How to build a pond

Some people enhance their gardens with a koi pond or a garden fountain, but what if you want a full-sized pond big enough for wading or fishing? Here’s what you need to know.

How much space do I?need?

Daryl Ross of D. Ross Excavating in Onsted, Mich., says he’s dug ponds ranging from one-quarter acre to 1 ½ acres, but he recommends that the size of the pond not exceed half of the size of the area it is to be installed in. So if you want a half-acre of water, an acre of space would be the minimum.

How much does digging a pond cost?

Cost is determined by a number of factors, but Ross says basic excavation will usually run between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on size. If you want a shoreline or sand for a beach or wading area, that will increase the price.

When is the right time to do it?

The best time to dig a pond is after the end of the spring rainy season, but before it gets cold — although Ross says ponds can be dug in the winter as well.

How long will the pond take to fill?

Once the pond is excavated, Ross says, you should start filling it with water right away. Otherwise nature will try to fill in the hole and dirt will wash back in with every rain. Typically, Ross says, it will take 45 to 60 days of running the hose nonstop to fill a new pond. Your electric bill will go up from running your pump that much, but it’s still cheaper than having water trucked in.

How much maintenance will it need?

The main maintenance task is keeping the pond free of algae, but Ross says he doesn’t spend more than $150 per year on algae-control chemicals for his pond.

You can also buy pond dye that will give your pond a nice tropical blue color, while also blocking some sunlight and inhibiting the growth of underwater plants.

Adrian (Mich.) Daily Telegram

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