How to build a pond for your water turtle.

I always wanted to have a backyard pond so I decided to learn how to build a pond. And since I had a turtle which outgrown my turtle tank I just had to build a pond for my turtle. I liked the idea of having my own pond full of fishes swimming around and my turtles bathing in the sun.

So I did a little research on topic on how to build a pond. I read a lot of pond building articles, watched some YouTube videos and finally I had enough info to make a pond myself. I combined all pond building information and made a plan on how to build a turtle pond.

In this article I will try to give you some tips and ideas so that you too can make your own pond. All by yourself. Of course I am still far away from being expert or anything close to that. I simply made a small pond for my turtle. And I think I did it really good and  I am happy with the results.

So let’s start and look how to build a pond!


Decide where to build a pond
First thing to do is to find a good place for your pond. ideally you should look for a place that gets some shadow during the day. It is not recommended for your small pond to be on all day sun exposure. You can quickly get  problems like algae growth,  too warm water, and animals also need a shadow. You can control sun exposure later on with plants like water lilies or lotus.

I didn’t really have much choice where to build a pond. This was only place available so I needed to make a smaller pond. I was also limited in depth of the pond (plumbing installation under).


Mark shape and size
Next I marked the outline of the pond with a garden hose. You can use a rope (much better suited for outlining the pond). Here you can experiment and try different shapes and sizes. Anything goes. As long you have enough space available.


Dig a hole
Once I had outlined my pond I started to dig. Yeah. There was a lot of digging. I started from outside in. I dug in layers so that pond would have slopes.  You can use a bob cat or back hoe but in true to form dad fashion I decided on a pick axe and a shovel.


Clean the hole from sharp objects
When done making the hole I made sure there are no sharp stones left in the pond. You don’t want anything sharp to tear pond foil later on.

Lay down some sort of soft materials to protect the pond foil
Next I laid some old sheets, curtains and other soft material. For pond foil protection. I guess I did overdo it.


Pond Foil
Now it’s time to put pond foil (liner) over the hole. I recommend to get foil specially for ponds (pond foil is thicker and more resistant). Normal foil can quickly tear or gets damaged. And you don’t want foil damaged once you have pond full of fish or other animals.


Fill in the water to evenly stretch the pond foil.
Finally I started to fill my pond with water.  Before you go to next step be sure your pond foil is not damaged (mark the water level and check back in a few hours). If foil is damaged you need to patch it up or replace. Better to do that now when just starting. It’s kinda hard to go and tear your whole pond down once you finished it just because foil had a tiny hole and was leaking.


Use stones to cover the foil
In this step I got a lot of stones from nearby river and one by one I stacked them up so the pond foil was not visible anymore (without slopes I would not be able to do that). Looks more natural this way. I did that with water in the pond but I guess it would be much easier to empty it before laying stones.



I wanted to have some kind of water fall so I stacked some larger rocks together and installed water pump. I used rocks to hide electrical cable and hose connected to pump. Nothing hard. Just make sure when working in water to turn off water pump. Safety first.

easy going pond plants

Plant Plants
All I needed to do know was to plan some plants inside and around the pond. I mainly used plants from a swamp nearby. Such plants are not hard to maintain and are nice addition to your pond. I also planted some larger bushes for partial sun protection. Remember, you don’t want your pond to be exposed to sun all day long.


Fence for turtles
Before I let my turtles into the pond I also installed a fence. So that my turtles don’t get any silly ideas. If your pond has only fishes then you don’t need the fence.


That’s basically all you need to know how to make a simple backyard pond. It is really easy to make, fairly cheap and you can make it in no time.

What About Pond Cleaning?

After the first winter I decided to clean my pond. How did I do that? Simple! I just pumped out the water, cleaned the pond surface with garden hose and shovel and filled the pond with new water.

As with every turtle addition there will be additional maintenance of the enclosure, I will however make a new post when it comes time for me to clean their outdoor home.

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