5 Tips to Building a Low-Maintenance Backyard Pond

A nice little low-maintenance backyard pond sounds lovely.

So you head out back with a shovel and a garden hose and wonder out loud where you can get a few pretty fish to toss in.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Building a backyard pond is a bit more complicated than that.

Where’s the best place to put one? How do you keep it clean and healthy? How do you make sure your low-maintenance pond is actually low maintenance? 

Put down that shovel (and those fish, yikes) and let’s take a closer look.

1. Location, Location, Location

Maybe you already know the perfect spot. If not, here are some things to consider to help make sure your low-maintenance backyard pond is actually low maintenance:

pond with lily pads

  • Aim for a mix of sun and shade. Your pond needs sun to help its plants grow. It needs shade, too, to keep it from overheating and producing algae blooms. Ideally, ponds should receive sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon to keep the water cooler.

  • Away from trees, please. Leaves, seed pods and pine needles will quickly clog your pretty pond. You don’t want to spend all your free time on maintenance.

  • Check the rules. Your municipality might have regulations about how far a pond has to be from property lines.

2. Filtration, Filtration, Filtration — and Circulation

These are both super important for a healthy, low-maintenance pond. 

You don’t want stagnant, murky water and gross algae gunking up your pond. 

Excess debris from leaves that blow into your pond or pond plants that die can decompose and muck things up. 

pond with natural waterfalls at signage

The right filtration and circulation systems are a must. 

A mechanical filter will collect debris lickety split before it can sink to the bottom of your pond and rot. 

A biological filter gives beneficial bacteria a place to grow that will help keep your pond water clean and clear. 

A waterfall or bubbler handles circulation, helping maintain the right oxygen levels, keeping bad bacteria at bay and making sure your pond stays fresh and clean.

3. Don’t Skimp on the Liner

Don’t cut corners here. Pros recommend a synthetic rubber 45-mil-thick EPDM liner when you’re building a backyard pond.  It’s durable, UV resistant, and flexible to -40 degrees F.

Read our Detailed Guide to Planning your Landscape Design in Idaho
Plastic liners of polyethylene or polypropylene are cheaper, but they’re also thinner, lighter, and not as tough. Don’t cheap out.

4. Building a Backyard Pond?  Don’t Forget Plants

Pond plants play all sorts of important roles, from filtering water to absorbing the nutrients from fish waste that would otherwise feed algae. Floating plants like water lilies, water hyacinth and water lettuce work hard in your low-maintenance pond and look pretty, too.

pond with plantings and natural water falls

5. Perhaps Ponder a Pond Pro

You’re talking a lot of digging. Is digging your favorite thing? Unless you’re a mole, we didn’t think so.

Also, building a backyard pond involves mixing water and electricity. Yikes. You don’t want to mess around with that combination.

And, as you get started, you’ll realize there are a whole bunch of questions that pop up that you might have no idea how to answer. 

pond with rocks and natural plantings

Like, how deep to make your pond if you want fish? What else do fish need? How will you add water when it needs topping off? What about the power you need to run the pump? Oh yeah, what type of pump is best?

Hmmmmm. You get the idea.

How to build a backyard pond? 

Maybe leave this one to the pros. Plus, they’ll have cool ideas that might not even have occurred to you.

Building a Backyard Pond in Idaho Falls? Call Outback

Sure, you can dig a hole in the ground. Then pass the Advil, please.

Or, leave your low-maintenance pond design and installation to the pond pros at Outback in Idaho Falls. We blend beautiful water features into your landscape with natural rocks and pretty plants.

Want more drama? Outback designers can help you incorporate a stream or waterfall. Waterfalls are great to aerate the water and provide that amazing soothing sound of running water.

Need somebody to drop by to check on your pond, keep your filters clear of debris, maintain the water quality, and winterize it for you in the fall?

Count us in. 

Outback Landscape is a full-service landscaping company offering landscape design and installation in Idaho Falls, ID and throughout Southeast Idaho and Wyoming. 

We install beautiful, functional landscapes. But our work doesn’t stop there. We’ll stay with you for the long haul, taking care of your property through all four seasons.

We serve residential and commercial properties in Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Pocatello, Idaho, as well as Bonneville, Madison and Bannock counties.

Call us at 208-656-3220. Or fill out the contact form to schedule a no-obligation meeting with one of our team members.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Get Started Today