Raised PondsRaised ponds are probably the least well known of all the many styles of water features which is a shame, since they have much to offer – often to gardens which for one reason or another, are unsuitable for more usual types. Although they are often thought of as being particularly at home in formal gardens, they can also be incorporated very effectively into softer planting regimes, or be used to form the front wall of a raised bed and rockery – the scope is limited only by the imagination of the gardener. They can also provide a degree of additional child safety particularly around very young toddlers and are much more accessible to wheelchairs users and others for whom bending down to a traditional pond is difficult.

Raised ponds means less excavation

Another aspect which should not be overlooked is that they reduce the amount of excavation required to construct the pond in the first place – significantly reducing the amount of soil needing to be found a new home. For some gardens – especially small ones – this can be an important consideration and of course enables a pond to be enjoyed even when the only available space is a concrete backyard or patio.

Building a Raised Pond

Planning the raised pond requires that the strength of the walls be given particular thought, since they effectively do the job which in a traditional pond would be done by the earth itself. There are many ways to produce suitably strong walls, with brick, stonework and wood – especially railway sleepers – being popular DIY solutions. Some types of purpose built units are also available – such as the Blocklink and Hexapond systems which allow you to create matching raised ponds and raised garden beds, which are ideal for limited space.

The appeal of a raised pond

Part of the appeal of raised ponds is their flexibility, which enables them to fit into almost any garden design. They can be constructed either completely or partially above ground level – and ponds raised on three sides only – perhaps built into the shoulder of a slope – offer some advantages in terms of filtration, since a waterfall return feature is easier to accommodate. This need not be a major issue, however, since there are in-pool filters which will meet the needs of most small- to medium-sized ponds. The construction of raised pools does, however, make certain demands on the builder. The walls must, of course, be able to support the weight of the pond itself – whether made of a flexible or pre-formed liner – and heavy fountains or other features will need additional footings to support them.

How to construct a raised pond

One of the easiest ways to construct a raised pond is to build a wall of brick, wood or stone of suitable size to support a pre-formed liner, or alternatively to use a wooden half-barrel, large ornamental flower pot or other similar water-tight container. To make sure that visiting wildlife can enter and exit the pond, it is a good idea to provide a ladder of bricks or well positioned planters.

Planting around a raised pond

For a small pond of this kind, planting can be a problem, since most native plants are too vigorous and will quickly grow to clog the water. Selecting small plants – such as brooklime (Veronica beccabunga) or bog arum (Calla palustris) should help keep things in scale, while small exotics, such as pygmy water lilies (Nymphaea pygmaea) and the dwarf Japanese reedmace (Typha minima) can also be used. It is worth persevering with getting the planting right; if the proper balance can be struck, even the smallest of barrels can provide a useful water feature as well as a wildlife haven.

Raised ponds for small gardens

For small gardens – or those which are difficult to excavate – the raised pond can be the perfect solution. Space and aesthetics aside, one of their principal advantages is the speed with which they can be installed. Some of the kits – although a little pricey – can easily be ready to receive water in little more than an hour, which gives them an obvious appeal to the more impatient water-gardeners amongst us.

Raised Ponds FAQ

Are raised ponds any good?

Raised ponds can be a great option for those who don’t want to dig into their garden, as they can be built above ground level. They are also beneficial in preventing pets, children, and wildlife from accidentally falling into the water. Additionally, raised ponds can be a beautiful addition to any garden or patio and can easily be disassembled and relocated if necessary.

How deep should a raised pond be?

To achieve a healthy pond balance, the minimum depth of a raised pond should be 46cm (18 inches). Additionally, it’s recommended that at least 40% of the pond area should be at the maximum depth, with sloping edges stepped for marginal pond plants. A sufficient depth is important for maintaining water quality and the overall health of the pond’s ecosystem.

What do you put on the bottom of a raised pond?

Adding a thin layer of decorative gravel or pebbles at the bottom of a raised pond can help break down organic matter and provide a healthy habitat for fish. The stones can also help prevent erosion of the pond liner and provide a nice aesthetic finish to the pond. However, it’s important to avoid using sharp stones that could puncture the pond liner.

Do you need planning permission for a raised pond?

In most cases, building a raised pond on your property is considered to be permitted development and does not require planning permission from your local council. However, it’s important to note that there may be exceptions, such as if your property is a listed building or located in a conservation area. It’s always best to check with your local council if you’re unsure.

How to drain a raised pond

Draining a pond can be done by using a submersible pump, which is usually the easiest and quickest method. To start the drainage process, position the out-take hose into a garden or area where the water can be safely drained. Submersible pumps are the preferred choice due to their ease of use, but other pumps can also be used depending on the size of the pond.

Can wildlife access a raised pond?

Raised ponds offer a barrier for most wildlife, but flying insects may still be able to access the water. If you want to make your raised pond more accessible for wildlife, consider adding a large area of rocks and wood both in and out of the pond. This will allow wildlife to access the water easily and safely, while also providing an attractive environment for them to inhabit.

What is the best height for a raised pond?

Raised ponds are a great option for people who want to have a water feature but don’t want to dig into the ground. The height of a raised pond should be around 18″ to 24″ above the ground level, which is great for incorporating seating around it. A semi-raised pond is also an option and provides easier access for installing and maintaining filtration components.

Do you need to insulate a raised pond?

One of the concerns with raised ponds is the fluctuation of water temperature. To address this issue, it’s a good idea to incorporate a layer of insulation, such as closed-cell styrofoam. For an unheated pond, a 2-inch layer of insulation would be sufficient.

How do you maintain a raised pond?

Regular maintenance is important to keep a raised pond in good condition. This includes trimming marginal plants and removing any dead leaves or flowers, dividing and replanting any overgrown plants, cutting back anything that casts too much shade, inspecting submerged plants and removing any dead or rotting ones, and checking for algae or disease and cleaning or treating affected areas.

Will a raised pond freeze?

The risk of a raised pond freezing solid in the UK is low. However, water temperature can drop to around 4°C in the winter, which is a welfare problem for fish.

How do you build a raised pond UK?

Building a raised pond is a relatively simple process. Firstly, choose where you want to put the pond and lay railway sleepers on the ground. Fasten them together and stack and fix a second layer if you want the pond to be higher. Attach the pond liner, fill it with water, and add fish to your new pond.


Last Modified: April 5, 2023