Although these instructions break many of the traditional 'laws' of pond building, everyone should read a couple of the books that describe pond-building to get an overview. Then, be prepared to use common sense to break the rules. Each book you read has a regional bias that might not suit your particular environment. The books also recommend expensive materials and equipment that are not necessary. Authors often are promoting a particular brand of pond supplies. So, after you have read the books and get a general idea, be prepared to take your own path.
The first thing you need to figure out is what you are wanting to accomplish. There are different reasons to have a garden pond. Are you most interested in a decoration for your yard? Or are you trying to create something wild and natural? The following instructions will be mostly helpful for those of you trying to create a little ecosystem in the backyard. I do not try to discourage visits from frogs or snakes or anything except animals with claws that might tear the liner. The first time you see a snake in your pond can be a bit of a shock. At the same time, I have yet to figure out a way to stop them unless I totally remove myself from the goal of a natural state. Once I accepted this, I saw the snakes as a sign that I had indeed created a natural setting.