Building a pond has never been simpler but it can be very expensive. There's a large amount of help available on the web, in forums and blogs, magazines, and from specialist pond builders.

One of the hardest decisions you will need to make is what kind of pond you want; a large range of possibilities are open to you, anything from a water garden for frogs and newts to a large modern design perfect for showing off your prize koi.

Ideally a koi pond should have a surface area of at least 3.5m2 (40ft2) and a minimum depth of 1.2m (4ft). This is to allow for good oxygen transfer from the surface and provide a large enough volume of water to keep your fish fit and happy. Ponds which don’t have koi can be smaller and shallower.

The ideal site for a koi pond should provide lots of sun for a significant part of the day with a shaded area so the fish can cool off. Also, try not to expose the pond to excessive winds as this will lower the water temperature.

It is a good idea to locate your pond away from trees, unless you are prepared to spend a lot of time getting the leaves out of the water; remember some plants are poisonous to fish – if you are unsure always check. If you cannot avoid having a tree close you pond be sure to install a skimmer on the wall closest to where the leaves will drop into the water this should help keep down the amount of leaf litter.

The pond will also need convenient access to water (for refilling in summer and to freshen the water), electricity (filters, heaters, pumps, lights) and finally the pond itself should be easily accessible with good views so you can enjoy it and fit into the overall garden design.

Before starting the actual construction it is worthwhile doing a detailed drawing incorporating the following;

Bear in mind that a well-built pond will last a lifetime so put plenty of thought in at this stage.

Remember that planning permission may be required. Contact your local planning officer if you are unsure.