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How To Dig A Backyard Pond

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If you are tired of how your backyard looks, one easy way to add some extra visual appeal to it is by adding a pond. With a few free days, you could rent a backhoe and dig the pond yourself.

Figuring Out Pond Placement

Before you go and rent a backhoe, you first need to figure out where you want to place the pond. Think about how you use your backyard. Do not place the pond in a high traffic area. Instead, look for a spot that is underutilized for your pond. You should also consider the type of fish and plants you want around your pond. If they need lots of sunlight or shade, you should also take that into consideration when choosing your pond placement.

Measuring Out Your Pond

Once you choose where you want your pond, you will need to measure out its boundaries. You need to use measuring methods that will be easy for you to spot from your backhoe, such as the following:

  • Athletic Field Chalk: You can purchase athletic field chalk from your local athletic store. Athletic chalk is easy to apply to both dirt and grass. Since it is bright white, it will be easy for you to spot from your backhoe. Plus, all you need is some water to wash it off.
  • Survey Stakes: If you want something more permanent to mark the boundaries of your pond with, you can hammer survey stakes into the ground. However, these are not so easy to see from your backhoe, which is why you will want to tie a bright ribbon around them to make them easier to spot.
  • Spray Paint: If you don't want your lines to wash away, instead of using athletic field chalk, you can use a bright shade of non-toxic spray paint. The lines should be easy to see, and you don't have to worry about running into anything with your backhoe. 

Digging The Pond

If you are digging a relatively small pond, under 25 square feet and only 2 to 3 feet deep, you probably only need to rent a backhoe for the weekend. If you want to dig out a larger and deeper pond though, you may want to rent a backhoe for a whole week or for a couple of different weekends. You will also want to rent a front loader or dump truck to haul away all the dirt you are digging up if you don't have a place you want to put it.

  1. First, you will want to use the edge of the backhoe bucket to scrape away all the small plant life that is already growing in the area. If you have any big shrubs or trees where you want your pond to be, you may want to deal with removing them before you rent your backhoe.
  2. Next, you should start digging in the center of your pond, and work your way towards the outside edge. You should stop occasionally and use a depth stick to measure how deep you are digging. It can be hard to eyeball how deep you have dug from the backhoe. That way, you can ensure the pond is as deep as you would like before you move on.
  3. Once you reach the edge of your pond, start at the center again and work out in the opposite direction toward the edge of your pond. You should have a trench through the middle of your pond now. Move over a little bit from your first trench and repeat this process again and again until you have dug out your entire pond.
  4. Depending on the size and depth of your pond, you may need to unload the dump truck or front loader you rented a few times. To make the most of the time you have with your rented tools, you should enlist the help of a friend to unload the dirt for you.

Digging a pond in your backyard is not too difficult if you have the right tools and know-how. But if you don't feel comfortable using the equipment yourself, you can measure out where you want your pond and hire a general contractor to dig it out for you.