I am looking to create a trough-like basin for two water features I want to place in my yard. I don't consider this to be in the landscaping/gardening department since I am working with concrete. My overall dimensions will be approximately 3ft wide and long by about 14" in height. Inside in the center of the trough I'm going to place a water pump so that a spring will shoot up about ten to twelve inches into the air to create that relaxing sound of splashing water. This will be a modern austere look/style.

It'll sort of look like this: enter image description here

Taken from this website: https://www.amazonasmagazine.com/2020/01/09/build-a-lightweight-waterproof-concrete-basin-for-ponds-and-plants/

In the link above the author of that DIY article states this could be used for a pond or aquarium. But then in the Q&A at the bottom he sort of contradicts himself by responding to someone who is asking to make a pond. Well, the contributor is asking to make a very large version on this. Devin Biggs, the author of the online article, responds back by expressing doubt that an 8ft long by 3ft wide version of a foam core concrete basin would hold up to the constant pressure of the weight of the water inside.

This makes me sort of doubtful that even my small dimensions would hold up over time. But then again, I have no idea and have limited experience in working with concrete. Does anyone know if using pink insulation foam board to create concrete troughs will hold up over time? I live in the desert so it'll never freeze. So there is no issue in freezing with water expansion; causing stress on the structure. I like this idea because it will be lightweight and I'd be able to move this, if I so choose.

Otherwise, if making one in solid concrete with rebar and wire enforcements for strength and longevity is the way to go I'll stick with that.

Any feedback?

  • 1
    Yes, concrete with rebars placed on the stable ground will be very durable. I would provide a layer of liner on the interior face to prevent leaks from potential cracks, If landscaping block/brick is available, it works for a small to medium-sized pond too.
    – r13
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 22:52
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    If you want light weight ditch the foam and use a product like vermiculite. It will need a wire & rebar mesh for strength but is much lighter than straight concrete, we never went any thinner than 3” for pools, I think planning to move a “pond” is not something I would want to do with a cement product. not getting bedded correctly will damage it after a move, go bigger and just plan on it staying there. If a hot area plan on going deeper I think my aunt had to go 4’ deep to keep from cooking her fish it had a small surface area for how many gallons it was and aerator only at night.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 23:12
  • Thanks for the comments. I plan to run some pvc through the back in order to have a small ball valve inside the basin to automatically fill the basin with water as it evaporates over time. And I don't plan on keeping fish in this water feature. It gets up to 121 degrees here. The fish would not survive!
    – Adrien
    Commented Jul 7, 2021 at 23:20
  • Making it out of cement, it will not be light weight. Might move it with a good size ATV.
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 1:22
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    @Adrien You are missing the third dimension of your proposed basin. Can edit that in? Because whatever you decide remember how much water you will want in the basin for the fountain to run. because the weight of one cubic foot of water is 7.48052 gallons times 8.3453 pounds, which equals 62. 42718356 pounds of water per cubic foot. I have a lily pond that used to have a 2" concrete base below ground with mesh and rebar and it still cracked under 2 feet of water on top of it.
    – user113627
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 1:32

1 Answer 1


For consideration

stock tank

Once you buy the water trough you are done. They come in a range of sizes. They will hold water a long time. They are not expensive. In the desert where you live there will be a store for people who keep animals and you can look at troughs there.

If the trough you like stands too high, set it down into the ground a few inches. If you are digging the chic look of concrete you can stack cinderblocks around the trough to occlude it from view. Or you can use rocks you find on your land, or salvaged bricks or timbers or stucco it or whatever you like. All the trim will be purely decorative which frees you up as regards choices.

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    Yup. Troughs like that come in many sizes and materials. Getting one big enough to line with some sort of brick/block material and still have the interior dimension desired would be the way to go. Any sort of farm supply store will have them in every size imaginable.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 13:16
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    Yes; go with plastic or rubber sheet liner . At least to find out if you really want a fountain. I have a standard pond liner ( HPDM ?) which is fine after 20 years. Commented Jul 8, 2021 at 14:45

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