Having a pond in your garden isn’t just an aesthetic choice, for some people it is a hobby. Building a pond isn’t as simple as just digging a hole in the ground and filling it with water.
Keeping any body of water healthy requires a lot of daily maintenance and care.
For some people, cultivating fish and aquatic plants in the pond to keep it as healthy as possible becomes a fun activity that can help to alleviate stress.
If you have ever thought about having a pond in your garden, you may have looked into the materials needed to do so and been completely put off.
Ponds require a number of different components, all of which are essential for making sure that everything works the way it should.
Not only do you need to source all of the individual parts, but you will need to carry out research to make sure the ones you have chosen are compatible with each other.
An easy way around this is to purchase a complete pond kit instead.
These kits contain all of the bare essentials needed for building your first pond, as well as some cool extras to make it as scenic as possible.
They are a great choice for complete beginners to quickly and easily set up a pond, so they can start keeping fish and other aquatic species.
In this article we will tell you what these pond kits normally contain, which components they are missing and which ones are the best models to buy for your garden.
What Pieces Do You Get In A Pond Kit?
Most pond kits (see also ‘Installing A Preformed Pond‘)
will contain the bare essentials for building a pond, as well as a few extras, depending on the price of the kit you buy.
In this section, we will cover a few of the most common components found in these packages and what they do.
Afterwards, we will also cover a few of the pieces that are frequently not included and help you to get a good idea of whether you will need to buy them separately.
A pond simply isn’t a pond without a good liner made from PVC, LDPE or EPDM rubber.
No, literally, without this component all the water from your pond would probably sink into the soil and disappear overnight.
Many of the liners that come with these kits will come pre-cut to a specific size, and you will need to bear this size in mind for when you start digging your hole.
Read the dimensions of the liner very carefully, as this will determine the exact size of your pond, as well as how much water you can fill it with.
You will also need to consider the landscape and soil type of your garden.
If you are working on an area of land with a lot of sharp stones or other similar impediments, then you will need to choose a more durable liner that won’t be easily punctured.
You can find out more about how to choose the correct liner for your pond in our buyer’s guide.
External pumps take a lot of work and experience to install, which is why most pond kits will come with a submersible pump instead.
These units just need to be placed in the pond and turned on to start moving the water.
Moving water is essential for any healthy aquatic environment. If the water in your pond isn’t being continually circulated, then it will become stagnant, which will lead to all sorts of problems.
Stagnant water is a haven for algae blooms and insects, who will use it for laying their eggs.
As such, the pump is absolutely vital to prevent your tranquil pond becoming a festering bog.
Most pond kits will have some form of filtration, either built into the waterfall skimmers or as part of a filter block.
Both methods are very effective when used properly, and their job is to regularly remove grime and debris that would normally settle at the bottom of your pond.
This prevents the buildup of toxic substances that can kill aquatic plants or fish.
Even if you don’t want to keep fish, you will still need some form of filtration to prevent your pond developing foul odors.
Filters also help to reduce algae blooms, which look very ugly and can choke out other plants growing in your pond.
Skimmers Or Waterfalls
Now, skimmers or waterfalls are not essential for a healthy pond, but they can certainly make a very good addition to one.
A skimmer box is designed to remove large pieces of debris such as fallen leaves or other objects before they can sink to the bottom of your pond.
Skimmers often act as a housing unit for the pump and suck water in, pass it through a filter matrix and then spit it back out.
They also help to disturb the surface of the water, preventing stagnation.
Waterfalls are slightly more spectacular and consist of spillways that you can locate on a nearby hill to channel water back down into the pond.
Some of these spillways will also contain filters, meaning that your water fall can work double duty by aerating and cleaning your water.
Normally, adding a waterfall to a pond is very difficult because you need to invest in a pump capable of moving the water uphill.
This is one of the massive advantages of pond kits, since you will receive a pump that is guaranteed to have the capacity for supplying the spillways.
UV Clarifiers Or Lights
A common accessory included in pond kits are UV lights or clarifiers. Lights don’t really serve a purpose when it comes to keeping your water clean and healthy, so they are far from essential.
However, what they can do is make your pond or waterfall look much more impressive, especially at night.
Typically, the lights sold in these kits are LEDs, which means that they will shine brightly without using too much power.
