Pond Info Center > Planning a Safe Garden Pond

Planning a Safe Garden Pond

With the proper planning and construction, your garden pond can provide an immeasurable amount of safe and relaxing enjoyment for you and your whole family. Simply follow some easy guidelines to protect yourself and others.

Local Laws and Regulations

There may be some local ordinances concerning open water in residential areas. We encourage you to find out about the rules in your area before you begin construction on your pond. There may not be any laws where you live at this time, but better safe than sorry! Some pond owners have been surprised to have their ponds shut down by the authorities for failure to follow regulations. Simply take the time to find out and follow the rules to keep your garden pond safe and in operation.

Remember, too, before you dig to have all underground utility lines, such as gas, water, electricity, and communications, properly marked by the respective companies. This service is often offered for free, since it is a big hassle to the company if someone breaks the lines. Keep in mind also that a previous home owner might have buried other lines, such as a sprinkler system, without mapping them, so always exercise caution.


As we all remember from elementary school, water conducts electricity. Accordingly, extreme caution should be used to avoid electrical shock whenever there is the possibility that water and electricity could come into contact.

Special codes are often in place for bathrooms and other areas of a building where water and electricity could mix. Ground Fault Interruption Circuits (GFICs) are now generally required in such locations as a protection against electrical shock. The GFIC works by shutting off the circuit in the event that the current fails to ground. Many people protect their ponds by plugging them into extension cords fitted with GFICs, and it is also possible to replace an existing electrical outlet with a GFIC.

As we said in the above section, remember to check local laws for building codes. You can often use swimming pool codes as a guide for building a pond. For example, many areas require swimming pools to be at least 15 feet away from an electrical socket, which is also a good rule for garden ponds.

Children and Animals

For children and small animals even shallow water can be a drowning hazard. So those who have small children, or who have friends and neighbors with small children, should take great care to ensure that their garden ponds are safe. We recommend barriers such as child-proof fences to keep unsupervised children away from the pond. Even aside from its protectective use, a well done fence can actually be quite lovely around a garden pond. It could also be a good idea to put the pond within view of a window so it can be easily watched from the house. After all, nothing can replace old-fashioned watchfulness.

Small animals could also fall into the pond and have trouble getting out. Surrounding the pond with rocks, which many people do anyway, should provide a good surface for the animals to climb out.

Follow Directions

When building your pond, always use caution with power tools and chemicals by following the manufacturer's instructions, wearing proper protective clothing and goggles, and never using power tools in wet conditions. Follow the directions given with your pond appliances as well, and do not use a device for something other than its intended purpose. If it becomes necessary to remove any plants or pests from an area, please consider using non-toxic methods. They are better for the environment and much safer for you, as well.

Safety First

Making your pond safe may take a little work, but in the end the rewards will far outweigh the effort it took. After all, one of the main reasons people desire a pond is for relaxation -- and a hazardous pond is not the most relaxing thing in the world! A safe pond, on the other hand, will provide the relaxation and protection that you and those you love need.

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