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How do I Build a Swimming Pond?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are a number of different ways to build a swimming pond depending on the size and type of pond you are interested in building. One thing you should be aware of, however, is that building a pond is a fairly complicated task and you may do well to consult with a contractor before beginning the project. You will need to dig the pond itself, create the walls of the pond using a liner and support or soil that is high in clay content, and consider filtration and aeration systems. Your swimming pond may also include plants or animals and you should consider these aspects of your pond as you build it.

No matter how you ultimately decide to build your swimming pond, the first step should typically be planning the pond. You should consider consulting with several professional contractors with experience in building swimming ponds to find someone who will work to make your vision a reality on a budget with which you are comfortable. Consider different locations on your property to build the swimming pond, and watch how rain water or melting snow naturally lays on your property to find the best location.

Your swimming pond should likely include a small beach area, to make getting in and out of the pond easier, as well as some shallows for vegetation. Plants such as water irises and lily pads are often found in these types of ponds and you may want to consider these as you plan. You will also want to consider the shape and design of your pond, as well as the physical needs of your pond to remain solid and stable.

Most natural swimming ponds are shaped like a bowl, with sloping sides that lead down toward the deepest part. You can utilize this natural shape to make your pond easier to build, and not require hardware such as lumber to support the structure. A liner can be placed along the surface of the pond to prevent excess water penetration, or you can use soil that is high in clay content. This typically requires about 20% clay content, and you may need to purchase this soil for your swimming pond.

The actual building process typically consists of digging and moving a great deal of dirt, so you will need some heavy equipment. This is where working with a contractor can really make the process easier. You should also consider an aerator for your pond to ensure proper oxygenation and avoid striation, especially if you plan on having fish or turtles in your pond. For a fairly shallow pond, a surface aerator is often sufficient, but for a deeper swimming pond you should consider a bottom aerator.

If you are in an area with heavy rain or snow fall throughout the year, you can allow your pond to fill naturally, and this can be quickened by routing runoff from your roof gutters into the pond itself. You will also want to include drainage for your swimming pond, so it does not flood during seasons of excessive rain. This should usually run toward a drainage ditch or similar flood runoff around your property.

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