Build a pond: should I use a machine or not to build it?

Want to build a pond? Should you use big rocks or smaller rocks? Take a quick picture tour of several ponds built near Minneapolis/ St. Paul, MN using a machine versus setting rocks by hand.

Building a pond is a fun way to spend time outdoors! Whether you hire it done or do the work yourself, an important question to ask before you begin is “How do I want this to look?” By answering that, you will know whether you should use rocks that require a machine to set or if you will be using smaller rocks, set by hand.

Generally, basketball sized rocks can be moved by man power and larger rocks will require two men or machinery. 

Ponds built by hand

You will notice several different sizes of rocks in the pond pictures below but most of them are smaller than a basketball. A mix of sizes makes the pond look more natural. The most common rock used in Minneapolis is glacier field boulders, shown below as the rounded grayish rock.


Ponds built using machines to set the rocks.

The ponds shown here also have a mix of rock sizes but the bigger rocks are much larger than a basketball and easily weigh 200-500+ lbs! Glacial field boulders, limestone cubes, and other types of rock are used to create natural, chemical free ponds.


Waterfalls with smaller rocks

Small waterfalls are perfect for backyards.  Pondless waterfalls don’t have to have large rocks to be beautiful! Several different rock types are used in these waterfalls built in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul metro area.


Large waterfalls built with machinery

These waterfalls and streams were built using large rocks of many different types.  Generally, the stream will look more natural if only one type of rock is used to build it.  Once the rocks are in place and the water is flowing, the rocks don’t look as big. Big rocks give the waterfall a timeless feeling of “it’s always been there”.

If you are interested  in a pond or backyard stream or waterfall, please contact us for a free quote!

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