Do you want a soothing water feature in your backyard but lack the space to dig a big hole for a traditional pond? Luckily, you can create a stunning oasis in any size space with a well-designed raised garden pond. Our expert team created this guide for the best above-ground pond ideas to help you plan, build, and maintain your dream water garden.
Planning and Building a Raised Pond
Every great landscaping project starts with a thorough planning phase. You must map out your space to allow raised garden pond ideas to flow with your backyard aesthetic. Custom water feature possibilities are endless. You can choose anything from extensive koi ponds to tiny patio ponds that can fit anywhere, like an Aquascape AquaGarden Mini Pond Kit.
Once you decide on the right location, size, and shape, build a reinforced basin or buy one prefabricated. If you build the container, ensure the walls are rigid enough to support the water’s weight when filled. Use this handy water weight calculator tool to determine the total weight of the water in your above-ground pond.
The perfect size and shape for your raised pond idea varies depending on your preferences and space. Yet, some tools and equipment are always necessary, no matter how unique or complex your design is. So, what are the core components of an attractive raised water garden?
To keep your above-ground pond clean and clear, you need the following items:
- Protective Pond Liner
- Aeration System
- Mechanical and Biological Filters
- Beneficial Bacteria
Above-Ground Pond Maintenance Tips
Raised garden ponds need regular maintenance to support healthy ecosystems with pristine water. Skim your pond often to remove leaves and twigs, which will decompose and cause algae blooms and muck. Equip yourself with a Collapsible Skimmer and Fish Net for routine cleaning to stay ahead of the mess.
Natural ponds and lakes exchange nutrients with the surrounding soil to promote a balanced composition. Above-ground water gardens are isolated and prone to stagnation and nutrient imbalances. You need a filter to maintain the life of your raised pond, especially when you want fish and aquatic plants to thrive year-round.
A functional, decorative wetland or bog filter setup features an elevated basin containing a filter pump, pea gravel, and healthy organisms like plants and probiotics. For the best results, inoculate your bog filter with beneficial bacteria like those in Micro-Lift PL Gel bacterial inoculant and The Pond Guy DefensePAC all-season pond management system.
How it works is simple—the filter pumps water up through the bog where aquatic flora breaks down excess nutrients. The water emerges from a waterfall or fountain and returns to the raised pond balanced, clarified, and oxygen-enriched.
If a bog filter sounds too complicated, you can choose a premade filter instead. Options include in-pond filtration systems, waterfall filters, and skimmer boxes for hassle-free cleansing.
Do you need to deep clean your raised water garden to remove excess debris and algae? Check out The Pond Guy ClearVac dual-chamber vacuum for the ultimate easy-to-use pond cleaning tool.
Special Care for Raised Fish Ponds
An above-ground fish pond is a popular way to raise stunning fish in your backyard. Still, there are special considerations for providing your fish with a healthy habitat. Aside from the extra load on your filtration system, you must also be mindful of your local environment and the risks posed to your fish.
If you live in a colder climate, you should insulate your raised koi pond. In-ground ponds are well-insulated by the earth itself. Above-ground ponds lack this natural insulation and could freeze solid without proper intervention. Install a foam pad underneath your raised pond before placing your basin, then add insulation along all sides to prevent freezing.
Netting is another important protection for outdoor fish, especially in shallow raised koi ponds. Without deep water in which to hide, fish are vulnerable to predators. The Pond Guy Premium Mesh Pond Netting keeps birds, cats, and other wildlife from snagging a quick snack from your raised fish pond.