Create A Pond In A Box

  • Create a pond in a box

Normally, installing a fishpond involves digging a sizeable hole in the ground, which in turn means hours of back-breaking toil with a spade and shovel.

This pond requires much less elbow grease, with an elevated design that comprises a simple box with a pond liner for a no-dig solution.

Before you start, check with your local council to find out the maximum permitted depth of a water feature before any fencing is required.

In many areas a maximum depth of just 300mm is allowed. This legislation was introduced to protect young children from tragic accidents.

The elevated design of this project makes it a safer option than a typical in-ground pond, as it’s less likely that a toddler could trip and fall in.

Choosing a suitable location is important, since prolonged direct sunlight will excessively heat up the water, promoting algae growth.

Even worse, it would only take one severe summer scorcher for your goldfish to cook in their pond.

You will also need to install the pond close to an outdoor power source so you can connect the pump that supplies the fountainhead.

Choose the materials

Use concrete stepping stones and roadbase as a foundation, with H4 treated pine for the footing plates and baseboards. The rest of the structure can be built from H3 treated pine.

Hardwood can be used instead of treated pine, but keep the section sizes similar so the structure will be strong enough to hold the weight of the water.

Use 30 x 30mm treated pine quad beading for the corner blocks and 25 x 25mm aluminium angle for the flashing over the baseboards.

To finish the project, install a reticulating pump and feed the hose through the slot in the liner capping.

Round over the edges of the top capping, secure a fountainhead to the trellis and apply two coats of exterior enamel or acrylic paint.  


Use 65mm x 10g exterior timber screws for the main structure, including the footing plates, stud walls, base and top plates, capping and trellis frame. Attach the cladding boards to the stud walls with 40 x 2mm galvanised nails. 

Step 1. Build the trellis

Assemble the pond front, back and side frames. Make the trellis by securing the battens to the base rail, posts and arch then add the capping. Attach the ledgers to the back frame then secure the trellis through the posts with screws.

Step 2. Prepare the pond site

Set out the pond using marking paint and position stepping stones at the corners. Dig 100mm deep trenches between then fill with roadbase and use a straightedge to check for level in all directions. Add extra roadbase to adjust the height if needed.

Step 3. Lay the footing plates

Compact the roadbase then drill 5mm clearance holes at an angle on the inner and outer edges of the footing plates. Secure with skewed screws, check for square by comparing the diagonals, check for level and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 4. Build the box

Join the frames by securing screws through the inside of the studs, then use screws to attach the box to the footing plates. Attach the lining then add corner bead cut from 30 x 30mm treated pine quad in the corners.

Step 5. Secure the pond liner

Use scrap bricks to build up the inside of the pond so the maximum water depth will be 300mm or less. Add fine sand to fill the gaps and cover the bricks with a layer 20mm thick. Fold the pond liner neatly in the corners and staple it to the top plates.

Step 6. Add finishing touches

Fill the pond with water, attach the liner capping and trim the liner. Secure the baseboards using screws and attach the flashing with silicone then add the corner and top rails. Secure the cladding with equal overlap and finish with the top capping.

Click on the diagram

Click on the diagram to see each component of this project. Measurements are in mm.

Click on the cutting list

Click on the cutting list for a breakdown of the materials you will need to build this pond in a box.

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