A clarifier is a special kind of UV light, which is designed to remove algae blooms from the surface of your water.
Most species of algae and even some types of bacteria or other pathogens are very sensitive to UV.
While not all kits will contain one of these clarifiers, we recommended buying one separately anyway.
They are very helpful tools when it comes to keeping your pond healthy and your water crystal clear.
What Pieces Are Missing From Most Pond Kits?
Pond kits contain the bare essential for building your own pond, but they don’t come with everything.
While you are budgeting for your pond, you will want to set some money aside for buying a few other pieces of kit.
Some of the pieces in this section are just nice additions to a healthy pond, while others will be vital if you plan to keep fish.
All ponds require oxygen (see also ‘How To Oxygenate A Pond Without Electrical Pumps‘) to prevent the build up of harmful algae blooms or other bacteria.
If you plan on keeping fish or aquatic plants, then aeration is not only recommended, but it is absolutely essential.
Without it, there will not be enough dissolved oxygen in your water for your fish to survive.
Oxygen also helps to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria that can help to break down fecal waste left by your fish to stop it accumulating.
Waterfalls and skimmers can help to provide some aeration, but if you really want to keep your water oxygenated, then you should buy an air pump or disc aerator.
Both of these devices are more than capable of pumping air to the bottom of your pond.
This produces bubbles that pop as they rise through the water, allowing oxygen to diffuse into your pond.
A bottom drain, also known as a koi toilet, isn’t necessary for a smaller pond, but it will be very helpful for a large building where you plan to keep a lot of fish.
These work like underwater skimmers, helping to remove sludge (see also ‘Best Pond Sludge Remover‘) that accumulates at the bottom of your pond.
This sludge builds up due to fish waste, and pieces of debris falling into the water and sinking to the bottom.
If you do want to have a large number of koi or other fish in your pond, then buying a bottom drain will save you a lot of work and time.
However, bear in mind that bottom drains can take a little more time and experience to install correctly.
This is why they are not recommended for smaller ponds, as they won’t offer much benefit but will make installation much trickier.
That said, if you are aiming for a larger pond, then it will be better to install a bottom drain from the start rather than trying to retro-fit one after the fact.
Other Useful Accessories
There are lots of other useful items and accessories that will help with maintaining and looking after your pond.
Nets or pond vacuums can be great for removing large items of debris and scooping away excess sludge that has built up on the bottom.
Having a pump to drain the water now and again will also help, as this will allow you to perform maintenance on the liner and remove water that has become stagnant.
However, if you plan to use tap water to refill your pool, then you will need a dechlorinating solution.
This is a special mixture designed to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from water to make it save for fish and aquatic plants.
It is also a good idea to buy a bacterial culture for introducing to your water. These are often packed with beneficial bacteria that will vastly improve the health of your pond.
Beneficial bacteria break down waste that builds up in a pond and help to combat algae or insect infestations.
Now that we have covered what to expect from most pond kits, let’s take a look at some of the best kits currently available on the market.
Simply Ponds 1200 Water Garden And Pond Kit
Those looking for something simple, relatively cheap and packed with features will love this beginner pond kit.
It comes with all the essentials for setting up your first pond, as well as some helpful extras that make installation much easier for first-timers.
The 10ft by 10ft liner is suitable for ponds of almost any shape, including both round and rectangular ones.
It is made from PVC, so it is lightweight and easy to manipulate when placing it in your hole.
Normally, PVC liners have the significant downside of being quite thin and easy to tear, especially when placed over uneven or rocky soil.
Thankfully, the company has anticipated this issue and also provides a geotextile under guard.
This is another roll of durable polypropylene fabric that can be placed underneath the liner to protect it from rocks.
It also helps to avoid pockets of air between the liner and soil that would otherwise put the liner at risk.
As well as the liner and under guard, this unit comes with a 1200 gallons per hour (GPH) pump.
This can be housed inside the skimmer that comes with this package and used to feed a spillway for making a small, single tier waterfall.
This not only makes a nice addition to your water garden, but it will also provide water circulation and aeration to keep your pond clean and healthy.
With this kit you get all of the above and a few awesome extras including waterfall foam, for sealing gaps between rocks when constructing your water fall.
The skimmer contains a filter basket to prevent leaves and other pieces of large debris from clogging your pump.
