Introduction: How to Make a Zen Pond

About: I'm a mechanical engineer, always looking to make new things and improve everything around. I'd love to share my stuff and exchange experiences with you!

A little pond is a great addition to any garden. The view, the sound and the presence of a water surface, even if a small one, brings movement to your garden filling it with the joy of life!

A Zen pond is even better. The rocky Japanese style pond will give you a special corner to meditate and enjoy peace. The pond will attract wildlife, like birds, frogs and butterflies ( sadly it may attract some scary insects too ). You can use your pond to keep some koi fish too.

I had this corner in my garden that we had little use of, so I decided to build a small zen style pond, and I'll share with you how i built my pond step-by-step with photos.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed

To build this Zen pond, you're going to need the following materials:

- Pebbles : Big, medium and small pebbles of various colours

- Concrete mixture : Cement, fine sand, and fine gravels are required to make concrete mixtures

- Pond Liner : I used thick nylon as a liner, because i couldn't find a pond liner, but it's better to buy commercial pond liner.

- Silicon Adhesive

- [ Optional ] Plastic plants and decorations

In order to make your pond, you may need to use the following tools:

- Shovel : to dig a hole (duh)

- Concrete mixing trowel

- Rake

- Cutting tool

- Spirit level

- Garden hose ( or anything to get water from )

Step 2: Selection of the Site

The first task is to choose a suitable site for your small pond. There are some main guidelines that will help you choose the perfect spot to build your pond:

1- Sun is very important for your pond, but not too much sun. Try to find a spot that gets 3-4 hours of sunshine daily, as sun help keeping your small pond hygienic and clean.

2- Keep your pond not too far from home. Some people tend to build the pond as far as they can fearing pond-related wildlife or noise, and as a result the pond end up abandoned.

3- Choose a location in your garden that you got trouble growing plants in. A pond will take some space and if you choose a troublesome area you can hit two birds with one stone.

I had a small corner with a small ramp in my garden, so i decided to build my pond there.

Step 3: Preparing the Area

To prepare the are well for your pond, first remove and weed and unwanted plants. I used a rake to make the ground leveled and remove any small stones and gravel. Choose the spot where your pond will be, and make a small ramp around it, to avoid the risk of rain water flooding towards the pond on winter days.

Step 4: Digging the Hole

Now it's time to dig some soil!

Start by drawing an outline of the shape you desire, then start digging. The perfect depth would be 60-70 cm. You can make the depth varying, to give your pond a nice natural look, but make sure to keep the hole leveled using the spirit level.

Keep some gravel in the hole's bottom to help you with the next step.

Step 5: Waterproofing

This is the most crucial step, since without waterproofing your pond won't keep water and would be useless. There are different methods to waterproof your pond. I used the following method.

First I spread gravel on the bottom of the pond. Then i made a concrete mixture using cement, sand and fine gravel. I spread the mixture around the hole's bottom.

I then prepared another concrete mixture, using only cement and sand. I used the second mixture, which is softer, to overlay the bottom and the walls of the pond. I left it to dry overnight.

Afterwards, i cut pieces of thick nylon to use as a pond liner ( i couldn't fine a pond liner around ), and i secured in place using heavy duty silicon glue.

I apologize for not having detailed enough photos from this step.

Step 6: Getting the Pebbles

A zen garden is known for it's "dry" landscape, since it's composed of arrangements of rocks and pebbles. Pebbles are the best choice for a zen pond since they give the pond a smooth nice view.

You can gather tons of pebbles for your garden from any rocky beach side or a nearby river. I was lucky enough to have a full dry river a couple of minutes away from my house, so I was able to select the pebbles I prefer by shape and colour. If you don't have a river or a beach nearby, you probably can find pebbles sold at aquarium or hardware shops.

If you gathered your pebbles by yourself, it's better to wash them thoroughly to remove any algae and dirt of them.

Step 7: Arranging the Pebbles

To arrange the pebbles, start the bottom of your pond, and move up it's walls and to the surroundings.

You can use cement mixtures or silicon adhesives to secure the pebbles in place, which i did only to some of the important pebbles on the sides, but not to all the pebbles. I simply arranged the pebbles in place, using darker coloured pebbles to outline the pond.

In this step you can add some decorations to your pond. I for example added a couple of plastic underwater plants that i bought from an aquarium store.

Step 8: Adding Water

Now that your pond got its shape, it's time to add water! If you used cement or adhesives to secure your pebbles, give them some time to dry before adding water.

Try to use water that's free from chlorine or other chemicals especially if you plan to add koi fish to your pond.

Step 9: The Secret Ingredient

Your pond is ready now, but there's a secret ingredient to give your pond a cinematic and cool look. To give the water a nice beautiful colour, you can add few drops of blue or green food coloring ( or whatever colour you prefer). The food coloring is harmless for the wildlife, even if you plan to add koi or fish, and few drops will give the pond a very romantic view.

Step 10: The Final Product

The Zen pond is ready! It gave a very pleasant view to our garden, and a peaceful corner for meditation and to enjoy a cup of tea with my cat in the afternoons :)

I still plan to add some light LEDs and a small fountain, which I'll explain in detail in my next instructable.

Thanks for reading along. I hope you enjoyed this instructable and found it inspiring and informative.

This is my first instructable, so I'll be glad to hear any review or criticism, and i must apologize for any grammatical, structural or spelling errors that it contained, as English is not my first language :)