45 Design Ideas to Brighten Your Yard With a Garden Pond - Backyard Boss
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45 Design Ideas to Brighten Your Yard With a Garden Pond

Nothing brightens up a yard and provides interest quite like water features. Not only do you add an entirely new and diverse ecosystem of plants with the creation of garden ponds, but you also invite a relaxing atmosphere into your outdoor living space. Ponds also give an illusion of depth to an otherwise spatially challenged area and provide a draw for beneficial pollinators and birds to your yard.

Ponds are often overlooked in landscape design planning as an unnecessary feature that only creates additional work and effort. However, they require very little maintenance after their initial installation. It’s especially true if you incorporate specific plants that help to naturally filter water and fish that help keep it clear of algae.

There are plenty of ideas to peruse when planning your ideal garden pond, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the amazing ways you can highlight your favorite garden areas. Consider first where you might want to place your pond, and create a list of ideas and tools that would work for you using the compilation provided for you below!

Reflecting View

large pond surrounded by trees and vegetation
Image Credit: bullboy on MorgueFile

Make the background of your property double the size with a large reflecting pond that brightens shady areas that occur throughout the day and creates a picturesque reflection of your landscaping.

Here Fishy, Fishy…

koi fish swimming in a pond
Image Credit: Joan Kocur on Picspree

Nothing completes a pond quite like the addition of some cold water species, such as goldfish or koi. Not only do they help keep your water clear by munching on unwanted insects, like mosquitoes, but they also help to keep algae from forming.

Bordered Brilliance

edge of a pond with vegetation and a concrete border
Image Credit: Laura Shreck on Picspree

Despite the natural look many ponds can lend to a garden, they also serve well as a garden bed of their own, complete with bordered paving. Waterbeds create an entirely new environment to add an entirely new array of perennials to your landscaping! Try pairing your pond edging and garden bed edging for a professional overall landscaping look.

Puddle Drop

small outdoor pond space surrounded by natural vegetation, flowers, and rocks
Image Credit: ArmbrustAnna on Pixabay

Ponds are just as charming when they are both small and large. Natural-looking ponds, such as this one, look like a giant, rock bordered puddle- although it hides a wondrous new world when peeked into from above.

Create A Natural Waterfall

large outdoor pond with waterfall and several large rocks
Image Credit: Dianne on Pexels

While many water walls and water features create a sleek, carefully landscaped take on the traditional waterfall, there is something to be said for the beauty of their inspiration. Using stones, create a natural-looking waterfall that will make you feel far away from the city, surrounded by nothing by the natural environment.

Blended Backyard

waterfall into a pond surrounded by brightly colored plants and flowers
Image Credit: cpogrund on Pixabay

If having a large poolscape is your forte, you don’t need to sacrifice originality for traditional materials. Concrete and natural can be shaped and molded to fit your vision, like this pool made to look like a tropical water feature, complete with flowing water channels, waterfalls, and various vegetation.

Incorporate ‘Floating’ Planters

pond with structured concrete and stone exterior and vegetation
Image Credit: John Boyer on Picspree

When building your pond, include planters that extend to the surface of the pond. It will give the impression of floating planters, allowing you to add your favorite plants and flowers to your pond, even if they arent’ water-friendly options!

Stone Bench Seating

stone bench on a stone pathway next to a pond
Image Credit: jjekafluf on Pixabay

If you’re not interested in committing to a full outdoor entertaining area but still want to have the opportunity to sit and enjoy your pond from time to time, this is the perfect solution. A stone bench is a maintenance-free option that stands up to the elements year after year.

Get Started with a Backyard Pond Kit

small backyard pond with lily pads and large rocks
Image Credit: AquaScape on Amazon

Some of the ideas on this list are large and elaborate. They incorporate fancy water features, decorative landscaping, and pond fish. However, if you want to start with the basics, consider picking up a pond kit. These kits include the various parts of the plumbing, pond liners, filtration, and everything else that you need to make a beautiful outdoor display.

Rustic Wooden Bridge

rustic wooden bridge over a small backyard pond
Image Credit: sonnydelrosario on Pixabay

A wonderful way to add a rustic touch to your pond space is by adding a DIY wooden bridge to your space. It is a great project for a first-time DIYer to tackle, as any imperfections will just add to the character. You can purchase wood for this project, or if you live somewhere with a forested space, collect wood from your property.