Plus, you even get a bacterial starter culture, to introduce beneficial bacteria to your water for natural filtration and waste disposal.
|Liner: 10ft by 10ft PVC liner||Waterfall: Single 10in spillway included.|
|Pump: 1200 GPH pump with 15ft rubber hose.||Filter: Not included.|
|Skimmer: Skimmer with filter basket included.||Clarifier: Not included.|
|Dimensions (in): 22.5(l) x 16.75(w) x 19(h).||Lights: 1W Mini Bronze Spotlight.|
|Max flow capacity: 4000 GPH||Extras: 10ft by 10ft under guards, bacterial starter culture, and waterfall foam|
- Comes with under guard to protect the PVC liner from wear and tear.
- Affordable pond kit that comes with a waterfall and 1200 GPH pump.
- Skimmer comes with a basic filtration basket to capture large pieces of debris before they reach the pump.
- The skimmer is not the most durable and may break if not mishandled.
Also available at: HalfOffPonds
Aquascape 53033 8 x 11 Feet Complete Pond Kit
Aquascape makes some of the best products for pond (pond sealer) owners and those interested in adding a pond to their garden.
This kit contains lots of high quality components for building a reasonably sized fishpond in your garden.
The 12ft by 15ft liner will allow you to build a 8ft by 11ft pond that can be up to 2ft deep. This makes it perfect for keeping fish, since they normally need at least 18in of depth to be happy and healthy.
The liner is made from durable EPDM rubber to make it very tough and difficult to puncture. It also comes with 180 sq. ft of underlay, to provide additional protection from rocks or loose soil.
Along with the liner, you also get Aquascape’s own Aquasurge 3000 GPH pump. This unit is very energy efficient and will provide more than enough water circulation for your small fishpond.
The pump can be housed inside the signature series 400 pond skimmer system, which has a faux rock lid to stop it looking out of place.
The skimmer can be attached to a simple waterfall system which uses a spillway with an inbuilt filter.
As such, this kit will work best if you have the space to add a waterfall. To feed this system, there is a large 25ft hose made from PVC plastic.
Since this is a fishpond kit, it comes with plenty of accessories to keep your aquatic friends happy.
This includes a small bag of fish food, a water treatment solution and an automatic dosing system that regularly dispenses the treatment solution to keep your water clean.
You also get all the necessary kit for your installation, including waterfall rock foam, silicone and PVC cement.
|Liner: 12ft x 15ft EPDM rubber lining with underlay.||Waterfall: Biofalls spillway with inbuilt filter.|
|Pump: 3000 GPH Aquasurge pump with 25ft hose||Filter: Included in waterfall spillway|
|Skimmer: Signature Series 400 Aquascape Skimmer.||Clarifier: Not included|
|Dimension (in): 21.5(l) x 18(w) x 21(h).||Lights: Not included|
|Maximum flow rate: 4000 GPH||Extras: Water treatment solution with automatic dosing system, fish food, and installation kit.|
- Perfect for those who want to fill their pond with fish.
- Comes with high quality components including a great skimmer and a 3000 GPH pump.
- The spillway for the waterfall has an inbuilt filter.
- You will need the space to add a waterfall to make the most out of this kit.
Also available at: AquascapeInc
270 Gallon Pond Kit With Lighting
If the kits we have looked at so far seem a bit daunting, and you would prefer something considerably smaller, then this miniature pond kit is worth considering.
It comes with a 8ft by 10ft liner that is perfect for making a small yet beautiful little garden pond (see also ‘The Best Garden Pond Spitters‘).
Since this liner is made from PVC, it is recommended to buy a separate underlay to prevent it being punctured by any rocks in your soil.
This is a very affordable kit for anyone looking to build their first pond without spending hours working out how to arrange all the pieces of a larger kit.
Sadly, the fact that it is reasonably cheap, means many of the parts aren’t as durable as those offered by the more expensive kits.
The submersible pump is rated at 200 GPH, which is definitely enough for such a small size of pond.
There isn’t a spillway for making a waterfall, but instead you get a fountainhead for attaching to the top of your pump.
This makes a great little water attraction and will provide sufficient water circulation and aeration for keeping a pair of small fish, should you wish to.
