Building a Pond on a Budget

Frog sitting on the side of a pond

Find yourself a vessel that is able to securely hold water, and you’re already halfway to creating an amazing personalised pond.

There’s plenty of cheap methods you can use to achieve this, and a whole host of spectacular ponds that can be built on a shoestring budget. Our team at Pond Planet have compiled some easy-to-digest information on designing and building your own patch of paradise.


gate leading to a garden

The first thing to consider is how much space you have to play with. It’s important that a pond complements your outdoor space rather than overpowering it, after all, this is a place that you ultimately want to relax in.

Size up your garden and bear in mind important elements such as which parts of the garden enjoy the most sun and shade. If your pond isn’t intended for wildlife, but rather for basking by the water, you’ll want to place it in a sunnier location. If you’d like the pond to attract nature, placing the pond in a shaded area will be more beneficial for frogs, fish and other animals.


Group of lillypads on top of water

Second up: how do you want your pond to appear? It may seem an obvious consideration, but it’s important that you plan every aspect of a budget pond project so that costs don’t overrun and you don’t get carried away.

Money spent on materials can soon mount up, so first decide how you want your pond to look. Then you can go about sourcing the most cost effective items to achieve the desired effect.

Do you want your pond to sit above ground, party submerged, or inground? If so you will also need to address which materials you’re going to use to contain and surround the pond during design.


Now comes the fun part; designing your budget pond. You’ll want to pick a container that complements your garden for the best cost; we’ve compiled a list of options and their benefits to give you a few ideas.

  • Tires – Old or unwanted tires make fantastic pond structures. Simply submerge the tire into an evenly levelled hole, layer the bottom with sand and (carefully) cut the top section of the tire away around the rim. You’re then ready to line the edge of the tire with decorative stone or planting before filling it with water.
  • Containers – A watertight container such as a pot or even a sturdy, plastic storage box can be used to form the structure of your pond. Submerge the container so that the rim is at ground level and the body is hidden beneath the ground, or display a pot decoratively and make a visual display with a recirculating pond pump.
  • Whiskey Barrels – Whiskey barrels can be repurposed as a visually appealing pond, oozing with rustic charm. If you plan to use a large barrel to keep fish, be sure to check that the barrel is purpose-made, does not contain potentially harmful resins and has been treated first.
  • Paving Stones – Repurpose those unused paving stones by building a raised pond with your surplus materials. Not only is this cost effective, it will also tie the pond into your garden, carrying the matching stonework theme throughout.
  • Wooden FramesOld pallets, planks and railway sleepers can be used to frame a pond, creating an effortless, natural look which ties seamlessly into an array of garden designs.
  • Farm Stock TubsThough pretty pricey when bought brand new, farm stock tubs can be found and picked up for less in car boot sales and flea markets. The plastic tubs are great as a sturdy, submerged container, while the galvanised metal tubs look great as a feature about ground.
  • Pond Liner If simple and traditional is what you’re looking for, it doesn’t come much cheaper than a bit of manual DIY. Dig out your own design and use a pond liner to watertight the structure of your hole.

Remember; unless treated, many budget pond structures will not be suitable for supporting a population of fish and are meant for decorative purposes only.

Easy-to-install, affordable options such as pre-formed ponds are a hassle free means of enjoying a pond in your exterior living space that’s able to support fish and plant life too.

Have you got any budget pond ideas of your own? Is there anything else you’d like to know?

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