Space Saver

small bowl-style garden pond and waterfall
Image Credit: Aquascape on Amazon

Ponds don’t have to be built into a ground substrate of sorts. Some of the most interesting ponds are designed to fit right into your backyard structures or rest on the surface of your deck or patio space. It is especially helpful if you don’t have space elsewhere or simply don’t utilize certain areas and don’t want to waste the ambiance of a pond where you don’t go.

Natural Filtration

koi fish in a pond with rocks below
Image Credit: Michelle_Raponi on Pixabay

Despite fish helping with the cleanliness in ponds, the larger the fish, the more waste they produce. Many ponds have a filtration system, and if you have a pond specific for fish, you may keep a bare pond floor for easy cleanup. However, this isn’t necessary with the steps included in this guide to building a koi pond.

Watery Window

brown wicker-style raised garden pond with waterfall and windows in the front
Image Credit: Pennington Aquagarden on Amazon

Why look down into your pond when you can be eye to eye? Specialized tempered glass and plexiglass can be used for outdoor use to get a unique look into the world beneath the water. Consider a clear panel or even round windows giving you a glimpse into the fish in your pond.

Wood Edging

pond surrounded with wooden edging and two ducks
Image Credit: freestocks.org on Pexels

When we think about ponds, we often picture sandy shores, decorative rocks, or brick pavers. However, there is another beautiful edging idea that can give your backyard pond the finished look that you crave. It is wood edging! It’s the perfect combination of contemporary clean lines and the country feel of the wooden decor.

Cascading Ponds

large pond area with a waterfall and decorative flowers
Image Credit: Roméo Arnault on Unsplash

There is a certain elegance in walkways bordered by flowing water. Let your guests admire your garden beds while serenaded by flowing brooks and falling waters as they meander through your garden walkways.

Harness Solar Power

decorative backyard pond with a waterfall and landscaped garden
Image Credit: Solariver on Amazon

Do you love the look of a fountain or waterfall in your pond, but you don’t want to run up your bills? While some pumps are run with electricity, there are also great solar power options to consider! Harness the power of the sun to power your water feature. It’s a great green-friendly solution.

Au Naturale

shallow outdoor pond with natural vegetation and rocks
Image Credit: molle wolle on Picspree

Naturally finished ponds are easy enough to achieve, but they often need that one little detail to make the look you desire all come together. Consider the addition of a small deck or the strategic placement of rocks to help break up the pond border and provide a good place to hide your pump system under.

Cozy Corner

small pond surrounded with rocks and stones
Image Credit: Aquascape on Amazon

Landscaping sharp corners in a yard can be somewhat problematic if you want to provide flow and cohesion in the garden without making it look too geometric. The key to successful corner plantings is the use of designs that provide both depth and height, and a pond can round that out nicely. The small waterfall in this pond kit is the perfect addition to the corner of any yard.

Play With Symmetry

hourglass shaped pond with a bridge over the center surrounded by trees and grass
Image Credit: eduardovieiraphoto on Pixabay

If you’re interested in incorporating a unique pond shape while still holding onto the clean, upscale appearance of a professionally installed and landscaped pond, try using symmetry to your advantage. It’s pleasing to the eye and opens the door to more landscaping and decorating options.

Indoor Decor

indoor concrete raised pond with potted plants and a waterfall
Image Credit: helicopterjeff on MorgueFile

Just how gardens can be both outdoors and in, so can your garden ponds. Add a touch of sophistication to an indoor space with clean modern lines, water features, and your favorite houseplants.

Natural Simplicity

two people taking their shoes off getting ready to jump into a pond in a forested area
Image Credit: Thomas Northcut on Picspree

We’ve heard the saying that sometimes less is more, and this can also be applied to your garden pond. A simple pond space with a few rocks around the exterior to frame the space. Not only does it look more like a naturally-occurring pond, but it’s the perfect place to cool off with a refreshing swim.

Frame Your Pond with Potted Plants

circular outdoor pond with a rectangular water feature extending from it and potted plants on both sides
Image Credit: artyangel on Pixabay

Looking for the garden pond feel but unable to plant a garden in your space? Whether you’re renting and don’t want to make any permanent changes to the landscaping in your yard or simply looking for an option that will allow you to easily change up the plants on display, potted plants are the perfect solution.