There is also a large lamp for illuminating your pond at night, as well as cloth lilies for placing on the water.
All of these pieces together work to create a small, decorative pond that will fit in most sizes of garden.
Sadly, there is no way to attach a filter to the pump, so if you want to keep your water spotless, you may need to buy a replacement.
However, this isn’t a kit for professional pond builders, and for a beginner it will more than suffice.
Once you have practice with this compact and fun pond kit, you may feel more confident about doing larger builds in the future.
|Liner: 8ft x 10ft PVC liner||Clarifier: Not included.|
|Pump: 200 GPH pump.||Lights: Solar lamp|
|Skimmer: Not included.||Extras: Fountainhead, decorative cloth lilies|
|Waterfall: Not included.||Filter: Not included.|
- Comes with all the basics for setting up your first pond.
- Fountainhead for attaching to the pump to create a nice water attraction.
- Lamp and cloth lilies included for decoration.
- The parts are not the most durable, and the pump can’t be fitted with a filter.
Also available at: Walmart
Aquascape Aquatic Patio Pond Water Garden With Bamboo Fountain
This is a kit for anyone who really hates the thought of digging and just wants a miniature pond that they can keep on their patio or even indoors.
Above ground ponds have a few advantages over in-ground ones, since they require minimal effort to install and are great for anyone who is short on space.
With this kit, you get a 16in by 16in bowl made from a fiberglass resin composite.
The bowl is 8in deep and although you may see some people keeping fish in it, we would strongly recommend against this.
This above ground pond is just a bit too small for keeping fish so that they will be happy.
However, if you choose the right species, only keep one or two and regularly change the water for them, it could work.
As well as the pot itself, you will also get a 90 GPH pump that feeds a poly resin, faux bamboo fountain.
This fountain is a great addition to stop the water from becoming stagnant and allows you to enjoy the sound of trickling water without needing to set up a full waterfall.
This kit is great for creating a small water garden that you can fill with your favorite species of aquatic plants.
The best part is that you can move this garden wherever you want, be it outside on your patio or indoors on a table.
As such, this is one of the best options available for anyone who wants to have a small pond but doesn’t actually have the space for one.
|Liner: Not included. Resin/fiberglass composite pot with protective GFRC finish.||Filter: Not included.|
|Pump: 90 GPH pump.||Clarifier: Not included.|
|Skimmer: Not included.||Lights: Not included.|
|Waterfall: Faux bamboo polyresin fountain.||Extras: None.|
- Allows you to have a miniature pond in even the smallest garden.
- The resin/fiberglass composite looks like real stone but is much lighter.
- Comes with a bamboo fountain to disturb the surface of the water and prevent stagnation.
- Not suitable for keeping fish.
Also available at: AquascapeInc and Walmart
American Pond Titan 21′ x 26′ Pond Kit
From a miniature pond kit that you can keep indoors, our next item is at the complete opposite end of the spectrum.
If you aren’t satisfied with just owning a pond, then the American Pond Titan kit comes with everything you need to construct your own lake.
This package contains a 25ft by 30ft EPDM liner along with an underlay for building ponds as large as 21ft by 26ft.
As such, this is a kit for homeowners who have a very large garden and possibly an excavator to help with all the digging.
Since the liner is made from EPDM rubber instead of PVC, it is incredibly durable and resistant to scratches or abrasions.
When combined with the underlay, you won’t have to worry about small stones or other objects puncturing your liner and causing it to leak.
Naturally for a pond of this size you are going to want a very powerful pump, which is exactly what this kit has.
You get a 6100 GPH submersible pump as well as a skimmer to house it in and filter away large pieces of detritus that could clog it up.
This pump is designed to be as energy efficient as possible to help save you money on the electricity needed to run your pond.
There is a filter media located inside the skimmer, as well as another filter built into the waterfall spillway.
Both of these components help to keep your water crystal clear and clean, without the need for a dedicated filter box.
As well as the basic components, you get all the necessary hosing and connectors for linking all of the pieces together.
Finally, you will also receive a few extras including a beneficial bacterial culture, barley straw for preventing algae blooms and a dechlorinating solution.
