Backyard Pond Depth Guide

Backyard Pond Depth Guide

Anthony Barnes

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If you’re looking to build a pond in your backyard or garden, then you’ll likely want to know exactly how deep you should build it!

It can be hard to get it exactly right – but the first step is knowing what you want your pond to be used for!

About Ponds

Ponds can add a lot to many gardens! Not only can they be absolutely beautiful features to any garden, but that can also host and help a lot of fascinating plants and animals.

Many people love to add ponds to their garden not just for how great they look, but also for the experience of having a really interesting nature feature too.

This is because ponds are so versatile, and all sorts of plants and animals love them!

Not only can they play host to fish and many plants, but they can also be made to attract all sorts of fascinating creatures too.

Birds and wildlife often love to use ponds as places to drink and rest – and a garden pond

(see pond sealer) can end up being a little natural haven in one’s garden!

You can make ponds (see also ‘Pond Retaining Walls: Ideas And How To Build One’) for all sorts of different purposes. Some are made for fish, some for the beautiful water flowers that can be grown in them – and some are just meant to be an attractive water feature.

Of course, a pond can be all three, and more too! Visiting animals often love them, and that can be a great reason why many people want a pond in their garden.

What’s Going To Be In The Pond?

The important thing when digging your pond out is to think about what you want to use it for.

Once you’ve decided exactly what you want from your pond – plants, fish, or just a place for wildlife to get a spot to drink and rest.


A pond (see also ‘Installing A Preformed Pond‘)
that’s intended for most plants shouldn’t be too shallow. Aquatic plants often tend to need a bit of depth to the water in order to be able to grow properly, so a shallow pool just a few inches deep isn’t going to be a great environment for a lot of them.

As such, if you’re intending to keep some water-bound plants, you’ll want to make sure that you dig your pool out to between 18-24 inches deep.

It’s a lot of work to dig this deep sometimes, but it’s far better to just do it once, than to have to drain the pond and dig it deeper a second time.

Therefore, aiming for a depth of 2 feet should give you more than enough room for many aquatic plants, such as lilies, to grow in your pond (Best Pond Kits).


Fish, unsurprisingly, generally love to have a lot of water. The more the better! Therefore, you need to dig your pond even deeper to be sure to have a good environment for most fish, especially larger ones.

Again, it’s better to do the hard work of digging just once – so make sure you’re getting your pond to a good depth for the fish that you want to put into it!

Backyard Pond Depth Guide

Even for smaller fish like goldfish, you should probably dig your pond to an absolute minimum of 2 feet deep.

If you’re putting even larger fish in there, then you should of course dig even deeper. For instance, a koi pond (see also ‘How Deep Should A Koi Pond Be?‘) needs to be 3 feet deep at a bare minimum.

This is because the fish simply need to have plenty of space to move about freely – not just across the surface of the pond, but up and down too.

Without this, they simply won’t be as happy and healthy as they should be.

Visiting Animals

However, if you simply want to build a pond for visiting wildlife to use, such as birds, frogs, bees, and lizards, then you don’t need to dig quite as deep.

A pond meant for these purposes only needs to be about 6 to 12 inches deep at most. So, if all you want is a pond to attract some wild friends, you don’t have to put in as much work!

You only need it to be deep enough for visitors to have a spot to drink and bathe, so it doesn’t need to be too deep. In fact, you should really make sure to have a shallower area too, with a gentle slope.

This lets visitors like frogs get in and out easily, and gives birds a place to rest for a drink and a preen.

Some rocks in the shallow areas of the pond (see also article on why pond rocks will make you love your pond) can be great too, as they’ll give various creatures places to rest.


Depending on what you want from your garden or backyard pond, you’ll have to dig to different depths.

Fish, plants, and wildlife all have different needs. Hopefully, this guide has made it easier, and helped you l;earn exactly how deep your pond needs to be!

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age