What Can You Do with an Unwanted Garden Pond? (Answered)

  • Written By: Rachel
  • Time to read: 4 min.

I have had the chance to enjoy a lovely backyard garden pond. I watched our koi grow, reproduce, and die. I watched our water lilies bloom for 2 years before the upkeep just became too much. I gave away the plants and instead of a water feature, by the time we sold out home, we had a beautiful flower garden instead. 

There are times we find ourselves simply unable to upkeep a pond. It takes a lot of maintenance and a willingness to keep an entire ecosystem going. So if you inherited a garden pond but can’t continue with keeping it up, what do you do with it? 

When it comes to an unwanted pond, you need to take steps to transform it before it becomes a stagnating eyesore. Salvage or sell your fish & pond plants first. Once you have a plan, you can easily renovate the pond for easy maintenance, create a simpler water feature or fountain, or fill it in. 

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what can be done when you have a garden pond in your backyard, but decide it’s just not your thing. 

What You’ll Need to Do First, Before Changing Your Pond

If you have fish, they will need to be removed from your pond before going through the trouble of any transformation. One of the first things most people do when they are sick of the maintenance on their ponds is to sell their fish to other pond enthusiasts or local pet shops that cater to pond enthusiasts. 

You also need to find a stable place for your pond plants. Depending on how deep you plan on leaving your water feature, you may also need to sell those as well. If you leave it deep enough to keep your pond plants, that’s awesome. You know, maybe it’s the fish that you have the most trouble taking care of? After you clean and shallow up the pond, the plants can often be re-introduced. 

Hire your contractor for changing the scheme of the pond, or draw out your own plans and get the supplies you’ll need. I can tell you from experience, that it’s best to have everything ready and just plan for a weekend to be used start – to – finish to transform your pond. Otherwise, your project might sit there for too long and you’ll lose the plants you’re trying to salvage.

If you let your pond sit there, doing nothing to it, the filters can get mucked up, the pump can get clogged, and then you’ll end up with stagnate water. No one wants that smell or the increase in mosquitos it brings.  

Make Your Pond into a Low-Maintenance Water Feature 

There are all sorts of things you can do with a pond that will keep it a water feature in your landscaping while transforming it to be low maintenance. 

For one thing, you can take out and out renovate a normal pond by adding new tiers and stones. Perhaps you never had a waterfall and that can give you a more natural sound while taking up the space of the old pond. You can add more gravel to the bottom and keep the plants you already had, but make the entire thing low maintenance. 

By repurposing the materials, you can take the pond portion out of the garden pond completely and just have a cascading water feature. Some of these look like babbling brooks running through a backyard. Because the water is constantly moving and is shallow, it’s much easier to keep clean and is still a healthy ecosystem for your backyard. 

Or, you can opt for the easiest solution of all – creating a fountain instead of anything else. The pond can be filled in and a decorative fountain placed center of the spot, new landscaping used around it to cover up anything unseemly. That way, you don’t lose the water feature sounds, but there is minimal maintenance. 

Fill in Your Pond to Create a Weed-Controlled Flower Bed

I know a lot of pond designers hate this idea, but you know, when you’ve reached your limit, and you don’t have the money to renovate a pond, filling it in can be a good choice over just letting it sit there. And because of the liner or pre-formed pond plan, the weeding is minimal in this area!

This is what I eventually did with our backyard pond. I planted a variety of lilies and two shallow-rooted medium-sized hellebore selections. And then, I used the rest of it for growing beautiful varieties of kale and strawberries! The space was lovely and it didn’t go to waste.

If you literally want the pond space to completely disappear, you will need to remove everything in the pond, cut the lining out and dispose of it, and find other uses for any decorative stone you’ve used in and around it.  

What Do You Think? 

If you’re having trouble visualizing the possibilities of what to do with an unwanted pond in your outdoor space, you can either hire a landscape designer or it’s easy to look up pond contractors in your area. Remember that sometimes these projects can be a bit overwhelming for a DIY and also there may be local regulations that a professional would know more about than you do. 

Did you get some ideas for what to do if you need to be rid of the constant maintenance of a garden pond? Do you have other suggestions you’d like to make? Have questions about anything you’ve read in this article? Please contact us and I’ll be happy to add suggestions to this article or do more research for you!