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)

Learning how to build a pond in the Sims 4 will open up you up to a peaceful aquatic pastime. The water feature was only added to The Sims 4 in later updates, meaning we no longer have to make do with a sad little swimming pool encircled by shrubbery - and these new ponds actually have fish in them!

From glowbugs to frogs, lillypads, and more, you can really jazz up any home lot with a beautiful pond of your own. Finding the pond creation tool in build mode can be tricky, however. Here's a quick look at how to build ponds anywhere in your Sim universe, whether you're revamping the local park or want to create a fisherman's paradise on your own doorstep.

How to build a pond in The Sims 4

How to build a pond in The Sims 4

1. Use the terrain tool to make your pond shape

Using the terrain tools to lower the ground to build a pond in The Sims 4

(Image credit: 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

Filling a terrain dip with water to build a pond in The Sims 4

(Image credit: 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

Adding accessories to your new Sims 4 pond, including decorative fish

(Image credit: 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 for the next step.

How to add fish to ponds inThe 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

An image of a female Sim fishing from one of the new Sims 4 ponds

(Image credit: 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

The Sims 4

(Image credit: 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?

These are the best Sims 4 cheats around, from money to love hacks and beyond.

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

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 a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.

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