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How to Setup a Pond and Patio

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How to setup a pond and patio for your backyard garden. Learn how to select fish and plants that will keep the water clear and balanced.

Setting up a small backyard pond.

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This ended up being a project that we hired out because we weren’t sure we could do a good job. I’m also pregnant so hauling stone was a no no this year. We also had a patio installed and a path to our deck stairs. This allows us to walk out to the patio without dragging mud everywhere during the muddy season.

As I didn’t do this myself, I can’t speak to the process, but I did want to show some photos from the installation that I took. You’ll notice snow in some of the photos. We had it installed in March once the weather warmed up… we’re in Maryland and haven’t gotten a real snow storm all winter, but the weather decided to oblige us with one real storm in between the pond and patio install.

I love how it came out. We already have resident frogs and I’ve begun adding plants.

Love the planters and trellis? My husband built those for me last year. I still haven’t written a post about them, but I promise I will. I’ve been hoping to get some photos with plants in the planters and vines crawling up the trellis first so expect something… sometime… this summer. Subscribe to my newsletter if you don’t want to miss the post.

How to Setup a Pond

Last year we had a plastic pond form, we dug out the area, then plopped some big rocks from around the yard around it. It worked, but I wanted something bigger and more attractive.

I also needed a better filtration system and the landscapers suggested a waterfall.

Who doesn’t love a waterfall?!

The sound is amazing.

We hired someone for the job and overall we’re really happy. The only thing I’d change is adding landscape fabric to the areas around the pond. We’ve had a lot of weeds grow through and yikes. I need to pull mulch and rock up to put the liner down because grass is growing through which is impossible to weed.

Before photos of the pond and patio area.
Liner and rock added to the bottom of the pond.
Additional rock, water, and waterfall added to the pond setup.

Setting up a Pond Patio

Patio install. Cleared area around the pond.
Stone laid for the patio around the pond.


Selecting Plants for a Pond

Plants make a huge difference in a pond and mine are still getting adjusted. We get a mix of shade and sun in that area.

We wanted to hide the underneath of the deck so we opted for some tall grasses in the back (in soil).

For inside the pond, I purchased three water hyacinths which expand quickly and float on the top of the water. They’re a really neat plant and they flower.

If I want to contain them so they won’t cover my entire pond, I was told to run a string across the area I want to keep them in. Once they hit the string, they won’t grow any further into the pond. I may do that, but I’ll let them go crazy first. I can always freecycle some of them.

Water hyacinths in a pond. These are pretty and easy to grow.
Water Hyacinths, early in season. I only purchased three as these will spread fast.
They will also produce lovely flowers.

I also purchased one Variegated Sweetflag plant in a 7.5 qt container and one Sagittaria in a 3.5 qt container as two plants that will grow tall and look nice placed in the back of the pond.

Sagitarria for the pond when I first purchased it and placed it in the pond.
Sagitarria. It’s looking pretty sad now, but I’m putting it a bit deeper in the pond and hopefully it will thrive as the season progresses.
Variegated Sweetflag plant
Variegated Sweetflag. Again… not looking great now, but this one will be put so the soil is about 1″ under the water and will hopefully grow.

For the bottom of the pond, I purchased some “submerged plants” (per listing at the pond store) which, I believe, include Anacharis and Foxtail.  My goal is to have a variety of plants in the pond to help create a natural system that can… at least partially… take care of itself. These submerged plants help manage the algae by consuming the nitrate that algae thrives on. Essentially, they starve the algae. Based on how much algae we’ve seen in the pond recently, I wish I’d purchased more of these. I got 6 bunches of them. Then I attached a rock to each bunch and sank them into the pond. The pond is 36″ deep at the lowest point which is ideal for the fish to survive the winter.

 Clear pond thanks to our UV light setup and plenty of plants.

The plant on the bottom left is one that I stole from my indoor aquarium. No idea of the name. The water was clear thanks to the UV light prior to putting this in, but it really cleared up the day after I put this in… I was surprised? Not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but my husband brought it up so that lends validity to the thought.

I planted four taller shade plants behind the pond that should hopefully in under the deck and hide it from view a bit. Hoping they grow well, otherwise I’ll need to add a couple more plants.

Cucumber plants and nasturium growing in planters by the pond.

I’m growing cucumbers and nasturium in the planters this year. I’m hoping the planters get enough sun for the plants to thrive and that the cucumbers cooperate with me to climb up the trellis.


Selecting Pond Fish

We also wanted to add some fish which meant waiting for the weather to warm up a bit. The fish store didn’t carry the fish or most of the pond plants in early April, despite the fact that our weather has been unreasonably warm. Similar to planting, I think they wait until the danger of frost passes. To my understanding, fish can survive the winter in a pond, but I assume it’s better for them to be well established before the winter weather hits to assure their survival. They’re expensive fish to gamble with.We were considering koi, but asked the pond place and they suggested avoiding them with our pond because they do not stop growing and it can be an issue… this is their “retirement pond”…

Yikkkkkes. Those are bigger than some peoples’ dogs. Honestly, they’re sort of freaky when you see them get that big….

Shubunkins and Japanese Fantails

They also apparently will eat the heck out of all the plants so… yeah. We got three Shubunkins (blue and orange) and three Japanese Fantails (orange).

Clearing Algae from the Pond with UV Lights

My pond did pretty well once the plants were added, but the frogs laid so many eggs in the pond over such a short period that it started to get a bit cloudy. I decided to pick up a UV light to clear the water. Make sure to check out the blog post on how to install the UV light with before and after photos from using it. The results are pretty amazing.

Electrical Additions to a Pond

Additional electrical outlet that was added under the deck for the pond filter and UV light in this small pond setup.

We ended up hiring an electrician to add an outlet to the pond area. We had too many things with wires running to the deck between our above ground pool filter, the filter for the pond, and the UV light.  I like how it’s tucked up into the underneath of the deck.


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How to setup a pond and patio.

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Google Web Story: How to Set up a Pond and Patio

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koi fish

Monday 4th of June 2018

Wonderful ideas!! I read your blog, and there I found information about how to set up pond. It’s beneficial information for us. Thanks for this information.