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.
There are a large variety of pond styles, sizes, and shapes to choose from. And it isn’t hard to find one that fits into your budget, whether you have a professional landscaper complete the job, or you turn it into a weekend do-it-yourselfer project. Ponds are often overlooked in landscape design planning as an unnecessary feature that only creates additional work and effort. But actually, ponds require very little maintenance after their initial installation, especially if you are incorporating specific varieties of plants that help to naturally filter water, and fish that help to keep the water clear of algae.
There are a LOT of ideas to peruse through when trying to plan 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!
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…
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.
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!
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Ponds are just as charming when they are small as they are 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.]
Combine a commercial pond liner and pavers to create a lifted, and unique, garden pond that is simply perfect for the addition of potted bog plants and other perennials that thrive in close proximity to water sources
Raised flower beds have been increasingly popular in landscaping recently due to the height they lend to areas throughout a yard and even patio spaces. So the creation of clean, symmetrical lines in conjunction with a matching pool makes complete sense.
Don’t be afraid to add ornamental value to your pond in the way of waterfalls, fountains, and other varying elegance to make it your very own. Much loved vases, oversized planters, and repurposed piping give this pond originality of its own.
Who doesn’t want to sit around an evening bonfire with their drink of choice on this slightly secluded island located in your very own backyard? As you can see, you don’t need to an incredible amount of depth to have a pond, stream, or bridge to create your perfect social spot.
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.]
No matter what kind of pond you have, adding the eclectic is always a great option to consider. Any sort of clear glass container that can be propped up and supported can be used as a viewing ‘window’ into the nether regions of your pond. This is an especially inviting idea for fish enthusiasts.
Beauty in Isolation
No matter what kind of pond you have, adding the eclectic is always a great option to consider. Any sort of clear glass container that can be propped up and supported can be used as a viewing “window” into the nether regions of your pond. This is an especially inviting idea for fish enthusiasts.
Much the same way people use large, decorative mirrors to make their home interiors look more spacious, shallow reflecting ponds can do the same for your outdoor architecture. Give an illusion of depth using simple shapes and decorative rock to make your water depth look endless as well.
Straight lines and carefully measured right angles focus your attention on the beauty of the reflective pool found beneath the strategically placed stepping stones in this airy and inviting privacy nook.
All too often we keep our ponds to ourselves; tucked away in the privacy of our backyards where only we can enjoy it. But what if you made it a welcoming entryway for those coming for a visit? This pond leads up to the house front and is kept simple through the use of evergreen xeriscaping and carefully placed lighting.
Consider placing your pond against a stationary wall, and incorporating the wall design into your waterscape. Light and depth play against this stained glass-looking feature to make the privacy wall look as if it flows gracefully into the simple pond design.
Ponds don’t have to be built into a ground substrate of sorts. In fact, some of the most interesting ponds are designed to fit right into your backyard structures. This 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.
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Despite fish helping with the cleanliness in ponds, the larger the fish, the more waste they produce themselves. 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.
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.
If you are interested in a pond and water feature for the trickling ambiance, why place it where you can only hear it upon taking a short walk? Consider placing your pond near walkouts or windows to get the full experience of having a water feature in your yard.
This is a quick, budget-friendly little pond that you can create with very little ingenuity and a few hours worth of work. Simply pick your size of pond liner and piece together the pavers and stones you want for the project to create your own zen-like stillness.
Head on over to your local feed and supply store and get yourself a stock tank. These things are MADE to hold water for years without rusting through and make the perfect above, below, or even partially submerged pond to tickle your imagination.
Upcycled Hot Tub
Upcycling is the new recycling. Don’t pass up your social media garage sale “broken hot tub, sold as is” add when you can turn it into something like this. Hot tubs (and even displace indoor tubs) are simple to reseal and use in any way you can concerning outdoor pond designs.
Large concrete planters and bowls are perfect pond material, especially if you aren’t 100% committed to digging up a portion of your yard. This is also the perfect solution if you are looking for a smaller water feature to highlight a corner of your porch or patio.
