Garden & Lawn

The 6 Best Preformed Ponds For Creating A Water Garden

Last updated on June 24th, 2021

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Preformed garden ponds give you the beauty of a fabulous water feature without the worry of having to design it yourself. Rest assured that your garden pond (whatever size or shape mould you choose) will look interesting as well as provide a suitable place for garden wildlife to rest. We present a variety of sizes and designs of the best preformed ponds by listing their pros and cons and discussing their features along with our recommendations. Our Buyer’s Guide addresses some of the issues raised by reviewers when buying and installing preformed ponds.

Installing a preformed pond by pegging out shape
Installing a preformed pond by pegging out shape

Note that all the preformed ponds we review are wildlife ponds. They’re not really deep enough to keep fish in, though some reviewers report that the goldfish in their (large) ponds are happy.

BEST LARGE POND PICK

Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond - Bay 460 litres
While not the largest model in our review, this Bermuda Bay 460L is a manageable large size for those who want their preformed pond to be a multi-year project. The maximum depth of 46cm isn’t deep enough to keep fish, but the many and diverse water plants available will attract local small wildlife that needs somewhere to hang out, drink and bathe. This black rectangle plastic pond has an interior that’s textured to look like carved rock with several ledges to put plant pots or decorative accessories on. Don’t worry too much about the safety of small creatures as there’s a set of escape steps for any wildlife that becomes trapped in the pond.

BEST MEDIUM POND PICK

Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond 128 x 84cm
The tear-drop shape of the Bermuda Sand preformed pond gives it a softer, more natural shape than the more square or rectangular ponds in this review. There’s a narrow end and a wide end that you can make full use of to create more interest in your around-pond landscaping. The interior of this black plastic mould is cut to resemble hewn rock and has ledges at various depths, two of which can hold plant pots. The deep end of the pond (36cm) is at the wide part and is fairly large. The wildlife escape route requires the creatures to walk/crawl up a fairly steep slope. The Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond provides everything for a successful mid-size pond in your garden.

BEST SMALL POND PICK

Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden Instant Wildlife Preformed Pond
If you only have a really small space for a pond, the Direct Global Trading The Shannon is the one you need. This preformed pond has a contemporary look and feel with its kidney shape and its smooth black plastic build. One ledge runs around the perimeter of the pond at a fairly low depth and the rest of the interior area is at the lowest depth of 28cm. At 91cm long, this pond is an ideal size for children to manage on their own and look out for the wildlife it attracts. This DGT Shannon preformed pond fits anywhere for anyone.

The Best 6 Preformed Ponds Reviews

Large Ponds

1. Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond – 460 litres

BEST PICK

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Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond - Bay 460 litres

The Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond – Bay 460 litres is an average size large pond with several top-of-the-line features that make it suitable for those who are serious about developing their pond feature. It’s made of tough polyethylene that’s textured to look like hewn rock. This plastic has been treated to be UV resistant so it won’t become brittle easily over time.

The capacity of the pond is 460L and it has a maximum depth of 46cm. While this isn’t quite the recommended depth to have fish in, it’s deep enough to cause trouble for any wildlife, especially hedgehogs, who find their way into the pond. The set of steps on one corner of the structure offer an escape route for any trapped creatures.

The lip of this pond is quite narrow, an issue remarked on by quite a few online reviewers. Taken together with the thin plastic (another online complaint), the pond edge is known to ripple and kink up and let water flow out over it. One way around this is to firmly hold it down with large rocks.

The interior base of the pond has a built-in pump stand for your own immersible pump if you plan to use one to keep the pond water clean and scum free.

Pros

  • Rectangular preformed pond manufactured from tough UV-resistant high-density polyethylene.
  • Capacity is 460 litres within a textured structure.
  • Has ledges at various heights for plants and decorative accessories to stand on.
  • Integral pump stands for (your own) pump to remove the water.
  • Built-in wildlife escape route to let hedgehogs etc. safely out.
  • Twenty-year guarantee.
  • Dimensions: L167 x W123 x D46cm

Cons

  • Thin plastic used.
  • Narrow lip buckles.

Our recommendation

The Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond – Bay 460 litres is a larger pond that’s still a good size for the average domestic garden. Ledges within the water hold your water plant pots and the escape steps help trapped creatures get out easily. Although it’s deeper than most of the other ponds in our review, it’s still better as a wildlife pond habitat than a haven for fish.