One of a Kind

pond surrounded by stones with stepping stones across the middle
Image Credit: PondGuy on Pixabay

Isn’t creating a one-of-a-kind hideaway everyone’s dream? It certainly is mine, and I can’t stop looking at the combination of the pond, stepping stones, and seating area this design brings together- all while keeping it rustic and not too modern in nature.

Eclectic Lighting

colorful lotus flower lights floating in a pond
Image Credit: LOGUIDE on Amazon

Ponds don’t need to be enjoyed only during the day. Design originality goes beyond what you can see by the light of day. Pond lighting can bring your space to life at night using both spotlights and these colorful floating waterlily lights.

Swimming Grotto

outdoor pond with decorative rocks, and lots of vegetation
Image Credit: Trac Vu on Unsplash

A hidden forest swimming hole or a well-managed swimming pool just steps from your backdoor? Utilizing large property spaces to look as if they are part of a natural outdoor sanctuary is an awesome way to plan your landscaping.

Cubic Footage

outdoor pond with seating area and wooden walkways
Image Credit: Andreas Krappweis on Picspree

Modern lines don’t always need to be standalone and can be easily incorporated into traditional cottage landscaping with very little ingenuity. Clean pavers, wooden decking, and the greenery of the garden beds as a background make this space inviting.

Make Your Pond Pet-Friendly

pug sitting outside next to a pond
Image Credit: Lennart Wittstock on Pexels

They say that dogs are ‘man’s best friend’, so why not include your dog in your planning? When brainstorming your garden pond ideas, choose an overall design that allows your dog to easily come and go. Consider including stairs or a ramp to prevent unnecessary accidents. Don’t forget to choose any plant life carefully and avoid plants that are toxic to dogs.

Stock with Fish

father and son standing beside a pond with fishing rods and a fish
Image Credit: Comstock Images on Picspree

Do you enjoy fishing? If you add a large enough pond to your yard, consider stocking it with fish. Find out what plants and other elements you need to incorporate to create an ecosystem that can sustain your fish over time. It may sound like a lot of work, but it will be worth it to have your fishing spot

Zen Garden

Zen garden with stones, stone sculptures, plants, and trees
Image Credit: fietzfotos on Pixabay

Do you need a place to relax and find peace in this busy world? Build your own zen garden, complete with a pond. Any time you need to escape the stresses of your daily routine, you can come out here to listen to the sound of the water and meditate.

Oblong Byway

narrow pond weaving through rocks with garden spaces and planters
Image Credit: Wonderlane on Unsplash

So much of putting in a pond is about providing a balance of materials and shapes to provide peace and harmony. This uniquely shaped pond follows the flow of the natural environment around it, providing a tranquil view as you walk alongside.

Deck Overlook

wooden dock next to a narrow pond space with a white lawn chair
Image Credit: MabelAmber on Pixabay

The depths of this narrow pond can be seen from above, providing any fish a great spot to winter and varying footing for different types of water plants seen in and around the pond space. It is a great place to relax outside in the sunshine and enjoy the calm sound of water. A garden pond with decking like the one you see here is the perfect place to relax.

Vegetative Detail

water vegetation including water lilies and lilypads
Image Credit: Vito Natale on Unsplash

Circular shapes help balance straight lines and sharp corners, but this look doesn’t have to depend on the structure to be complete. Your choice of pond vegetation is just as important to this display, and giant water lilies in this pond are the perfect choice for this project.

Mysterious Pathway

flat rock pathway through the middle of a pond space surrounded by moss-covered rock
Image Credit: Brad Strait on Unsplash

Create a floating pathway through your ponds that lead to the unknown. Large landscaping rocks, lush moss, and decorative plants create a beautiful location to explore. You can combine this with decorative garden displays to encourage your friends and family to take a journey down the path and discover the hidden secrets that your outdoor space offers.


two level pond with a waterfall cascading over a wall of rocks
Image Credit: Hasan Albari on Pexels

Don’t end your rock walls, rather extend them into a pond that wraps around and creates a cooling, reflective surface in the shady areas of your garden. This little pond contains a tiny waterfall that extends from the wall for further interest. They can also be built into your pond structure with waterfalls and other features.