Prefabricated ponds come in all shapes and sizes are easy to customize to your needs with colored concrete and landscaping rocks. Smaller ponds tuck nicely into dark yard corners and those forgotten spaces next to your deck stairs and garden bed pathway
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.
Most garden bed designs border property and leave lawns towards the middle. I have always found this to be boring and shortsighted in the overall design. Break this monotony up with a pond placed in the midst of this. Ponds are naturally asymmetrical looking and help provide shape and curvature to your yard.
Much of what draws people to put in a pond are the varieties of pond plants to choose from. However, planting in the water will cover much of the elegance that the pond itself can bring to your landscape. Consider a gazing pool that is left untouched by vegetation, but planted round with colorful and interesting shapes to reflect back upon the water’s surface.
Who says your pond has to be round-ish in nature? Break the mold and shape your pond to fit the space and vision you have for your yard. Triangles and hearts are only a few common shapes ponds can be easily formed into.
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 to help break up the pond border and provide a good place to hide your pump system under.
Landscaping sharp corners in a yard can be somewhat problematic if you are looking 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.
Backyard Swimming Hole
No need to sacrifice a large amount of yard space to a swimming pool and destroying the natural look of your carefully designed garden beds when you can bring the best of both worlds together. Make your lap pool a part of your backyard oasis, and use both submersible filters and plants as a natural filtration.
Swimming pools can be easily incorporated into a natural backyard pond design without sacrificing the filtration and chlorine needed for clean water if you so wish. Chlorine is a vegetation killer, but with careful planning and placement, plants can be placed within proximity to achieve the look you have planned for.
Go For A Sail
Create the unexpected and reverse your plans for your old boat and turn it into a pond instead! Antique treasures are only worth what they can lend to your decor, so why not be imaginative and quirky, and give your fish the chance to live life from a new perspective.
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, and simple elegance.
Simple lines, shapes, colors, and textures round out this modern pond design to allow your eye to flow and move with the uncomplicated materials used within this garden space.
Ponds don’t need to be placed in a landscaped yard to be enjoyable. Consider its use in your immediate outdoor living space and make it a central focus of your patio as a relaxing addition.
One of a Kind
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 walkway, pond, stepping stones, and waterfall this design all brings together- all while keeping it rustic and not too modern in nature.
Ponds don’t need to be enjoyed only at night. 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 cool floating solar options.
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.
Cascading waterfalls and natural rock round out this spectacular wall feature that seems to blend effortlessly from a tiled patio to a peaceful pond and tiered rock garden design. Water plants are planted in containers to keep them from spreading too far into the reflective pools and keep cleanup easy.
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.
I’ve mentioned multiple times that you don’t need to have a large area to take advantage of ponds and water features. This design features a raised garden bed cascading into a small fish pond that ‘flows’ up to the firepit- an idea that takes up very little space and utilizes multiple needs for social enjoyment.
Biopool and Biodiversity
Natural swimming pools are growing in popularity and enjoyment. Traditional pools are dug and lined before taking on a drastic transformation that involves natural filtration and a chemical-free swimming experience.
Hole in One
If you are designing your pond scape, why not have fun!? Sunken islands seem to defy logic and the rules of gravity, and are a fun feature to contemplate! This reflecting pool balances out the island with a spherical feature that adds further interest.
Ponds help to brighten otherwise dark, and shady areas. If you have a lot of trees casting a shadow over your garden, claim it back with reflective pond lighting and gathering spots and take advantage of the peaceful solitude it creates.
Is it a pond dock? Is it a swimming hole? So much want is going on right now with this natural pool design that brings together the feel of a lake dock and step down swimming pool.
As a stand-alone garden bed addition, a pond free of vegetation reflects back the surrounding greenery to create a beautiful line for both contemporary and traditional design. Marble borders complement the rustic browns of the surrounding brick to blend together the best of both worlds.
Don’t think you can’t have a pond, or two, due to spatial constraints. Boxwood borders and different sizes of similar colored pavers make this tiny space look much larger than what it is- and utilizes every bit of yard available.
