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Build a Deck-Top Pond

Don't have room for a water garden? Try this beautiful pond-in-a-box alternative. To make one yourself, just follow these easy instructions.

deck top pond

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer


  • Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.
  • 2 1×8×8' cedar boards (or substitute pressure-treated boards)
  • 1 3/4×4×8' pressure-treated fir plywood
  • 1 1×2×8' cedar board (or substitute a pressure-treated board)
  • Waterproof polyurethane glue, #100575
  • 2-1/2-in deck screws
  • 1 lb. box 6D galvanized nails
  • Rubberized sealant, or pond liner, #61250
  • Sta-Green potting mix, #99494
  • Fountain pump, #58375

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online

Project Resources



Step 1

From two 8-foot-long 1×8 cedar boards, use a circular saw to cut two 30-inch-long sides and three 15-inch-long pieces for the ends and divider. On the piece that will be used as a divider, measure 3/4 inch from one long edge and rip-cut the board along the marked line.

Step 2

deck top pond

From 3/4-inch-thick pressure-treated plywood, cut a 14-1/2 x 28-1/2-inch panel. From a 1 x 2 cedar board cut four pieces 7-1/4-inches long.


Step 1

Temporarily clamp a side to the plywood bottom panel with equal overhangs on both ends (Deck Pond Project Diagram). Drill 1/8-inch countersunk pilot holes and remove the clamps. Apply waterproof polyurethane glue to the edge of the plywood floorboard and screw the side to the floorboard. Glue and screw the two ends to the floorboard and side; then attach the other side.

Good to Know

Use polyurethane glue sparingly to avoid excessive foaming from the joint. When driving deck screws, drill pilot holes at least 2-1/2 inches deep to avoid splitting the plywood.

Step 2

deck top pond

To create a section for the planting bed, glue the divider in place. After the glue dries, drill 1/8-inch pilot holes and drive screws to reinforce the joint. Glue and clamp the corner corner cleats where shown. After the glue dries, add 6d (2-inch) finishing nails to reinforce the joint.


Step 1

Paint the inside of the box with rubberized sealant, or install a pond liner (a liner is preferred if you're planning to add fish).

Step 2

deck top pond

On the garden side, drill two or three holes in the base to provide drainage for plants. Set the 30×15-inch box on bricks to elevate it.


Step 1

Fill the garden compartment with potting mix and your choice of plants.  Top with an ornamental rock, if desired. 

Step 2

deck-top pond

Add water and pond plants to the other compartment, as well as a fountain pump. 


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