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How to Build a 2 Tier Pond

Don Kress

Two-tier ponds are best suited for housing koi goldfish. The two tiers allow your fish to have a shallow area for catching insects for food in the summer, while providing them with a deeper, warmer place in which to wait out the winter. Construction of a two-tier pond is accomplished by determining the best place for your new water feature and completing the project as quickly as possible to avoid rain filling up the hole before you have added the liner and rock.

Koi goldfish are best suited to habitation in a two-tier pond.
  1. Determine the area of the pond. This can be accomplished using a long piece of rope that simulates the outer bank of the pond. Adjust the rope until you are content with the size, shape and location of the pond. Ensure that the pond receives some light, but is neither completely shaded nor completely open to a full day's sunlight. The first tier of the pond, the deepest, should be a minimum of 6 feet wide and 4 feet deep. The second tier should be longer than it is wide, and between 2 and 3 feet deep.

  2. Dig the outline of the pond with the shovel, removing the excavated dirt to another area of the yard. Provide steep walls for the pond to help dissuade predators from wading in after the fish.

  3. In the deeper section, create "shelves" on the sides of the pond on which to place potted water plants. These shelves should be at the same depth as the shallow end of the pond.

  4. Place the rubber pond liner into the hole, being careful to remove any sharp rocks or roots that may pierce the liner. Press the liner first into the deepest section of the pond, weighing it down with river rock. Place flat river rocks on the pond's shelf, as well as in the base of the shallow end of the pond.

  5. Weigh the liner's edges down at the ground level using large rocks. This acts to hide the edges of the liner, as well as prevent the growth of weeds near the edge of the pond.

  6. Fill the pond with water and then decorate with fish and plants as you see fit.