As such, this is a comprehensive pond kit that comes with everything you need for building your own aquatic kingdom right in your back garden.
|Liner: 25ft by 30ft EPDM rubber liner with underlay.||Filter: No dedicated filter box. Filter media built into the waterfall spillway, and skimmer.|
|Pump: 6100, energy saving hybrid submersible pump.||Clarifier: Not included.|
|Skimmer: Pond skimmer with 8in door. Maximum flow rate: 7000 GPH.||Lights: Not included.|
|Waterfall: Biofalls 38in spillway with inbuilt filter media.||Extras: Dechlorinating solution, beneficial bacterial culture, barley straw.|
- Comes with everything you need for building larger sizes of pond.
- Both the skimmer and waterfall spillway have inbuilt filter media.
- Energy saving pump to cut back on running cost.
- Includes helpful extras for keeping your water clean.
- Not suitable for smaller gardens.
- Expensive to run.
Also available at: PondAndGardenDepot
Building a pond in your garden is no small feat, and there are lots of things you will have to consider before you buy a kit.
If you don’t buy a package that has the right pieces for what you want to do, then you could end up stuck during your installation.
Here are some of the most important things to bear in mind when buying a new pool kit.
Size And Terrain
Naturally, your first consideration should be how large you want your pond to be and what kind of terrain you are working with.
This will help to determine which option you should pick for the most important part of your pond, the liner.
Bigger ponds will naturally require much bigger liners, but as area goes up, so does the need to prevent leaks.
If your liner leaks, then all the water in your pond will gradually seep into the soil below, spelling doom for your body of water.
This is why you also need to have a good idea of the type of terrain in your garden.
If you have soil that is full of rocks or other pieces of sharp debris, then you will most likely want a liner made out of EPDM rubber.
This is the most durable variety, but is also the most expensive.
PVC is the opposite, being less durable but also much cheaper, with LDPE being the happy middle ground between the two.
If your kit comes with an underlay, this can help to protect even a less durable PVC liner from being punctured.
When installing your pond, it is heavily recommended to line the hole you have dug with sand, to reduce the number of rocks poking into the liner or underlay.
As well as needing a suitable liner, you will also need a pump capable of circulating all the water in your pool once every two hours.
If you own fish, then your pump will need to circulate all of your water once every hour instead.
If you want to have a massive pond, then be prepared to spend a fair bit more on the electricity to run your pump.
Pond pumps need to be running almost constantly to keep the water moving and prevent stagnation.
Having a skimmer also massively helps. This acts as a housing unit for the pump and will often contain a filter media for straining off large pieces of debris that could clog up your pump.
Do You Want To Keep Fish?
If you plan on keeping Koi or other fish in your pond, then you need to think carefully about how you are going to keep them happy and healthy.
We would recommend going for a slightly smaller build of pond, so you can focus on making sure it is at least 18in deep.
Fish like to be able to move up and down as well as from side to side, so making sure your pond is deep enough will be vital for their happiness.
If you plan on having fish, you will need to set some money aside in your budget for a disc aerator.
These devices pump air from the bottom of your pond and help to oxygenate the water. Lots of dissolved oxygen, means lots of happy fish.
Another thing that can help with aeration is having a waterfall.
Waterfalls not only help to disturb the surface of your water and create bubbles for adding more oxygen to it; but the spillways for them often contain filters.
This can massively help with removing any debris or gunk that builds up.
Finally, if you plan on having a lot of fish, then you will need to consider buying a bottom drain.
While they are more difficult to install, they will help massively with removing fish feces from the bottom of your pond (Best floating fish dome).
It is okay to have a little sludge on the bottom of your pond, provided there are strong cultures of beneficial bacteria present in the water.
However, fish can produce a lot of waste, so a bottom drain will become necessary over a certain amount.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Calculate The Correct Size Of Liner For My Pond?
You want to buy a liner that is big enough to cover the entire hole for your pond, with a bit extra left over.
There are two equations for figuring out the length and width of the liner needed for any build of pond, and they go as follows.
Liner length = Pond length +depth +depth + 2ft
Liner width = Pond width + depth + depth + 2ft.
You will notice that both equations include an extra 2ft. This excess liner needs to be tucked around the edges of the pond to secure it and prevent it from sliding around.
It also stops water from overflowing and immediately soaking into the soil around the pond.
For ponds with irregular shapes, take the length and width from the longest points. Be prepared to cut your liner in certain places to get the shape that you want.