How to Make a Water Feature for Your Backyard Garden
This a great project to do with kids age 4+. A simple way to incorporate a small water feature into your backyard garden area.
This simple DIY pond is inexpensive and makes good use of materials a lot of people already have on hand. The water feature pictured here took about 4 – 5 hours to complete from digging to floating test boats.
Nana’s helper for this project is 4 years-old and was a great help. She enjoyed every minute of creating the little pond and had even more fun playing in it, from making and floating various boats and rafts to having beach adventures with her dolls or pretend fishing.
The completed feature can be used as a meditative reflecting pool, a bird bath, small fish habitat or just for fun as a children’s water-play area.
Add a solar water fountain and viola! Can you say relaxing oasis. Add a hammock and some sparkly lights and you’ll never want to leave your new happy place. A calming get-away in your own back yard.
There are a few things to keep in mind before we begin, safety being the main one. The water feature we built was more in the range of a bird bath depth, no more than 18″ deep in the deepest spot. Check with your municipality to make sure your water feature meets safety specifications for your particular area. We made ours super small so we didn’t have to deal with any of that.
We selected a location in a neglected corner of the backyard that got morning sun. We collected flat rocks for the edging in advance. That was fun too, like a scavenger hunt in the woods and along the river near our house, we collected all manner of rocks and driftwood (fairy sticks) over several nature walks to use for this project.
We used a tarp for the liner but you can use whatever you have on hand this is waterproof and big enough to line the whole pond.
- small poly tarp (we chose a blue one but some people like a black liner if it’s going to be a reflective feature)
- rocks – flat ones for the edging, any rocks you like for the rest
- water access
- hose or bucket
- plants (suited to shade/sun of your location)
Choose a location in your yard, preferably not under a tree or in direct all-day sun. We chose a corner location in part-sun and part-shade.
Dig a kidney-shaped hole approximately 3′ x 2′ x 12-18″ deep. A kidney shape fits nicely into a corner but you can really make yours any shape you like.
Pour a bit of water into the hole to settle the dirt at the bottom. Shape the mud to form a smooth bottom and press the edges firmly to set the shape. Fill the hole with more water until you can see where the water level meets the outer edges. Note any low spots and add layers of mud to the low edges until it’s level all the way round. You can leave an over-flow section for freshening the water and the overflow provides water for plants in the garden.
For the liner, lay the tarp (or other waterproof barrier) out flat and roughly draw the shape onto it with a permanent marker, leaving extra material for the depth and over hang around the outside edge. It’s better to leave too much around the edges and cut it off later than to make it too small and have to cut a whole new one. We used a double layer for this one.
When the liner is cut out lay it over the hole, centering it evenly all the way round. Use a garden hose or buckets of water enough to start to fill the liner, just until it begins to sink and lay flat against the bottom of the hole.
Adjust the liner and smooth out wrinkles around the sides as they appear. It is hard to shift the liner around once the feature is completely filled with water.
Trim edges of the liner and place flat rocks around the outside edge. Landscape the edging however you like, add plants, flowers, statuary, driftwood…
Get Your Creative On!
NOTE: To keep water fresh and to keep mosquitoes out it’s best to freshen the water feature a couple of times a week with the garden hose. If you don’t have a hose you can scoop some of the water out with a bucket and add fresh water with the bucket. Another good reason to keep it small.
Better yet, invest in and install a solar-powered, floating water fountain to help aerate the water and keep it algae and mosquito free.
If you try this project we’d love to see a photo. Post a photo of your masterpiece on Nana’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/GetCreativeWithNana
For more creative ideas visit Nana on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/getcreativewithnana