How To Build a Small Pond In Your Yard + 5 Small Pond Ideas

In this blog, Clearwater Creations will guide you through the process of installing a small pond. Let’s look at the following information:

1. How to Build a Small Pond

2. Working with the Pros vs. DIY

3. Five Small Pond Ideas

For more help with your pond planning, installation, or maintenance, contact Clearwater Creations.


Make your pond dreams a reality with Clearwater Creations!


Small Ponds

1. How to Build a Small Pond

A) Research

Before you go through the trouble of planning and installing a pond, contact your local municipality authorities. Some municipalities require residents to get a permit to install a pond. Or, you may need to install a fence around your pond. Find this information out first before you begin!

B) Choose a Location

Once you are cleared to install a pond on your property, it’s time to choose the location for your pond. Here are some tips:

  • Choose an area that will give your pond partial sun and partial shade. The more sun, the more algae, which can create an imbalance in your water quality

  • Do not choose a location directly under a tree or next to shrubs – you may damage their roots. Also, if your tree is deciduous, those fallen leaves will become waste in your pond (unless you have a good pond net, or a pond skimmer)

  • Consider if you will be using any electricity and where these electrical outlets are located near the house

  • Ask yourself if you would like to view or hear your pond from a back window or deck. Consider all of the main viewing areas. Where do you associate the most? How would you like to interact with this feature?

C) Choose a Pond Liner

Pond liners can be hard or flexible.

If you choose a hard liner that is preformed for you, you will know what to expect in the design of your pond and you will have shelves for plants and other compartments for equipment.

If you go with a soft EPDM rubber liner, you have more flexibility in terms of how you want to design your pond and how you will incorporate plants and equipment. To read more about different pond liners that are flexible and specific to ponds, click on this link to Aquascape’s page on Liners, Underlayment, and Geotextile.



D) Dig & Install


Small ponds should be between 2-3 feet deep, with 2 feet as a minimum. Fish hibernate in the bottom of your pond over the winter, so that extra foot of depth will make sure your pond doesn’t completely freeze over and your fish still have room for their winter slumber!

Install Pond Liner

Once the pond has been dug, clear the area of debris and rocks that might puncture the pond liner.

If you are installing a pre-formed pond liner, make sure it is level and back-fill the outer edges so that it is securely in place.

If you are installing a flexible EPDM rubber liner, first lay down a layer of protective underlayment to protect against rocks and roots. This will help ensure the longevity of the your pond liner. Then lay down the rubber liner over top of the underlayment. DO NOT cut the liner until after you’ve finished rocking in the pond.

Install Equipment

Your pond will require a pond pump as well as a filtration system to keep your pond water oxygenated and clean. The size of the filter will depend on how much water (gallons) you have in your pond. You can also choose between mechanical filters, biological filters, or both, which is what we recommend! Read “What You Need to Know About Pond Filtration” by Aquascape to learn why!

Another way to help keep water moving and oxygenated is by installing an aerator. An aerator is ideal if you plan on adding fish to your pond since this will help provide them with oxygen, even when the freezing temperatures return. Watch the video below to see how Aeration can keep your pond healthy, particularly during Ontario winters.


Keep your pond oxygenated by installing an aerator.


E) Add Plants and Fish

Plants and fish contribute to a healthy pond ecosystem. Plants absorb harmful toxins in your pond and add oxygen as well as nutrition and shelter for fish. They can also help add shade. Learn more about “What Plants Can You Have in Garden Ponds in Ontario”

Fish like Koi and Goldfish can also help keep water clean since they feed on algae and help keep it under control. Plus, they make great pets and are fun to watch. For more ideas on the best fish for backyard ponds, check out Chapter 3 of our Pond Guide: Pond Guide Chapter 3: Best Fish For Backyard Pond.

F) Maintain Your Pond


Keeping your pond clear of debris and leaves will keep your pond from increasing and harmful levels of ammonia. You can skim your pond with a net or even add pond netting over the surface of your pond in the Fall to help prevent waste buildup.


Spring is usually the time when you will do a full cleaning of your pond. Watch the video below to find out what all is involved in this process. Or, if Fall and Spring Maintenance isn’t your thing, or you simply don’t have time, you can hire staff from Clearwater Creations to do it for you! Discover Fall and Spring Maintenance Packages now.


Learn what is involved in Spring Maintenance or contact Clearwater for their Spring Maintenance Package!


2. Working with the Pros vs. DIY

After reading our section on how to build a small pond, it is probably a good idea to pause here and consider why having a professional like Clearwater Creations install your pond may be more advantageous than doing it yourself (DIY).

Three reasons to go with the Pros

Saves Time and Effort

The most obvious reason we suggest for hiring a pro for your pond installation is related to the amount of work and time involved. By hiring staff from Clearwater, you will save time – as well as your back. Even if you plan on installing a small pond, the digging, stone removal, and installation of equipment can require quite a bit of manpower. Having a professional do the work also means you will avoid beginner’s mistakes, which can eat up your time – and money!

Get Expert Advice & Installation

Clearwater staff are trained and experienced which means they can help you make wise decisions about your pond. They will know a) if you require permits, b) the best location for you pond, and c) what equipment is best suited for your pond. As trained horticulturalists, staff at Clearwater can also direct you in choosing plants that will thrive in and around their new home (your property!) They are also up to date on the latest technology.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

By hiring pros, you are ensuring your satisfaction with your pond from it’s installation to its long-term maintenance. Clearwater Creations has been around for over 10 years and will be there for your future needs, too – not just at the beginning. Save the trial and error of DIY and go with the Pros! Contact Clearwater Creations to get started.


Meet Joey (left) and Tim (right) of Clearwater Creations!


See some awesome pond ideas above!


Clearwater Creations

For expert advice, professional installation, thorough maintenance, and guaranteed satisfaction, contact Clearwater Creations!

In the business of helping people enjoy the pond life for over 10 years, these Certified Aquascape Contractors and Graduates of the Horticulture Technician Program from Durham College are proud to be among the best pond builders in the world. And they are proud to serve customers like you in Eastern Ontario! Read what customers are saying below.




“We highly recommend Clearwater Creations, Joey and Tim. We have had our pond for two years now. They did an amazing job – we love our pond.”

— Judy Conners

“Fantastic customer service. They are so friendly and helpful every step of the way.”

— Amber Dawn