Broken Borders

multi-level outdoor pond with stone boundaries
Image Credit: fietzfotos on Pixabay

Why have one large pond when you can break them up using garden ornaments, statuary, rocks, and plants? This design creates a series of pools of various heights and depths using the same rocks used along the borders, giving it a natural riverbed look.

Bamboo Pathway

woman sitting on a bamboo pathway over a pond
Image Credit: Takmeomeo on Pixabay

Add a pathway or bridge across your pond using bamboo for an Asian-inspired aesthetic. Make your path as wide or narrow as you desire to fit your space. You can create a single pathway or combine more than one for additional interest. Not only will it give you a way to cross the pond, but you can also use it as a place to hang out and enjoy the space you have created.

Elevate a Meadow or Open Space

small pond surrounded by plants in a large meadow area
Image Credit: Magda Prokopowicz on Picspree

Does your property include a large open space like a meadow or field area? If so, you may be looking for a way to bring some interest to the area. You don’t need to fill the space to create a beautiful place to hang out and entertain. Even a small, decorative pond can make a big difference!

Natural Selection

large outdoor pond with waterfall, natural vegetation, and ducks
Image Credit: Jupiterimages on Picspree

In nature, woodland ponds have their own natural features, such as rocky outcrops, wetland vegetation, and the various materials that fall from the trees above, such as branches and leaves. Create your variation of this with delicate pond lilies, large stones, or twisted driftwood or tree branches placed around your pond. You can take this to the next level by introducing natural wildlife, like fish and ducks.

Build Up the Border of Your Raised Pond

raised stone pond with a central fountain
Image Credit: Jupiterimages on Picspree

Build up your raised pond with stones and other natural features to create a more impressive structure. The moss-covered stonework on this pond gives it an older, rustic feel, as if it has aged over time (even if it was just built).

Plants, Plants, and More Plants

outdoor pond space surrounded with a variety of different plants
Image Credit: paintspreader on Pixabay

Do you have a green thumb? If so, put it to work and create an eye-catching display by adding a wide variety of different plants, flowers, shrubs, and more in and around your pond. Not only will this improve the appearance of your pond, but you will be able to enjoy a garden pond with natural wildlife coming to visit.

Invite Garden Friends to Join

garden pond area with stones on the edge, garden figurines and lilypads
Image Credit: sberg on MorgueFile

You’ll never have to sit by the pond alone with these adorable garden friends. When building your pond, incorporate gnomes, stone animal figurines, or any other ‘friends’ that you want to have nearby. It is a great way to tie your garden into your garden space by carrying over a theme.

Make A Statement

large square stone pond with a planter based fountain in the center
Image Credit: Mike on Pexels

Are you looking for a unique centerpiece for your backyard or outdoor space? Why not use your pond as the opportunity to make a statement? Design the rest of your landscaping around the pond, using it as the inspiration, and incorporate a large, decorative fountain to draw the eye in.

Build A Greenhouse

pond with a wooden deck inside a greenhouse
Image Credit: Skitterphoto on Pixabay

Outdoor lovers that would love a pond that they can enjoy all year long, regardless of the weather, should take notes from this amazing setup! Build a pond within a greenhouse, offering a dock, bridge, or walkway so that you can go in and enjoy the beauty of the space you have created.

Lovely Lilies

lilypads and pink water lilies
Image Credit: Elina Sazonova on Pexels

Waterlilies are usually grown in a submerged pot due to their abundant nature- and desire to cover all available water surfaces. Despite their beneficial qualities as oxygenators, they can end up looking a bit crowded unless you desire a woodland pond look with continued blooms and greenery through the growing season.

Small Natural Stone

small waterfall and pond area created by natural stones
Image Credit: ThomasB72 on Pixabay

Another example that you can make a big statement with a small water feature, this natural stone pond can fit in small yards or spaces. The gentle waterfall will bring the relaxing sound of moving water, delivering to a basin or even a stream to feed another water feature, if desired.

Pond Mania!

You should no longer have any excuses for creating your own pond scape feature for your garden! The many ideas we put together here incorporate everything from the largest to the smallest yards, including narrow spaces to spacious lawns.

No matter what your landscaping budget is, garden ponds are well within it, especially if you decide to make your own using materials that are inexpensive and easy to find.