Make your pond mirror more than just the vegetation. Walkway and doorway designs can be repeated in the shapes of your ponds to piece together the look of your yard.
Add elegance and flow with the use of graceful curves and gentle turns with the use of circular ponds. Circles balance out the towering vertical lines of this pergola that provides a foreground to the matured trees in the background.
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Again, the repetition of circles provides a collage of interest and depth seen both in the pond and decking design. Wall art also mirrors the horizontal surfaces along the structural wall; all of which are balanced by the rectangular pavers and upright trees.
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 mimics the movement and shape of the Koi within, providing a tranquil view as you walk alongside.
The depths of this pool can be seen from above, providing the fish a great spot to overwinter, and varying footing for different types of water plants seen in and around the separate ponds, connected by a small trickling waterfall.
Forget boring flat yardscapes: add both height and depth to your yard with reaching waterfalls and deep green pools covered over with arching bridges. This pond mixes and matches the ground cover as well to give an illusion of walking into a different world.
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 the perfect choice for this project.
Again, contemporary design fits well into more traditional materials and landscaping with this pond that is framed by smooth lines and cubic ornaments. Manicured lawns round out the picture and greet visitors with open, sunny areas.
Outdoor lounging areas are broken by smooth walkways, pond features, and living vegetation, which are all brought together by well-placed greenery in garden beds, planters, and paver ground covers.
Create a floating pathway through your ponds that lead to the unknown. Large landscaping rocks and well-placed palms create a series of nooks and crannies to explore along this shallow pond design the drops into a deep koi pond.
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.
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.
Aboveground ponds add interest of their own and are even more blended into the yardscape when similar textures are applied. The fountain pond of this design mimics the housing, to make it look like both are rising from the ground and bring a balanced look to the property.
Despite the space required, an above-ground pond can take up, their fun shapes, and many materials they are made of, really make them a one-of-a-kind display for your area.
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 own variation of this with delicate pond lilies, and twisted driftwood or tree branches placed around your pond.
Walk on Water
These carefully placed stepping stones seem to defy all logic and float on water. Create your own walkways using well-placed landscaping stones and incorporate your pond into part of your garden walk!
Using a commercial pond form, and then creating a border parallel to it makes it look even larger than what it is. Use large slate pavers like this pond design does to make your pond look even deeper, and plant it with annuals, or trailing perennials that will grow up between the cracks left in the stone.
Who needs only one? This little pond is a feature of an upper garden walkway and drops into the larger lower pond for further aesthetics. Water-loving bog plants help create a cascading effect that brings the uneven surface together as a lovely garden feature.
Shallow, stone-bottomed gazing pools reflect everything from vegetation, daylight, starlight, and any ornamental features you choose to add. This pretty little pond adds an antiqued element to a traditional garden walkway.
Only have a balcony space to work with? This little pond works well with a carefully manicured bonsai garden to add further tranquility and life to an otherwise barren space.
No need to tear out existing trees or shrubbery to make room for your pond. Instead, section off the vegetation you want to save, and allow them to continue growing in their own personal oasis surrounded by calming, reflective surfaces.
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.
Build a Pond Box
I’ve talked often about how a garden pond serves as a different type of garden bed amongst your landscaping, but this project takes that suggestion seriously and literally creates a pond box for your garden pond.
Pond features really are easy to create as this simple feature shows. Transform a blah corner into a beautiful garden pond with an afternoon of digging and planning to make it all yours!
Best of Both Worlds
Patio chimneys have been growing in popularity and nothing sets it off better than a water feature nearby for you and your visitors to enjoy. This design uses the natural flow of the land to provide privacy and seclusion, as well as the height needed for the waterfall.
You should no longer have any excuses to put off designing, and creating your own pond scape feature for your garden after this article! The many ideas I’ve brainstormed and 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.
We’d love to see your pond designs and innovativeness in their creation and decoration! Comment below with your hints and tips, questions, or suggestions, and remember to please share!