How to Build a Pond with a Pre-formed Liner

Ponds allow for the creation of beautiful water gardens in your yard. Many pre-formed ponds have pre-contoured shelves that are perfect for plants. Liners come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and depths, so there are many options to choose from while searching for a design that will suit your yard. 

Materials Required:

  • Sand
  • Rocks, patio or paving stones, or other edging material
  • Shovel/spade
  • Flat blade shovel
  • Measuring tape
  • Plank and level
  • Pre-formed liner
  • Wheel barrel
  • Stakes or pegs


  1. Place the pre-formed liner, right side up, in the exact spot your pond will be.
  2. Trace the shape of the liner using stakes or pegs around the outermost edges. The outline should be 4-6 inches larger then the actual liner. 
  3. Set the liner aside and dig the outlined area. Most liners have shelves, so dig to the level of the shelf closest to the top, position the liner in the hole, and then mark the positioning of the deeper shelves. Ensure that the hole is slightly deeper than the liner and that it is level.  
  4. Remove rocks/debris and add 2 inches (5cm) of sand to the bottom level and each of the shelves to protect the liner from damage. 
  5. Use the plank and level to ensure that the pond edges and shelves are level.  
  6. Insert the liner. The top edge of the liner should sit 1 inch below ground level.
  7. Backfill around the pond liner and compact the soil as you fill. 
  8. Put some water in the pond liner to help it settle into place. 
  9. Finish the edge with rocks edging material.
  10. Fill the pond completely with water.