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9 Steps To Building A Backyard Pond Paradise In Des Moines

The weather in the Des Moines area is amazing from the start of May to about the end of September. It’s the perfect time to be outside enjoying nature.

But, not many people are taking advantage of this.

If you want an awesome reason to go outside, a koi pond could be perfect for you.

Koi ponds are a great way to get anyone outside. They look amazing, are always unique, and are plain cool to look at. They come with many other benefits too, which is why installing one is a great idea!

Beautifully built backyard pond

For many people, “pond installation” can sound kind of scary at first. It sounds like someone is going to come in, rip apart your backyard, put in a pond, and then leave.

We know people who have been through an ordeal like that.

Nobody deserves to have to deal with that.

That’s why we have a proven process for building backyard ponds! We, and now you, can use these 9 steps to build a backyard pond for your Des Moines home:

  1. Plan your backyard pond
  2. Dig out the area
  3. Install the equipment
  4. Lay down the liner
  5. Add rocks and gravel to the bottom
  6. Put in any additions
  7. Fill up your backyard pond with water
  8. Clean up
  9. Enjoy your newly built backyard pond

Let’s take a closer look at what each step involves. The most common pond size is 10′ x 15′, so let’s use that measurement for this example.

You can clear up any questions with our common pond questions and answers post >>

1. Planning Your Backyard Pond

This first step is probably the most fun, besides the last step.

You can make it whatever shape and design you want, so have some fun with it! Just don’t get too crazy.

Keep in mind you’ll want it to be in a place where it can be seen from almost anywhere (including inside).

If you have trees in your backyard it can be nice to place the pond under it. The pond will have shade and be cool, making it harder for algae to grow. This does mean you’ll need pond netting during fall to catch any falling leaves.

Outline your backyard pond design with spray paint. Once you have your ideal design, it’s time to start digging.

Client outlining his design choice for his backyard pond

2. Dig Out The Area You Outlined For Your Backyard Pond

This is the step that stops most people from building their own backyard pond.

It is pretty intensive labor, especially if it’s hot outside (trust us). That’s why having people to help is great for this step.

You can also rent a backhoe to dig out your garden pond. Though it increases costs, it can save you a lot of time.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when digging your backyard pond:

  • Dig about 12″ down for the first shelf
    • you can place some of your favorite aquatic plants here
    • it should be around 1′ wide
  • Then, dig 24″ deep for the rest

Digging can be difficult because 24″ down is where the majority of tree roots are

Shelf dug out for pond

3. Install Your Pond’s Equipment

You’ll be using this equipment to keep your pond clean, clear, and working smoothly. The 2 pieces of equipment that should come with every backyard pond in Des Moines are:

  1. A biological waterfall filter (aka biofalls) which uses beneficial pond bacteria to keep the water clean
  2. A mechanical filter (aka skimmer) to catch sticks, leaves, and other debris

You can also put in other add-ons like IonGens to help your pond.

Find out what IonGens are and how they help your pond >>

Biofalls as part of of an ecosystem pond

4. Laying The Liner

Before the liner comes the underlayment. This part helps protect the liner from tears from beneath.

Then lay down the liner on top. This helps keep water in your backyard pond and out of your yard.

Laying it down incorrectly or damaging it can cause a leak, which costs more money to fix.

Liner installation usually takes a while since it has to precisely attach to the skimmer and filter.

Some tips to keep in mind when laying the pond liner are to:

  • Use 45-mil EPDM line
  • Extend it over the edge by one foot
  • Anchor it with rocks
  • Make sure it isn’t very wrinkled
  • Extend the liner behind your waterfall

5. Add Rocks & Gravel To The Pond Bottom

Now it’s time to rock out!

Start with the large stones first, placing them around the edge and on the shelf. This will help hold the liner in place.

Use normal rocks, not decorative or colorful ones. When placing them, it’s best to ensure the pond-side of the stone is the smoother one so your koi have less chance of hurting themselves.

Covering the liner with rocks and gravel brings many benefits:

  • A more natural look
  • Protection for the liner
  • A place for beneficial bacteria to grow
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Your backyard pond deserves more than just a plain, black liner bottom.

Pond bottom staggered and almost fully rocked out

6. Install Any Additions

You can take building your backyard pond in Des Moines to the next level!

Using add-ons can decrease maintenance and/or increase your enjoyment. Some automatically do the work pond owners need to handle and you can use others to make your pond look even more amazing.

Making your pond better is easier than ever, especially with all of today’s options:

  • LED lighting
  • Autodosing system
  • Autofill line
  • Aerator

All you need to do is choose the ones you want when building your garden pond.

Underwater LED lighting addition for ponds

7. Refilling Your Backyard Pond

Now you get to test it to see if it works!

Wait for a week or two to ensure the water stays in the pond. Once you’re sure everything is in order, you can start introducing your fish:

  1. Put fish in an open plastic bag
  2. Place bag in the new pond water
    • don’t let the water into the bag
  3. Slowly let some water into the bag every few minutes for 15 minutes
  4. Let your fish out of the bag
  5. Enjoy watching your fish swim around in their new home
Garden hose spewing water

8. Clean Up The Area

This part is so vital, yet contractors tend to skimp on it.

Cleaning the area and setting everything back to right is what sets great contractors apart from the rest.

It can be hard to enjoy an awesome, newly built backyard pond if the rest of the yard is a mess.

9. Enjoy Your Newly Built Backyard Pond

You can finally sit back and relax next to your slice of paradise.

Backyard pond next to fully furnished patio

What Will Your Backyard Pond Look Like?

Stream, waterfalls, fountains, and so many other options are ready to be made a part of your backyard pond. Each one is as unique and special as every homeowner is.

But, not everyone has the time to build their own backyard pond.

You can learn about our pond installation service >>