Having a water feature such as a pond in your garden is a nice touch but there’s no denying that it can be a lot of work. Perhaps you’ve just moved into a new home that has a pond out the back or maybe you’re a few years down the line and regretting your decision to install a pond. If this sounds familiar, then you’ve likely been wondering how to get rid of a pond and the answer may be simpler than you thought. Removing a pond from your garden takes more muscle than it does brainpower. It can be a demanding job but with proper planning and an appropriate amount of time, you’ll have that pond gone before you can say ‘gone fishing!’

How To Get Rid Of a Pond
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How To Get Rid Of a Pond

Getting rid of your garden pond involves removing all of the electrical equipment and pond accessories before filling in the hole. In most cases, you should be able to get this done within a day, or at least a weekend.

Step 1 – Plan for Wildlife Relocation

Before you start draining the pond, consider the wildlife that may have made the pond their home. Fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures will need to be safely relocated. Contact local wildlife services for advice on how to humanely and legally relocate pond inhabitants.

Step 2 – Remove Edgings

Start by removing any rocks and plant life around the edges of the pond. Some ponds have concrete borders and if you want to remove these then you may need the assistance of a power tool like a jackhammer.

Once you’ve removed everything, you can save the rocks for another project or discard them.

Step 3 – Remove Solid Materials

Next, you will need to remove any rocks or decorations that are under the water. You should also take out any filters that are submerged. All of this equipment (provided it is in good working order) can be cleaned and given away or sold rather than ending up in the rubbish dump!

Not sure when to fill your pond? – Best Time To Clean Out A Pond

Step 3 – Syphon the Water

You will now need to syphon out the pond water and the most efficient way of doing this is to use a pump. Once enough water has been drained out, you can remove the pond liner. Again, the pond liner can be recycled but this largely depends on the condition.

Consider donating the old pond liner to local schools, community gardens, or allotments where it can be used in gardening projects.

Step 4 – Infill

Depending on where you live, you may be able to fill the hole using the rubble you broke up earlier from around the pond. Once you’ve finished adding the rubble, you will need to fill the rest of the hole using soil. This can be a time-consuming and labour-intensive job so if the weather is hot, be sure to take regular drink breaks.

When the hole is completely filled, take a rake to smooth off the surface. After a few days, you can water the area and compact the soil to ensure it doesn’t shift. You’re then free to lay turf, plant grass seeds, or whatever else you would like to cover the area.

Why Remove a Pond?

Some people install a garden pond thinking that it’ll brighten up the space and attract wildlife. However, one thing that a lot of people don’t keep in mind is that owning a pond can be a lot of hard work. Here are a few reasons that you may want to get rid of a pond:

  • Maintenance: Ponds require regular upkeep to maintain water clarity, control algae growth, and ensure the health of any aquatic plants and animals. The time, effort, and cost associated with this maintenance can be significant, and some may find it overwhelming or impractical.
  • Safety Concerns: Ponds can pose a drowning risk, especially for households with small children or pets. Removing a pond can alleviate these safety worries.
  • Space Utilisation: A pond can take up a considerable amount of space. Removing it can free up room in the garden for other uses, such as additional planting areas, a play space for children, or a patio.
  • Aesthetic Changes: Tastes and preferences change over time. What was once a desirable garden feature may no longer suit your aesthetic or landscaping goals.
  • Wildlife Management: While ponds can attract a variety of wildlife, not all of them may be welcome. You might prefer to discourage visits from certain animals or insects that a pond can attract, such as mosquitoes.
  • Property Value: Depending on the market, a pond might either increase or decrease a property’s value. If a pond is poorly maintained or seen as a liability, it might be advantageous to remove it before selling the property.
  • Water Issues: Leaks and persistent problems with water retention can lead to the decision to remove a pond rather than continually repairing it.
  • Lifestyle Changes: The pond might have been installed by previous occupants with different interests. You may not have the same passion for pond upkeep or aquatic gardening.


While a garden pond can be an attractive feature, it isn’t for everyone, and many homeowners decide that it’s time for that water garden to go. It can feel like an intimidating job especially if you have a larger pond but, provided you’re willing to put in a bit of hard graft, it isn’t as challenging as you might think. You’ll need to make sure that you remove all electrical equipment, plants, liners and of course, fish if there are any. After this, it’s simply a case of filling in the hole. If all of this sounds like a lot of hard work, then don’t sweat it; there are services out there that will do the work for you although you should keep in mind that this can be quite costly.

Garden Doctor Tips

“Do not release any fish or plants into the wild!”

“It is best to fill in the pond in late winter when the wildlife activity is at its lowest!”

“Recycle, sell or give away any pumps or electrical equipment so they don’t end up in a landfill!”

“Make sure you use all the natural materials such as any rubble, rocks and edgings as a base before topping with soil!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need planning permission to fill in a pond?

Not usually. Check with your local planning department to find out if there are any specific restrictions in your area, but in general, ponds and other water features are considered “de minimis” (meaning too small to have an impact).

That said, if you’re planning on doing a significant amount of filling in, it’s always best to check with your local authorities just to be sure. And if you’re removing vegetation or dredging the pond bottom, you may also need a permit depending on your location.

What is the best thing to fill in a pond?

The best thing to fill a hole after draining a pond is soil. You should also add some organic matter to the soil, such as compost or manure, to help improve its quality. Once the hole is filled in, you can plant some grass or flowers in the area to beautify it.

Can I fill a pond with concrete?

Filling a pond with concrete would just be creating an ugly cement-like surface that would look like the ground where there used to be grass. It’s not what you want for your landscape if you can help it!

Also, environmentally, concrete is not advisable as it can last hundreds of years unless broken down with the correct machinery!


Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.

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