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How to build a pond in The Sims 4

A well-established Sims 4 pond, with trees, fish, and various wildlife
(Image credit: EA / Maxis)

If you're wondering how to build a pond in The Sims 4 now that both the base game update and new Cottage Living expansion lets you, we have all the details. The long-awaited feature has finally been added as a free update, negating the need to get creative with pools and foliage at last. Ponds not only look great, especially as you can add accessories like ducks or swans, and lily-pads or reeds, but they can also let you fish right on your home lot. 

Working out how to build a pond in The Sims 4 isn't quite as straightforward as building a pool, so here's how to get started. Coming up we cover all the things you need to do to actually build a pond, as well how to accessorize it, add fish to it, as well as catch fish, and more:

How to build a pond in The Sims 4

1. Use the terrain tool to make your pond shape

(Image: © EA / Maxis)

In Build/Buy Mode head over to the terrain tools and select "Lower Terrain" within the "Paint Tool" area. You can then use this to make the basic shape of your pond. You're able to swap between brush styles (round or square), and adjust the speed at which your tool carves into the land - letting you control the depth a little more easily. 

Compared to the pool tools, using the terrain brushes allows your pond to look much more natural and work better with the landscape. 

2. Fill it with water

(Image: © EA / Maxis)

Once you're happy with your basic pond - or river - shape, flip over to the "Water Tool" section of the terrain menu. In here you've got the option to simply just raise the water level, which will add a layer of water with every click according to the vague water level lines you can see in the terrain dip. 

Or you can choose to "Fill Water to Level", which will top up your pond automatically to the max. You can also adjust your max water level too, for finer design capabilities. 

3. Accessorize it

(Image: © EA / Maxis)

Now that you've got your basic pond built, now you can add some accessories - including flora and fauna. Next to the terrain tools in Build/Buy Mode, there's a new section called "Outdoor Water Decor". In here, you can change the water type (there are new pond-specific options too), add plants, rocks, and logs, and also what's known as "Pond Effects". These are little tiles you can pop onto your pond to spawn things like ducks or swans, or various bugs. They certainly add more character to your pond. 

However, do note that the "Country Fish" option within Pond Effects is purely decorative, so if you want to add catchable (and edible) fish to your ponds, read on.

How to add fish to ponds in The Sims 4

A well-established Sims 4 pond, with trees, fish, and various wildlife

(Image credit: EA / Maxis)

To turn your beautiful new pond into a fisherman's paradise, you'll need to first add the "Fishing Allowed Sign" to your pond from the "Pond Objects" section of the "Outdoor Water Decor". Selecting the sign in Live Mode will allow your sims to add fish, and also see which fish are available to catch in each pond. 

However, in order to add fish to a pond your sims will have to have already registered some fish in their notebook - you can't just buy them from a catalogue or anything. There are two easy ways to do this though:

1. Go fishing

(Image: © EA / Maxis)

By fishing anywhere, your sims will gain knowledge of various different fish types - and the more they catch, the more knowledge and Fishing Skill they'll gain. Once you've caught one of each species, you'll be able to add that species to your home pond. And yes, that counts for the more tropical fish types you can find across the various Sims 4 expansions. 

2. Go grocery shopping

(Image: © EA / Maxis)

If you don't want to put that time into fishing away from home, there's another shortcut to fish stock, and that's shopping. 

Either go to a store, or use the new "Grocery Delivery" option via the phone to stock your pockets up with various types of fish. Once you've bought some, you can then use those species to stock your pond. 

It's not the cheapest way, but it is the quickest. And we all use 'Motherlode' cheats right?

For more Sims guides, check out these below:

 Sims 4 cheats | Best Sims 4 mods | How to get started in The Sims 4 | How to fill out reports in The Sims 4 | How to turn furniture in The Sims 4 | How to age up a toddler in The Sims 4 | How to get more money in The Sims 4 | Sims 4 multiplayer | The Sims 4 relationship cheats | The Sims 4 skill cheats | The Sims 4 free build cheat | The Sims 4 career cheats | The Sims 4 debug cheat | The Sims 5

Sam Loveridge

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for over seven years, and for GamesRadar, she is in charge of reviews, best lists, and the overall running of the site and its staff. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles!