Pond Design – Pond Construction

Natural Waterfall

Pond Design

It is important to work out your pond design before beginning any construction. Overlooking any essential factor can become very costly in terms of having to redo work already completed.

Pond Construction

One essential ingredient to consider in your pond construction is the depth of the pond.

Determining Pond Depth

There are many factors to consider when choosing a pond depth. These include climate zone, fish number, size and type, sunlight conditions, winterizing options, pond size, and shape.


As a rule of thumb, California Waterscapes has experienced that a two foot deep pond can support fish and plants year round in the extreme winter and summer temperatures. With proper precautions, a two-foot deep pond can be made to support aquatic life virtually anywhere.

Of course, another consideration is the building and safety requirements. Most city municipal codes have regulations that state that once a pond is over 2 feet it must be treated as a pool and must follow the same rules and regulations of pool safety such as fences and locked gates. In some cities, this is 18 inches. So keep that fact in mind in your pond design.

Our design consultants will help you determine the appropriate depth for your pond so that it will work with your location and your other pond elements. Contact us today for your Design Consultation and receive a design consultation with one of our expert water garden professionals.

Constructing Eco-system Pond

Determining my Waterfall Pool Size

If the water is going into a pond, the size of the pond in square feet of surface area needs to be 1 1/2 times the square footage of your waterfall and stream. For example, if your waterfall and stream is 20 feet long and 3 feet wide, then the pond should be 90 sq. feet.


Choosing The Best Pond Location

Natural Backyard Pond

Pond location and pond size are the two most important and, unfortunately, misunderstood aspects of pond design. So many people think the far corner of their property is the best location. People also believe low points in their yard that gather run-off when it rains are naturally suited to building a pond.

These are two of the worst locations to build a pond, yet people automatically assume they are the best.




The water feature needs to be brought up close and personal to the home. Low spots should be avoided because run-off water can pollute a pond and construction is often complicated because wet muddy soil is hard to work in. Excessive ground water levels can shift stone and cause bubbles in the liner.

Positioning a pond.

Place your water feature where people can enjoy it. Even outdoor-loving people spend 90% of their time inside the house. You should try to face the waterfalls toward the house. That way the waterfall is not only visible from the living area, but the sound it creates will echo through the home. When a pond can be seen and heard from the home, its enjoyment is increased dramatically.

Another location you might not have considered is a front yard water feature. Adding a water feature to your front yard adds true curb appeal.

One of our expert design consultants will help you find the perfect location for your pond. Contact us today for your Design Consultation.

Can I Build a Pond Beneath My Trees?

Ponds installed by trees

Obviously water is a magnet for wind-blown debris. Placing a pond beneath a tree only adds to the debris falling into the water.  But this is why skimmers were invented!

Skimmers are made to handle foliage falling into a pond. Leaves that drop into the pond in late fall do not, because of the sheer numbers, all make it into the skimmer.  As long as most of the debris is collected for you, surrounding trees do not prevent you from having a successful pond.

People also worry that tree roots will penetrate a pond’s liner and cause a leak and drastically disturbing a tree’s root structure can damage or even kill some trees.  Yes it’s true that a tree root is powerful enough to buckle a driveway or crack a sidewalk, yet they do not pierce a rubber liner.  The reason for this is simple. A tree root is programmed to hone in on moisture.  A pond has lots of water but (fortunately for the pond owners), a tree doesn’t know that.  Roots simply traverse the surrounding soil beneath a pond instead of going through a watertight barrier.



Ideally, the best idea is to build the pond outside a tree’s drip zone.  A pond is usually 2 ft. deep and if it’s located near a tree, you will most likely encounter roots from the tree that, if removed, can severely harm the tree. Not to mention the additional labor in digging out all the roots. For most trees, removing some of their roots and putting a pond over the top of them is not going to kill them but you should always take into consideration the type of tree you’re working with. For example, a silver maple is a lot more adaptable than a 100 year old oak.

Installation of Ponds

A naturally wooded lot does pose some design problems, however the aesthetic advantages that surrounding trees add to the setting of the pond make them advantageous to the overall look of the pond.

Our experienced design consultants will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about building a pond near an existing tree. Contact us today to request your Design Consultation.