How Do I Build a Cheap Above Ground Koi Pond?

Building a cheap above ground koi pond can be a great option for those who want to enjoy the beauty of these magnificent fish without breaking the bank. With a little planning and some DIY skills, you can create a stunning pond that will provide a happy and healthy environment for your koi.

Planning Your Pond

Before you start building your above ground koi pond, it’s important to do some careful planning. Consider the size and location of your pond.

Koi need plenty of space to swim and grow, so aim for a minimum depth of three feet and a surface area of at least 100 square feet. Choose an area in your backyard that gets partial shade to prevent excessive heat and algae growth.

Materials Needed

  • Pond liner: A durable pond liner is essential to prevent water from leaking. Look for high-quality liners made of EPDM or PVC.
  • Wood or cinder blocks: These materials will create the structure for your above ground pond.
  • Sand or gravel: Use sand or gravel as a base for your pond liner to protect it from punctures.
  • Filtration system: Koi produce waste, so invest in a proper filtration system to keep the water clean and clear.
  • Pump: A pump will circulate the water, ensuring oxygenation and preventing stagnation.
  • Rocks, plants, and decorations: These elements add visual appeal to your pond while also providing hiding spots for koi.

Building Your Pond

Now that you have all the necessary materials, it’s time to start building your above ground koi pond.

  1. Prepare the site: Clear the area of any debris and level the ground. This will provide a stable foundation for your pond.
  2. Construct the frame: If using wood, build a rectangular frame to your desired size. Alternatively, you can use cinder blocks to create a sturdy structure.
  3. Add the liner: Lay the pond liner over the frame, ensuring it is centered and draped evenly over all sides.

    Smooth out any wrinkles or folds.

  4. Add sand or gravel: Spread a layer of sand or gravel over the bottom of the pond to protect the liner from sharp objects.
  5. Install filtration system and pump: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your chosen filtration system and pump. These components are crucial for maintaining water quality.
  6. Add water: Fill your pond with water, ensuring that it reaches an appropriate depth for your koi. Dechlorinate tap water before adding it to avoid harming your fish.
  7. Add rocks, plants, and decorations: Arrange rocks, aquatic plants, and other decorative elements in and around your pond to create a natural environment for your koi.

Maintaining Your Pond

Once your above ground koi pond is up and running, proper maintenance is key to keeping your fish healthy.

  • Cleaning: Regularly remove debris such as leaves or uneaten food from the surface of the water using a net or skimmer.
  • Filtration: Clean or replace filter media as needed to maintain efficient filtration.
  • Water quality: Test the water regularly for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Make adjustments as necessary to maintain optimal water quality.
  • Feeding: Feed your koi a balanced diet and avoid overfeeding, as excess food can lead to poor water quality.


Building a cheap above ground koi pond is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty of these fish while staying within budget. By following these steps and properly maintaining your pond, you can create a stunning oasis that will provide years of enjoyment for both you and your koi.

Photo of author

Emma Gibson