construction of the pond for o soutiño house

Manuel, a nature lover, is going to explain us what things to keep in mind when creating a pond on our property. He is also going to walk us through all the different steps he took to create one of his own.

What does a pond aport us

An artificial pond for amphibians brings a lot of benefits from an environmental and aesthetic view,  establishing an amazing ecosystem in constant change. Unlike other elements of a garden, a pond is really easy and affordable to make. Another great aspect is that if it’s designed well, once it matures it’s going to be able to regulate itself without the need of artificial filtration, keeping the quality and the transparency of the water optimal.


What to think about before initiating a pond

Now we are going to comment the different aspects to keep in mind so that an artificial pond gets to it’s point of ecologic balance needed to regulate itself:

-A proper location, where it gets around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, with little shadow areas.

-A natural form, with no straight edges.

-An optimal size, the bigger the better. This is due to the fact that a bigger volume of water will be able to cushion any kind of irregularities that can be caused.

It has to be planned before starting with the construction of the house

All constructions need soil movement to place the cementation. In this exact moment is when the machine that is moving the soil for the house will also move the soil for the pond and also create the horizontal platform for it. It’s a great way to recycle the soil. If the property is totally flat, the machine will create the shape of the pond and the leftover soil will be used to make the edges.


All the soil taken to situate the house, is going to be part of the base of the pond.

The stone that is not used in the construction of the walls of the cementation, will be also part of the edges.

Let’s give it shape

The pond has to have a natural shape as well as different depth points. It doesn’t have to be very deep but the variations points are very important. Providing different levels ( for example, outer area 10-30 cm, middle area 50 cm and central area 90-100 cm) increases the biodiversity significantly when creating different habitats. In continental climates, it’s important that the deepest part is at least 70 cm to prevent abrupt changes of temperature. This will also prevent the water from freeze in winter and overheating in summer.


We can see here how Manuel used a water hose to make the edges the same level. Then he gives different kind of shapes to the base of the pond which will help the creation of life in the water. Once this is done, he will then proceed to take off any stone that could harm the next step.

The land is not naturally  waterproof

Since the land is not waterproof, he will use a PVC coating with an area bigger than the pond to retain the water.


Carefully, like Manuel is doing (in socks), the coating will start to adapt to the shape. It doesn’t matter if it’s not totally perfect since the weight of the water will do any retouch needed leaving the exact same shape as Manuel created. Around 40 cm of the edge of the pond is where we suggest to place the edge of the PVC coating under a pretty generous amount of soil to prevent it from moving.


Let’s prepare it for the big moment, the creation of life

The PVC coating has to be protected so we are going to use a geotextile coat on both sides. This will prevent it from cutting through by puncture. Once protected with the geotextile coat (the white layer on the picture), It’s time to place the stones as the base material. With this we are going to achieve:

-A base made out of materials with a lot area in contact with the water. This is super important for the formation of nitrifying bacterias that will be responsible of the natural filtration of the water. This filtration consists on the elimination of toxic components from the different biological activities, maintaining the quality of the water.

Protect the coating.

Provide support for the aquatic plants.

-Provide enough places of refuge for the wildlife.


In this image we can see the direct relationship that will take place between the house and the pond. In the picture below we see the future view from the living room once the house is built.

It’s time for the water to do its magic

Once the edge and the base is finished, it’s time for the water to occupy the space that we prepared with so much love and dedication.

It is a great idea to put the bigger stones on the edge to help hold the coats in place. Soil is going to be placed on the lefter edges and with time, it’s going to look natural.

Let’s create the conditions for life

Once the level of the water starts getting close to its final point, it’s time to start placing the different aquatic plants, especially the ones considered oxygenators. All of these dissolve oxygen in the water, eliminate any organic material, act as a place to refuge and provide nutrients for the future wildlife of the pond.

Time will pass, and soon the pond will achieve a more natural appearance without us having to do anything.

We have created a new little ecosystem that will hold all kinds of life. Amphibians are in danger due to the deterioration of the water of the rivers and lakes. Everyone of us can help them and they will thank us with their company and songs. Later on, we will show you the evolution of the pond.

Something important is that the only maintenance would be the pruning of the aquatic plants and the Cleaning of the fallen leaves in autumn. It is not suggested the introduction of ornamental fish, since we should control the number of them and put a mechanical filtration system. Turtles are totally not suggested because they darken the water. In the future we’ll show you the relationship between the daily functioning of the house and the life of the pond, which will give an even deeper meaning to the entire set. We are going to wait until the house is built.

Thank you Manuel Souto for sharing with us your knowledge and showing what is like to live in the countryside while obtaining the most of it.

Restoring the remains of ancient walls of a house of the place, cleaned and outcropping the rocky mass that is on the farm, and making a pond as beautiful as the one we have described. These acts connect you to the place and its history. He and his family will enjoy it for years to come. To be continue..