How to Drain a Small Pond

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Small garden ponds add a relaxing touch to your backyard, but figuring out how to empty the ornamental pond isn't always as relaxing. Fortunately, you have a couple of options. Deciding how to empty a small pond depends on where you want the water to empty and what equipment you have on hand.

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How to Empty a Backyard Pond

If you want the water to empty uphill from the pond, it'll require a pump. The further the distance and the more uphill the location, the stronger the pump required. As long as the location you are emptying to is downhill (or level with) the pond and not too great a distance (more than 35 feet), you'll be able to use simple garden hoses to siphon the water out.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 or 2 garden hoses (depending on the method of emptying)

  • Small plastic bucket (optional)

  • Pump (optional)

Step 1: Remove Everything From the Pond

Unplug all electrical equipment in your pond, such as pumps, filters, and lighting. Remove the equipment, as necessary, to complete the task. Remove all live fish, frogs, turtles, and potted plants, being careful to store them appropriately. You might find it easier to empty the pond partially to find and catch any animals in the water.

Step 2: Pump Out the Water

Use the pump if your garden pond has one to empty the water by connecting the discharge outlet of the pump to one end of a hose and placing the other end of the hose where you want the water to empty. Place the discharge end of the hose in a position that is preferably downhill or level with the water you're emptying. If the water has to travel too far uphill, the pump might not be strong enough. Turn on the pump and leave it on until the water has emptied to the inlet level of the pump.

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Step 3: Siphon Out Water

Siphon the water out using a garden hose if the discharge point is downhill from the pond. Put a nozzle on the hose, connect the other end to a faucet, and turn on the water to fill the hose. Turn off the faucet, disconnect the hose, put your thumb over that end to prevent water from spilling out, drop it into the pond, and remove your thumb.

Step 4: Position the Other End

Move the other end to the discharge point, remove the nozzle, and let the water flow out. As it flows, it will create a vacuum in the hose that will siphon all the water out of the pond. Directing it toward a garden helps you irrigate your plants while giving them the nutrients from the pond water. However, make sure you don't flood the garden or other areas of your landscaping.

Step 5: Scoop Out Debris

If there is debris and/or water in the bottom of the pond after the water empties, use the small plastic bucket as a scoop to remove it.

Tip

The further downhill the end of the hose is located from the water being emptied, the quicker the water will empty. If your pump doesn't have enough power, select another location or rent a stronger pump. If the hose isn't emptying the water, make sure that your hose doesn't have a hole or kink.

Warning

Water and electrical equipment can be dangerous together if not used properly.

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