We’ve made the Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond – Bay 460 litres our Best Pick – Large Preformed Pond. It’s not too large for most UK gardens yet gives enough space to develop a habitat that many local wildlife creates will safely visit.


2. Oase Pond Bowl PE – 750 Litres

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Oase Pond Bowl PE – 1 x black – 750 Litres

The Oase Pond Bowl PE – 750L is the largest preformed garden pond in our review. It holds 750L of water and you really must make sure that you have plenty of room in your garden for this pond, including for any pond landscaping you want to do around it.

This Oase – 750L pond has a more contemporary look than many others we review. Its shape is a rectangle but with curved sides and corners. It’s made of a smooth black plastic that gives it a modern and fresh appearance. The lip of this pond is narrow and the plastic is quite thin, so make sure to weigh the pond down with heavy rocks on the edge.

Most of the pond is at the maximum 60cm depth but two zones provide large ledges at a shallower depth. Fish lovers will be pleased that 60cm is the minimum recommended depth at which fish are comfortable in a pond. One very shallow zone runs all around the perimeter at the top of the pond, providing an area for water plants that love that environment.

If you like the style of the Oase preformed pond, it also comes in 150L, 250L and 1000L capacity sizes.

Pros

  • Smooth black preformed mould made of plastic.
  • The capacity is 750L.
  • Has four zones, each at a different level.
  • Dimensions: 210cm (length); 140cm (width) and 60cm (depth).

 

Cons

  • Lightweight material.
  • Narrow lip around top.

 Our recommendation

The Oase Pond Bowl PE – 750L is a pond habitat you can develop over a number of years into the water feature of your (and your neighbourhood wildlife’s) dream. The pond is deep enough to keep fish in, though be sure to ask for expert advice from your pet fish seller first. The smooth finish and organic shape of the pond especially suit contemporary garden designs.

We recommend the Oase Pond Bowl PE – 750L if your pond is going to be the statement piece in your garden

We also reviewed some of the best raised pond kits in this review – No digging needed!


Medium Ponds

3. Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond – 120 litres

BEST PICK

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Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond 128 x 84 cm / Pond Liner

The Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond 128 x 84cm has a capacity of 120L of water which is about standard for a medium-sized pond. It has a “tear-drop” shape that gives a softer look to the pond and provides a narrow end and a wide end to the pond for extra visual interest.

This Bermuda pond is made of black, high-density polyethylene that’s been textured to look like craggy rock. The wide end of the pond houses the deeper part (36cm deep) and the rest of the pond has some ledges at various depths. Grow your water plants there or display marine accessories that match your pond decor theme.

The escape route for creatures that find themselves in difficulty in the pond – hedgehogs for example – is built into the pond as a fairly steep slope that they need to walk or crawl up and then climb over the lip of the pond. It doesn’t look very easy. The in-built pump stand keeps your immersion pump in place when you want to remove the pond water to change it.

A look-alike alternative (same size and style) to this Bermuda preformed pond is sold under the brand name Pisces.

Pros

  • “Tear-drop” shape pond mould formed of textured black, high-density polyethylene plastic.
  • The capacity is 120L.
  • Built-in pump stands for your own immersion pump.
  • Escape route slope for any wildlife that becomes trapped in the pond.
  • Several ledges at different heights for your water plants and knick-knacks.
  • The guarantee is for an impressive twenty years.
  • Dimensions: 128cm (length) 84cm (width) and 36cm (depth).

Cons

  • Thin plastic structure.

Our recommendation

The Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond 128 x 84 cm is a medium size pond of 120L that works well as wildlife habitat – it’s too shallow to keep fish in. The more curvy tear-drop shape lets you plant your surrounding landscape in swirls and curves to match. The inbuilt ledges provide somewhere to put your water plant pots as well as provide an escape route for anything live that’s trapped in the pond.

We recommend the Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond 128 x 84 cm if you’re looking for a water feature that won’t take up too much of your garden space.


4. Tidal Windermere Pre Formed Garden Starter Pond – 120 Litres

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Tidal Windermere Pre Formed Garden Starter Pond (114cm x 69cm)

The Tidal Windermere Pre Formed Garden Starter Pond has a 120L capacity so it’s a fairly large starter pond and requires some looking after. It’s made from strong black plastic that’s durable and quite smooth. The deepest part of the pond (33cm) is a relatively small area.

