Though each pond is constructed differently, they usually follow several common steps. All vegetation (trees, brush, and small plants) must be removed from the pond site and an area around the site to prevent rooting problems in the pond structure. Then, the topsoil is cleared down to the lighter-colored subsoil. This creates a stable working area for pond construction equipment. Many hours of bulldozer work are usually necessary to shape the pond bottom and compact the soils. A clay liner or soil amendments may be added if necessary. When completed, the pond bottom should include the features that meet your intentions for the pond A lot of decisions related to pond construction may only apply to a specific site. Each piece of property has unique features, so plan on learning about how they affect your desire to maintain a pond on your property. Realistically, many rural properties are unsuitable for pond construction due to water supply, the lay of the land, or soil composition. Before locating the pond, you should consider how you would be using your new pond. If you have not given this question careful thought, you will have a hard time creating a farm pond that is right for you. In the past, farm ponds were presumed to have a strictly agricultural purpose. With fewer farms and more interest in wildlife, fishing, and rural scenery, pond design now involves many additional considerations. No matter the use of the pond, several requirements for pond construction are always in effect. New ponds must be located in the best spot possible, supplied by a consistent water source, and constructed with an adequate spillway. Failure to meet these basic requirements will cause your pond to have a low water level, fall apart during a storm, or provide you with years of dissatisfaction due to weeds and other onforeseen complications. Representatives from your county Soil and Water Conservation District or Natural Resource Conservation Service can help you make decisions about pond construction. Qualified contractors and engineers can also provide you with sound professional advice. It is worthwhile to ask questions and meet these professionals on your property to discuss your plans. Locate the pond in the best site possible. Ponds function only as well as their setting allows. Three factors are used to site a pond properly: proper soils, avoided hazards, and slope. Of these, the slope of the land offers the most flexibility and will determine whether your pond is dug as a hole or impounded behind a dike. Soil composition is one of the most significant factors in siting a pond. The soil should have low permeability and good compaction. Typically, this includes a high clay content and relatively low organic content. Soils described as gravelly or loamy are usually unsuitable for pond construction without special provisions.
You (or the technicians and contractors you hire) should refer to a soil survey to determine what kind of soil is present on your proposed pond site. Although many people are not aware of it, most all of the USA's soils have been classified with a particular name. For ponds, there are certain soil types that are ideal and others that are very improper. Learn what soil types exist around your property. If the property is large, there may be several different kinds of soil present from sandy to more clay-like. You cannot change your soil type; you must work with its limitations. You should plan on digging test pits to analyze the soil before extensive pond work is started. Test pits are holes (4 – 6 feet deep), excavated by a backhoe in the area where the pond is tentatively planned. They will reveal the soil profile and give you a good sense of what lies in the area of the proposed pond. Once you understand your soils, check for hazards in the vicinity of the proposed pond. Ponds should not be located near power lines, above roadways, next to off-road vehicle trails, or immediately upslope from homes or barns. If a pond embankment fails, everything down slope is at risk of flooding.