up to 0.3m (1ft) on each side), which can be done either below stones, railroad sleepers, secured in the ground in an anchor trench, or underneath the turf.

Calculate size to build a garden pond

Example of a pond calculation: 20 feet (6.09 metres) long, 12 feet (3.66 metres) wide, and 3 feet (0.91 metres) deep

Liner Length (Pond Length) = 20 feet (6.09 metres) + (2 x 3 feet (0.91 metres)) + 2 feet (0.61 metres) = 28 feet (8.53m)

Liner Width (Pond Width) = 12′ (3.66 metres) + (2 x 3′ (0.91 metres)) + 2′ (0.61 metres) = 20′ (6.09m)

In this case, a flat sheet of 28 feet by 20 feet, or 8.53 metres by 6.09 metres, would be needed to line the pond.

Ready to order? Click HERE for our lowest rates on rubber pond linings with FREE UK delivery!

Formal Geometric Vertical-sided ponds can be a stunning feature in any landscape. They are well-liked by Koi keepers and are simple to construct both above and below ground. You can easily purchase simple rectangular or square-shaped liners on our website that are designed to fit your formal pond perfectly. If you wish to edge your pond with sleepers, slabs, or coping stones, you will need a lip around the topmost edge of the liner. This is called a flange. A flange would typically range in size from 4 to 6 inches. Neatly tucking them under your edging materials will help maintain the stability of the pond’s edges.

If required, in addition, we can provide Polypropylene battening sold by the metre to fix the sides of your pond.

The pre-formed, three-dimensional box welded liners made by our expert technicians can be made specifically to fit stepped ponds with multiple depths and L-shaped and circular ponds.

Get in touch with us and send us a dimensional sketch or drawing, and we’ll be happy to give you a quote for a specially created liner to meet your needs.

Because we make every one of our liners just for you, you’ll never pay for more material than you need. You won’t have to worry about disposing of extra or discarded material. This is one of the best things about Butek Ponds’ liners.

Pipe Sleeves: Do I Need Them? What Do They Do?

You will require a pipe sleeve if your pond has a filler or overflow pipe that runs through the liner. These are specially constructed rubber pipe sleeves that seal to your liner and fit over the pipe to stop leaks. We can provide a custom-tailored rubber pipe sleeve kit for you that is simple to set up on location. Choose the suitable outer diameter from our store for pond liners, enter the desired number, and add it to the basket.

pipe sleeve diameter

Before sending your order to you, we can weld your pipe sleeve into your liner in our factory for a modest additional price. You only need to provide us with a sketch or drawing showing exactly where it should go. Use Get in touch to attach an image.

Pipe sleeves are available at both 90 and 45-degree angles.

Click HERE for our pipe sleeve-fitting instructions.


You’ll need to follow these few tips to install your liner. Your liner will be installed easily and quickly if you do so:

  1. Remove roots, stones, or other debris from the pond and its surroundings.
  2. Lay the underlay with at least 50mm of overlap between each strip, following the curves of the pond.
  3. Following the instructions on the packaging, unfold the pond liner, then move it over the pond with a flapping motion to ‘float’ it into position.
  4. Allow the rubber to naturally wrinkle and pleat to suit the curves of the pond without straining it as you place it. You can skip step 5 if you are not utilising an overlay and jump straight to step 6.
  5. Lay the overlay now similar to how you laid the underlay, and then cover it with dirt, sand, or stones by working your way outward toward the anchor trench from the centre.
  6. Water should be added to the pond, allowing the liner to slide easily into the hole and fill the contours. As the pond fills, you can straighten any creases or wrinkles. If you need to do this while in the pond, please remember that some shoes could harm your liner; therefore, so you must use extreme caution. Bare feet are best.

    Note: Children should be kept under close adult supervision while the pond is being built and filled.

    To avoid water loss from capillary action into the surrounding soil, the permanent water level of your pond should be at least 0.15 metres below the top of your liner. If you are using an overlay, be sure that its outer edge is below the edge of your rubber liner to avoid water “wicking” out of the pond and onto the surrounding soil. To prevent this, fold the edges of your rubber liner over the top of your overlay, adding 0.6m to the length and width of your liner. This will stop water from leaking into your pond through the geotextile protective material.
Rubber Pond Liner overlay
OR, to make sure your liner and geotextile layer(s) are entirely secure, construct an anchor trench.
Rubber Liner for Garden Pond

7. Depending on the design of your pond, a small quantity of extra liner material might exist. This can be cut down, but make sure to leave enough material so you can anchor the liner under the turf, stones, or railway sleepers. After you’ve finished trimming your liner and are satisfied, you can backfill the trench with dirt to secure the liner and underlay.

8. Complete any necessary edging detail.

Before adding any livestock, remember to follow instructions for establishing the pond and obtaining the right water quality.

You’ve just built a great pond. Now sit back and enjoy!

Building a garden pond is a fun and rewarding DIY project for any homeowner. By following this easy step-by-step guide, you can create your garden or backyard oasis in no time! If you run into any problems or have questions along the way, get in touch by using the form below or our Live Chat, and we’ll be happy to help! Thanks for choosing Butek Ponds as your go-to source for all things pond related!

Got a Question or need help?

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