The interior of the pond has a lot of ledges, some of which are large enough to put pots on but most are not. Some online reviewers report that it’s difficult to install this pond mould in a hole in the ground as it takes time, effort and much patience to pack sand into the shape of all the small ledges.

Pros

  • Rectangle-ish pond with many small and larger stepped ledges.
  • Two of the larger ledges have enough area to put pots and accessories on.
  • Made from durable black plastic.
  • Capacity 120L.
  • Dimensions: 114cm (length); 60cm (width) and 33cm (depth).

Cons

  • Thin plastic structure.
  • Difficult to pack sand around the outside in the hollows of the small ledges.

Our recommendation

The Tidal Windermere Pre Formed Garden Starter Pond is of a size that’s eye-catching in your garden yet doesn’t require a great deal of attention. The many small ledges inside the pond give create shadows in the water to add a 3-D element downwards within your pond habitat.

We recommend the Tidal Windermere Pre Formed Garden Starter Pond if the view down into the pond is as important to you as the surface vista.


Small Ponds

5. Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden Instant Wildlife Preformed Pond – 70 Litres

BEST PICK

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Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden Instant Wildlife Preformed Pond

The Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden Instant Wildlife Preformed Pond – a name that covers everything – is a kidney-shaped pond that’s small enough for children to look after themselves. This pond has a 70L capacity and is 91cm long – that is definitely kids size, or for adults who have small gardens but still want a water feature.

The smooth black plastic of this pond gives it a modern look that fits everywhere, but particularly in progressive landscapes. The pond has a generous lip around the top perimeter so it won’t buckle and spill water out.

A ledge runs most of the way around the pond under level and the rest of the area is at the deepest measurement (28cm). This isn’t deep enough to keep fish in, but birds will enjoy drinking and bathing there. However, the ledge is too narrow to put regular-size plant pots on.

A similar preformed pond (in shape and size) is available under the Pisces brand.

Pros

  • “Kidney” shaped preformed pond made of smooth black, high-density polyethylene.
  • The capacity is 70L.
  • Built-in stand for an immersion pump (not supplied).
  • One ledge running around the entire bottom of the pond.
  • The guarantee is for a generous twenty years.
  • Dimensions: 91cm (length); 64cm (width) and 28cm (depth).

Cons

  • Flimsy plastic
  • Ledge too narrow for pots.

Our recommendation

The Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden Instant Wildlife Preformed Pond is the perfect size pond for those who have limited space in their gardens for a water feature. It’s also great for children who insist on having their own garden patch and looking after things all by themselves. Growing water plants and watching the birds and other wildlife that this contemporary style pond attracts are both relaxing and educational.

We recommend the Direct Global Trading The Shannon as a living water habitat for any small garden space, anywhere, for anyone.


6. Ladybower Pre Formed Heavy Duty Garden & Wildlife Starter Pond – 65 Litres

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Ladybower Pre Formed Heavy Duty Garden & Wildlife Starter Pond (77Cm x 70Cm)

The Ladybower Pre Formed Heavy Duty Garden & Wildlife Starter Pond is even smaller than the Direct Global Trading, The Shannon that’s our Best Pick – Small Pond. This Ladyblower preformed pond is around 70-ish cm square and holds just 65L of water.

The deepest area (28cm) of this black plastic Ladyblower pond is quite small and the rest of the interior is taken up by ledges of various sizes and heights. Only two of the ledges look as if they are large enough to hold pots of decorations. The lip surrounding the top of the pond is a generous width and will comfortably hold rocks and stones to hold it down to the ground.

This is definitely not a pond for fish but the wildlife around your garden will enjoy hanging out here on a hot day. Kids, also, will enjoy looking after this as their own outdoor project.

Pros

  • The almost-square Ladyblower starter pond (made by Tidal) is constructed from the usual black strong plastic that’s textured in this model.
  • The capacity is 65L.
  • The deepest point of the pond is small in area and is surrounded by stepped ledges of various sizes.
  • A fairly wide lip lets you put stones and rocks there to hide it.
  • Dimensions: 77cm (length); 70cm (width) and 28cm (depth).

Cons

  • Thin plastic used.
  • Ledges not wide enough for plants.

