pond excavation

Many people think that the digging out a pond is the bulk of the building process - but this is not the case. It certainly is physically demanding, but typically accounts for less than 15% of the work. If it is more than that you are probably not building your pond properly

A misguided idea we often run into is that the excavated soil can be dispersed on your property. First, the amount of soil that comes out of even a small pond is immense and secondly, is not going to be good quality triple mix. Spreading it around the property is rarely a solution

Soil conditions will dictate how steep you will want to angle the walls and you need to be cognizant of potential water problems. Is there a lake or pond near you ? If so, you will likely hit water and need put in a french drain - if you don't whaling When water gets under the liner, it may float up, even to the surface [looks like a whale back] in extreme conditions could be a problem or even cave ins
excavator scoop



Clean Fill Bins

In most cases soil is removed from the site in a dumpster or bin. Due to weight limitations, the maximum bin size generally available is 14 yards. A bin this size will handle soil for a typical 2,000 gallon pond. If you pond is going to be 5,000 gallons, 3 bins will likely be required depending on the soil type and how high you fill the bins
Bins are essential for even small ponds
For smaller loads 4 and 7 yard bins are also available. It's amazing how fast these fill up and although you may think your saving money, two 4 yard bins cost more to rent than one 14 yard - so err on the side of caution when planning. Always leave planks out readily visible for the bin guy, he will put these under the bin. They stop nasty scrapes to your driveway

the right tools for the job

Using the right equipment and techniques will make things much easier. Obvious advice, but not always followed.
The ubiquitous shovel, pick and wheelbarrow are essentials even with a backhoe dominated excavation. A good squared shovel is the best for shaving the pond sides to achieve a nice clean shell

Hammer drills [pictured right] with a spade attachment work magic with sites that prohibit backhoe access. It's one of those tools you wonder how you did without

For larger ponds the only real option is a mini excavator or larger backhoe if you are lucky enough to have access. Remember, excavators usually end up doing a lot of damage. They tear up the lawn and fences usually need to be removed to allow entry. For these and other reasons, it is sometimes better to hand dig a small to medium sized pond
  • A what did we do before we got this tool
  • A 4 yard bin is not the threat to the driveway that a 14 yarder is



  • Mini excavators are key for medium to large ponds
  • Ensure the excavator has enough reach for the ponds depth
  • Bobcats damage the lawn and access is a consideration