Choosing the proper depth for your pond

Choosing the proper depth for your pond

Pond Depth

One very important aspect in constructing a pond is water depth. Here are a few simple suggestions depending on the type of pond you plan to build. One of the more critical factors is checking into the local rules and laws that govern the area you live. Some cities mandate certain regulations or inspections prior to building a pond at a certain depth.

Determining the Depth of Your Pond

Once the codes have been inspected and satisfied, the construction of your new pond can begin. There are many exact depths that are suggested depending on which book or website you consult. Again, the depth depends on what your intentions for the pond are.

Water Feature

For those who just want a water feature that does not contain fish or plants, depth a minor issue. In the case of determining pond size for a water feature alone, the key is constructing a body of water capable of supporting the flow of the feature. Most water features in Idaho type climates will be shut down during the colder months anyway so soil temperature at a certain depth is not so important.


Are You Planning for Pond Fish and Plants
For most other ponds that contain perennial (hardy) type water plants or pond fish, it is imperative to provide a depth of three to four feet. This depth is essential to the overall quality of life in your pond. In soil, the temperature remains constant at roughly 18 inches under the surface. This means the water temperature in your pond, even when it is really cold or hot, will remain somewhat stable. In the winter at a three-foot depth, a safe haven is created for fish to hibernate (although you must make sure the pond surface does not freeze over). Also for plants like pond lilies, a space to retreat from the cooler pond surface should be provided.

Good depth offers your pond cover. Fish are able to escape predators. It is true for the most part, that this depth also prohibits certain types of pond weeds from growing, not algae, though.


Having a deeper pond leaves you a safety net for evaporation. In Idaho, the summer sun can take a good deal of water away from a pond on a daily basis. With a pond that holds a greater depth of water, there is less of a danger of losing a detrimental amount of water (to your fish and plants) over a period of time.

Switch It Up

Different Pond Depths at Different Places
Finally, when building your pond, most have differing depths in different places. It is said as a general rule that at least 40-50 percent of the pond should be the deeper portion. Also when digging out the pond shape, it is a good idea to leave space on the sides for plant shelves. Deeper ponds can’t house marginal plants (pond plants that can only be submerged slightly below the surface of the pond) without them.

Pond depth is critical for the average pond owner. By digging them three to four feet deep, one can all but ensure a healthy, winter ready pond!