Our recommendation

The Ladybower Pre Formed Heavy Duty Garden & Wildlife Starter Pond is the smallest pond in our review at around 70+cm in both directions. Even those with just a tiny garden can enjoy growing and caring for water plants and watching the creatures that a pond habitat attracts. Kids especially can look after their own pond (fully supervised of course).

We recommend the Ladybower Pre Formed Heavy Duty Garden & Wildlife Starter Pond for anyone who has always thought that they don’t have the room for a garden pond.


Buyer’s Guide

I looked very closely at many online reviews when I write these articles. The reviews for preformed ponds identify some common issues which we address here so you’re pre-warned when making your buying decision.

Preformed ponds vs pond liners

A pond liner is an impermeable fabric that’s flexible and stops the water above it from draining into the soil below.

Testing of an installed preformed plastic pond insert filled with some water in the summer garden

Preformed ponds are pond liners that have been cut to size and shaped into a pleasing design. They generally come with a long guarantee; for example, twenty years in the case of Bermuda and the Direct Global Trading ponds in our review.

Fish or wildlife habitat?

People always ask if they can keep fish in a preformed pond. According to the BBC gardening experts, you can as long as the pond is at least 60cm deep. Shallower water evaporates too quickly in hot weather and freezes quickly in winter. Focus on creating a pond life habitat for your neighbourhood wildlife (birds, hedgehogs, bees, butterflies, etc) with a variety of water plants in the pond and attractive plants around it.

Keeping the water clean

Not many preformed ponds have a drain at the bottom to let out the used water, so you have to remove it from the top of the pond.

Removing water from pond with water pump to clean it
Removing water from pond with water pump to clean it

Some of the preformed ponds in our review have a built-in space for you to put your immersion pump (I reviewed some here) in to pump out the dirty water before replacing it with clean. This is one option, as is using a bucket to take out the used water or syphoning it off with a hose. I also recommend investing in a pond vacuum cleaner to clean the pond.

In this review, we compare the best pond vacuum cleaners to see how performance compares between different price ranges.

I have also reviewed some of the best pond vacuum cleaners here

Some online reviewers prefer to let nature look after the water. They grow a variety of oxygenating plants in their pond or include some algae eating snails to keep the water clean naturally.

Material

In the reviews for every preformed pool we looked at, quite a few people complained that the plastic/polyethylene that they are made of was flimsy. And it is. Don’t expect to receive a rigid structure of one that doesn’t bend or give way when you lean on it. However, these moulds are less flexible than pond lining material and that’s what makes them easier to install.

Installation

Having said that preformed ponds are easier to install than pond lining, they’re still tricky to set up. The easy part is in digging a hole that’s larger than the pond and approximately the same shape. The tough part if in back-filling the hole with sand or soil to precisely fill in the nooks on the outside of the pond form.

The best step-by-step instructions we found for installation come from the Bermuda company, which makes two of our three Best Pick selections. It involves filling the hole with sand/soil and the pond with water in step with each other.

Check out the video below on how to install a preformed pond


Final Conclusion

While preformed garden ponds aren’t totally the easy solution to having a pond in your garden that the sales blurbs would have you believe, they’re certainly the easiest way to incorporate this water feature. You just need to know what size and shape pond you’re looking for and examine a few of the extra features such as a wildlife escape route.

The starter ponds in our review can fit into the smallest garden spaces while the largest ponds take up a lot more of your garden space, time and effort. But your reward in all cases is an eye-catching structure, some different plants and the local wildlife visiting you.

Our Best Pick – Large Pond is the Bermuda Pre-Formed Pond – Bay 460 litres. This is a manageable size large pond with an escape route for any hedgehogs or squirrels that become trapped in the water.

Our Best Pick – Medium Pond is the tear-drop shape Bermuda Sand Pre Formed Pond. This pond has several ledges at different depths for your plant pots and decor accessories.

Our Best Pick – Small Pond is the Direct Global Trading The Shannon Black Plastic Garden that fits into the smallest of spaces. Kids especially can have their own pond with this model and look after it themselves.

If you’re interested in using oxygenating plants to keep your pond water clean and healthy, check out our 7 Best Oxygenating Pond Plants For Water Health and Clarity review.

And we have reviews for you if you’re not sure where to start when buying plants for your pond – Best Pond Plants For Small Ponds and Top 7 Must Have Floating Pond Plants.


Last update on 2021-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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