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12 Best Easy DIY Pond Ideas For Garden & Patio

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12 best DIY pond ideas & tutorials, from easy kits for small garden & patio water feature to beautiful backyard waterfall with plants & fish!

A pond can be such a magical addition to a garden, a backyard or even a small patio. While a pond or water feature looks amazing, there are many easy ways to create a beautiful pond or simple fountain with minimal work.

best DIY pond ideas & tutorials, from easy kits for small garden & patio water feature to beautiful backyard waterfall with plants & fish!

In this guide, we will look at tutorials and ideas such as how to create simple free-standing pond perfect for a small patio, or use easy kit with simple pump and piping to create a small waterfall pond in your backyard. We will end with inspirations on using beautiful plants and landscape features to enhance the beauty of your pond, plus resources such as Koi pond and winter pond maintenance. For more, here are 52 Best landscaping ideas & designs for front & backyard garden and 58 inspiring outdoor patio design and decor ideas!

Follow safety guidelines and local building requirements.

Before starting any DIY pond no matter how shallow it is, it’s important to follow safety guidelines such as how to make a pond child-safe. In California for example, a pond deeper than 18 inches requires a permit and a 5’ tall pool fence. In general, it’s a good idea to keep a pond less than 12” deep unless you want to have larger fish like Koi (see resources at the end).

*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

People often ask if a pond should be in sun or shade. In most cases morning sun is great. If a pond does not have shade from plants such as water lilies or trees, the water can get too warm for fish, or develop algae growth.

You may also love: 12 beautiful DIY garden shade structure ideas!

Now Let’s start with some easy no-dig DIY pond ideas!

The easiest DIY pond from a tub and a solar pump

easiest DIY pond from a galvanized tub and a solar pump

This easy DIY pond only takes an hour to create! We used layers of plantings in pots. The pots are filled with dirt and a top layer of pea gravel.

Solar pump requires no wiring and is a great way to create an instant water feature on your patio. Check out the tutorial and a list of easy care water plants here!

Water Lilies in a tub

If you want to grow Water Lilies of have a fish pond, you will need a bigger tub like this garden pond. The plants and fish will keep the water clean and free of mosquito larvae.

Easy DIY garden pond and water feature kit

 easy patio pond & water feature kits with bowl or pot fountain

These easy patio pond & water feature kits make it simple to have a DIY water garden in almost any setting — no shovel required. See the DIY patio pond video tutorial below on how you can easily transform any outdoor or indoor space with a beautifully planted water bowl or container water garden!

The dense planting in these small ponds and DIY water gardens look so lush, and they help prevent algae growth. You can also add small goldfish to make them even more beautiful.

Wood box DIY patio pond

Never thought you could make a modern pond water feature from a small wooden box that fits on a small balcony, deck, or patio. And it’s easy to build! The secret is to use liquid rubber waterproof sealant to seal the wood, or use a piece of pond liner. Tutorial on BHG.

This DIY rectangle shape wood pond from Family Handyman looks great in both traditional and modern style gardens.

Once constructed, fill the planter section in this little pond with a mixture of ferns, grasses, rocks and ornamental items!

Wine barrel DIY garden pond

wood wine barrel or whiskey barrel   DIY pond water feature on patio

Rustic wine barrels or whiskey barrels are perfect for a DIY water garden. They are large enough to hold many plants and gold fish like in this photo.

How to build a garden pond with liner

If you love natural ponds, these DIY backyard ponds will require some digging, but still very achievable. It’s a good idea to keep the pond depth at less than 12” if you don’t plan to keep Koi or other large fish in the pond. (See resources section at the end for Koi ponds. )

Remember: always follow safety guidelines and local building codes when working with water pipes and electrical connections. 

diagram for DIY garden pond with liner , pump, and waterfall

To build a simple and easy small garden pond, just dig the pond area and add pond liner. Secure with rocks. Add natural looking rocks and plants around the border. Tutorial for simple DIY pond here, diagram for building your own backyard pond with waterfall here.

dig the pond area and add pond liner

You can also add aquatic plants, solar pump, and small fish inside the pond.

DIY pond with Preformed rigid pond liner

beautiful DIY pond and mini waterfall  with a preformed pond liner

Susan at Oh-My Creative build their beautiful DIY pond with a preformed pond liner. The mini waterfall adds delightful sounds in this backyard pond.

DIY pond with Preformed rigid pond liner

Another variation of a DIY pond with preformed pond liner and a spillway. Tutorial here.

DIY pond with waterfall

DIY pond with waterfall

Many of us dream of a backyard pond with waterfalls. It is actually easy to add a small waterfall to a pond with stacked stone. Tutorial here.

DIY garden pond with stream

design a backyard DIY garden pond with stream

If you can create a garden pond, you can use the same methods to build a series of small DIY ponds connected as a stream in a sloped backyard. Tutorial here.

DIY garden pond with stream

Water feature in a garden pond

garden DIY water feature with over-flowing pots above a hidden pond

You can add water feature such as over-flowing pots to a garden pond, or make it into a hidden pond, which means the reservoir is underneath and covered by things like pebbles on a sturdy metal grate. Tutorial here.

This is a good option if you are concerned about pet or child safety around water.

Landscape design ideas for a beautiful garden pond

wooden bridge over a garden pond with fish and lily

There is something really magical about a bridge over a garden pond. You can easily find pre-made wooden bridges. Via BHG.

beautiful white garden bridge over a pond

You can also build a small bridge and paint it with you favorite color like this beautiful white garden bridge.

pergola and lily pond with koi fish in garden

What better way to enjoy your beautiful garden pond than sitting under a pergola? Via BHG.

 DIY pond ideas with modern wood deck for small garden & patio water feature

Create an attractive outdoor space by adding landscape design features such as deck and patio next to a garden pond. Tutorial here.

garden pond and waterfall with rocks, plants and flowers

A nice mix of plants can make a backyard pond look lush and natural. The colorful Day Lilies around this pond are easy to grow and flower year round in warmer climates.

Additional resources :

To have a beautiful and healthy pond is both a science and an art. A pond is an ecosystem when you have fish, plants, and wildlife. It is impossible to cover everything in one article. Here are some additional resources.

backyard small pond and waterfall plan with filter, pump, water garden plants and flowers

A Koi pond is beautiful but more complicated to build and maintain. Here is a good place to start your research on how to keep a healthy Koi pond ecosystem.

A beautiful pond and small waterfall  with lots of colorful flower plants and fish
Photo via BHG.

A healthy pond with lots of plants and fish requires good filtration and seasonal maintenance to encourage balance of water PH and beneficial bacteria. If you live in colder climates and have a pond with fish, pump and filter, check out these good tips on fall and winter pond maintenance.