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6 DIY Turtle Pond Plans You Can Make Today! (With Pictures)

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

Several turtles swimming in the aquarium tank

Bringing home a turtle is a big responsibility, and it’s one that many people underestimate. Turtles require larger enclosures than many people realize, and aquatic turtles need plenty of space to swim and explore their watery enclosure while still having enough land to support all of their basking needs.

If you’re overwhelmed by the prices you’ve been quoted to build a turtle pond, though, then you’re in the right place. There are a few great ways you can safely and effectively DIY a turtle pond, often saving yourself a lot of money.

turtle divider AH

The 6 DIY Turtle Pond Plans

1. Backyard Turtle Pond by mbzponton

Backyard Turtle Pond
Image Credit: mbzponton

Materials: Cinder blocks, paver stones, rubber pond liner, wooden stakes, dirt
Tools: Tape measure, level or string level, box cutter or scissors
Difficulty Level: Difficult

If you have lots of space in your yard, then this backyard turtle pond will be your turtle’s dream home. This project may save you money over having a professional build you a turtle pond, but don’t expect it to be cheap.

This project requires lots of materials that may be difficult to handle, like cinder blocks and large quantities of dirt, so be prepared to put in the manual labor on this one. It follows the same basic steps as many above-ground ponds, so if you find yourself unsure of exactly what type of item you might need, someone at the local hardware store should be able to help you pick the right item. Just keep in mind that this is not a beginner’s pond project.

2. Paul Cuffaro’s  Mini Backyard Turtle Pond

Materials: Plastic pond form, garden fencing, garden netting, bricks, bamboo fencing, pond rocks
Tools: Scissors, shovel
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This mini backyard turtle pond is a project that can be done on a budget, especially if you don’t go for the extras, like plants for landscaping and lighting. It also doesn’t require a lot of space, although you should still have an appropriate amount of space set aside for your turtle. This project isn’t overly complicated, making it ideal for people with some DIY experience who want to avoid heavy lifting and power tools.

This pond is too small for most adult aquatic turtles, but it can be a good enclosure for a growing turtle or for a turtle that just needs a soaking tub.

3. DanTheGuppyMan’s Ultimate DIY Turtle Pond

Materials: 2x4s, cinder blocks, rubber pond liner, garden fencing
Tools: Shovel, excavator (large ponds only), level, scissors
Difficulty Level: Moderate

The plans for this ultimate turtle pond build aren’t particularly complicated, but it does require quite the commitment to digging a big, deep hole. If you choose to make a large pond, an excavator will come in handy if you have access to borrow or rent one.

This project follows the same basic instructions as most in-ground garden ponds, but you’ll need to account for the depths and amount of swimming space that your turtle will need. You may even consider building ramps right into the build itself for your turtle to easily get in and out of the water, and shallow basking spots may also be appreciated. This pond has the potential to be done on a relatively small budget, and it will cost you far less than a concrete pond.

4. No Dig Pond by Hawk Hill

How to Build a No-Dig Backyard Pond
Image Credit: hawk-hill

Materials: Raised bed corner brackets, pressure-treated 2x6s, furring strips, rubber pond liner
Tools: Cordless drill, level, galvanized screws, tape measure
Difficulty Level: Difficult

If you don’t want to dig a hole in your backyard, this no-dig pond plan is a great option. However, it does require quite a bit of technical know-how, as well as comfort with the use of power tools. It also requires focus and willingness to not rush, especially since your measurements need to be exact to create a sturdy pond that will stay watertight.

You’ll be building the pond itself from scratch, so don’t expect this project to take an afternoon. The work will pay off, though! You have the ability to customize this pond to the perfect specifications of your space.

5. Pond with Waterfall from Mom Dot

Image By: momdot

Materials: Waterfall spillway, pavers, flat rocks, corrugated tubing, waterfall pump, pond liner
Tools: Shovel, scissors, water foam sealant
Difficulty Level: Difficult

If you want your turtle pond to have that certain je ne sais quoi, then this pond plan with a waterfall is just the thing. This follows basic in-ground pond plans, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll have an attractive pond with a water feature. This pond is pretty enough for your front yard but functional enough for your turtle enclosure. Just make sure to invest in a pump that can also filter the water or purchase a separate filtration system and use a basic waterfall pump to create the water feature.

6. Stock Tank Pond by AQUAPROS

Materials: Plastic stock tank, fountain pump, flat rocks, plastic screen
Tools: Water foam sealant
Difficulty Level: Moderate

If you’re on a tight budget and want an easy DIY, then this stock tank pond is the DIY of your dreams. Make sure to choose a plastic stock tank for this project. If you want to use a metal stock tank, you’ll need a pond liner to prevent rusting. If you’re smart about this project, you can potentially build a pond for your turtle for under $50. You might even have some of the materials laying around, like pumps and rocks.

While this project is pretty easy, it still requires some technical knowledge of how to set up pumps and build a waterfall or water feature with rocks and sealant.

turtle divider AH


Building a DIY pond for your turtle doesn’t have to be overly complicated, nor does it have to break the bank. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to put together a pond that is going to be safe, secure, and watertight, then it might be best to invest in the assistance of a professional. However, some of these plans are so simple that just about anyone can make them.

Just remember to make a pond that is appropriately sized for your turtle’s species, needs, and size.

Featured Image Credit: julialine, Shutterstock

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