There’s something soothing about the scent, sound and sight of water, something that washes away stress and strain. While you can’t stop by the French Riviera or Walden Pond after a hectic day of work, you can have a private oasis waiting for you at home, complete with gurgling water and colorful fish.

In this story, we’ll walk you through the basic steps for building a backyard pond. Roll up your sleeves—it’s mostly muscle work. There’s no need for precise measurements, no unforgiving blueprint to follow, and no deadlines. Working like beavers, you and anyone else with a strong back could probably finish a large pond in a couple of weekends. But that would take the fun out of it. Give yourself plenty of time and creating a pond will be almost as relaxing as sitting beside it.

The basic pond consists of a good-quality liner, a high-efficiency pump, and lots of stone and gravel. For a little bit more money you can add the convenience of a filtration system, which will reduce your weekly maintenance chores. Larger ponds won’t cost a whole lot more; you’ve already made most of your investment in pumps and filters.