If you like the idea of building a railway sleeper pond, it is worth considering the space in your garden, as the average length of a railway sleeper is 8ft. They can be cut down in size but it is worth thinking about who you would get to do this as it would require using a chainsaw. Furthermore, if the dimensions of your pond are too small it would require a lot of cutting and the end result will more than likely not be as striking. Another consideration is the weight of sleepers as they are too heavy for one person to manoeuvre.
Planning Where to Put Your Pond
It is worth considering any overhanging trees that could cause issues with falling leaves in the finished pond. Nearby trees will also make digging harder as tree roots cannot be dug up or you may kill the tree. It is also worth thinking about how the pond will blend into the garden and placing it in a position that will not be too in the way of mowing.
Building your Railway Sleeper Pond
Equipment you will need
After finding a good location for the pond, use a digging spade to create a hole which will act as the base of the pond, use the wheelbarrow to move the soil to another location in the garden or a skip, then with a shovel spread a good layer of sand into the base of the pond to stop any sharp stones piercing the liner. For more advanced pond bases bricks, concrete blocks or marine ply can be used.
Construct the railway sleeper section, it is worth noting that building this once the base hole has been created, not before, is because once the sleeper frame is put together it will be very heavy and difficult to move.
A frame of 14 -18 inches above the ground will make a nice seat height when finished. When constructing the frame, studding can be used to hold the sleepers together or brackets & coach screws can be used as another fixing method. The frame will need to be set on a firm & level surface and a spirit level used to make sure things remain level.
Once you have a level frame built to your desired height place the liner into the hole and manually fold into place and hold with some rocks while you fill the pond with water. Let the pond find its level then cut away excess liner and staple to the top of the sleepers. Then place an oak sleeper, which has not been pressure treated, on its side on top to hold the liner and create a seating area around the edge of the pond.
Wait at least 7 days before adding any fish to allow water to get rid of harmful toxins. The water needs to be properly filtered to stop the fish from dying. Add some plants to help with aerating and enjoy.