Backyard ponds are exploding in popularity not only in the United States but also in Europe and other parts of the world. Water features of all types are being installed at a rapid pace. Where do you start? Well, let's consider the options for constructing your own backyard pond.

In general, you can:

1. Hire a Pond Construction Company - As the demand for backyard ponds has expanded so has the number of companies ready to take on the job. Just like any other group, there are good ones and...not so good ones. Be sure to get the names and addresses of several of their customers and then, actually check them out. Happy customers are usually the best reference for any company. Check out the type of designs they use...are they a cookie cutter organization or do they offer custom designs for your particular situation. 

Make sure that the company has a good reputation for completing on time and within budget. Don't take chances on outfits that fail to clean up the mess after they are done. Once your tree is gouged by a reckless backhoe operator, it will never be the same.

The key advantage is (at least theoretically) that since these people are professionals, they will do a quick and proper job of it. Of course, the down side is that it will cost about two to three times as much as if you did everything yourself.

2. Do Some of the Work Yourself and Let the Company Do the Rest - If you are trying to balance money and time, you may be able to work out a deal with the pond installation company to allow you to gain some "sweat equity". Perhaps you can dig the hole and they can install the pond. Then, perhaps you can do the landscaping on your own too.

Labor costs, of course, usually make up the largest part of any construction project. The more you can do yourself, the lower the final cost. However, keep in mind that the professionals may have the tools and experience to avoid some problems. You will also have to work around their particular schedule.

If you decide to go this route, be sure to have everything in writing. You need to know exactly what the company expects you to do and when it is to be done.

3. Do Everything Yourself As the old saying goes, "Building a pond is not brain surgery." However, it does take a certain amount of planning, skills and physical labor to build your own pond. If you decide to go this route, be sure to consult with everybody you can regarding their experiences in building a pond. Read every book and check out all the websites and then try to figure out what pieces of information apply to your situation.

A local water garden club is a great place to get started. Without a doubt, you will find people there who have gone through the ups and downs of pond construction with some of them having build multiple times.  Tap their experiences, both good and bad, before you make your final decisions on choosing a site, equipment, fish, etc. Again, you can take their input and filter it through your own experience and needs.

Regardless of the method you decide to use, the key to your success will be for you to gather as much information as possible before making your decision. The one thing you will know for certain after you have read all the books and talked to all the people is that there are many ways to build a backyard pond. Everyone will have a different idea and approach. What you must determine is which parts of the information are pertinent to your needs and desires.
What are your goals for your backyard pond?

The key reason for the seeming disparity of advice that you will receive when you start to consider a backyard pond is that each person has his or her own goals for their pond. These goals may or may not be the same as yours.

For example, they may want to raise large, championship koi while you only want a few cute fish swimming around for you to view. They may want a pond as a reflecting pool while you want the sound of the constant rush of water over rocks. They may have a site in the deep shade while your pond will be in 100% sunlight. They may be someone who will spend $10 to save $5 while you just want good value for your dollars. They may be a stickler for every little detail while you just want a nice, little pond in your backyard and don't want to spend a lot of time worrying about it.

Another reason for consulting a wide range of sources for information is the tendency of people to base their advice on "anecdotal observations" rather than on science or controlled research. Whatever they happened to do worked for them so, therefore, it must work for everyone else too. This is often not the case.

What factors do I need to consider?

To help you make these basic decisions about your pond, we have gathered together information from a variety of sources. We have attempted to divide them into logical units to help you through the thought process. 

Here is an index of the pages included in PondsGalore:

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