Autumn is a good time to build a pond because terrestrial vegetation is starting to die back yet the ground is moist, but not frozen, so easy to dig. Create a pond now and you’ll get to watch it develop and flourish right throughout spring and summer next year. It’ll be there for when frogs and newts spawn in early spring too. 

Mark it out

Use a hosepipe, some rope or line marking spray paint to mark out the shape of the pond. Go as big as you can because the pond will look smaller once filled, especially when edged with plants. Use a spade to slice the shape into the ground and then dig to one spade’s depth to create the marginal shelf for plants. Shallow beach areas are growing in popularity and are perfect for wildlife. Go two feet deep and over at its deepest point for fish, but a wildlife pond can (with no fish,) can be as shallow as you want it to be. Wildlife can congregate in just a few inches of water. 

Dig it

Take another 12” width of turf from around the outer edge of the pond and keep it. This can be replaced once the liner is down to hide the lined edges. Dig the pond in depth layers digging the deepest area last. Place the soil onto a sheet or create a mound next to the pond where a watercourse or rockery can be laid. 

Line it

Remove any sharp stones or roots and then line with underlay. With luck, you’ll only have to dig the pond once so get it right the first time, invest in the right materials and it should last a lifetime. Line every part of the pond with underlay, use double if you want to, then stretch the black, proper pond liner over it and start to fill with a hosepipe. The water will push into all the edges as it fills the pond. Stretch the liner occasionally as it does so for neat folds. 

Fill it

Fill the pond to the top, dechlorinate and leave. If you want fish, add them next spring after the winter frosts have come and gone. The pond will mature over winter and burst into life next March. 

Make it safe

Mark the pond out with sticks or flags so that people know where it is if it gets covered in snow and ice. Cover the pond with a pond cover net to prevent autumn leaves from falling in and polluting the water over winter.