Hiring a landscape architect is the best option for creating a beautiful pond that fits into your backyard.
The formal approach to this type of project is, however, complicated and expensive. The design process usually involves site analysis, drafts, and renderings – it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Designed landscapes are usually shaped from scratch from standardized templates.
It’s not necessary to be a computer wizard, but it is important to understand the basic principles of this type of design, to be able to communicate effectively with the contractor and get what you want when plotting your project.
Landscape design is not just about creating beautiful images on paper or computer screens. It’s about creating an integrated system of plants, rocks, lawns and ponds that look real. To do this you must first decide how much you are willing to spend.
This article will help you to get acquainted with the basics of this type of design, without hiring an architect. With just a few simple steps you can create your landscape by using software tools or free online services offered by various companies.
Set a budget and choose the size of your pond
If you’re on a tight budget, you can create an artificial pond with flowers and plants that look like water lilies or lotuses. This will require fewer materials than creating a real pond with fish and other aquatic life.
If you have more money and want a pond with goldfish and koi, the size of the pond will be determined by how much space is available in your yard.
Make sure that this space can accommodate not only the surface area required for the pond but also its depth. For example, if you’re going to install waterfalls, the space will need to accommodate an area slightly larger than the surface of the pond and a series of basins.
Choose your materials [to use as knowledge, not to be copied verbatim]
The material that you choose for your pond determines its shape, size and placement in the landscape. There are several options to choose from, including concrete, wood, or metal.
If you’re on a budget and your yard is flat, the best option may be a pre-formed pond. It’s easy to install and can accommodate plants around its edge. One drawback of this type of pond is that it requires an additional filter system because plants prevent water from circulating freely.
Another option is to build a wooden pond. This has the advantage of offering depth, creating an excellent environment for aquatic plants and wildlife. It requires some carpentry skills, however. Make sure you choose the right type of wood for your area (evergreens or even palm trees will not survive in regions with extreme winters) and place barriers around it to prevent animals from falling into it.
Pool liner ponds offer another alternative if you want something more realistic than an artificial pond but are on a limited budget. A pool liner installed on shelves made of rocks can accommodate various plants that grow over the edges of the structure. The only drawback is that plants sometimes look plastic due to their location against the transparent material used to make these pools (a sheet of vinyl).
Metal ponds are the most expensive options. They are usually made from aluminum or steel and are more suitable for flat areas. Their drawback is that they require drainage systems to drain water due to flow problems caused by the fact that their location does not allow for slopes.
Plan your water circulation system
Water circulation is one of the most important aspects of landscape pond design. A poorly designed system can lead to an unpleasant-looking pond with decaying plants at its bottom, while a properly designed system will increase oxygenation and will encourage healthy plant growth around its edge. One of the main reasons why aquatic plants die in small ponds is because they do not get enough oxygen.
To create a good circulation system, you must first note the location of your pond in relation to its distance from nearby water sources. For example, if you want to use rainwater to fill your pond, the surface should be located away from trees or buildings that prevent rainwater from reaching it. If you wish to circumnavigate this problem by using a pump and filters, place these items near the source of water on the same level as the pond’s edge so that it can function properly.
Select aquatic plants
Aquatic plants are available in a wide range of shapes and colors, ranging from grass to flowers. Their selection must take into account not only their color but also the type that can survive in your area during the winter months. To determine whether a plant is suitable for a given region, look at its hardiness zone on the label. If you live where temperatures drop to 10 °C or below, place bamboo or other evergreens around the pond’s edge so that they look natural. In warmer regions where aquatic plants flourish year-round, choose ones with bright colors such as pink lotuses and water lilies.
Decide on the design of your filter system
The filter system plays an important role because it creates circulation and removes excess nutrients from the water. The most common type of system is a pump that pushes water through a hose and then back to the pond after it passes through filters such as gravel and activated charcoal. A less expensive option is the waterfall filter, which does not require electricity because it is gravity-driven
Place stones around your pond’s edge
Laying stones around the edge of your pond will give it a more natural look while serving as a barrier against animals. Once you have created a smooth contour on top of your liner or wooden shelves, place pea-sized rocks below the soil line to prevent weed growth from between them. When selecting stones, consider their color but also make sure they feel comfortable under your feet.
Install the filters
Install the pumps on one side of your pond with hoses that lead to filtration systems. You can also create a waterfall filter system by adding a stone border around an area that is approximately twice as deep as the pump’s height. Add rocks and plants for decoration, then attach a hose from the pump to the top of the waterfall so that water flows down it naturally.
Create a shallow edge
Shallow areas at the edge of your pond will encourage amphibians such as frogs, newts, and salamanders to come to your pond while discouraging fish from entering because they cannot swim against its current. The area should be no deeper than 2 feet in any location.
Add plants and stones
Planting aquatic plants around the edge of your pond will give it a more natural look while providing oxygen and shelter to fish. If you do not want to maintain these plants, choose ones that can withstand neglect such as water lilies (Nymphaea spp.). A decorative rock border along the bottom of the pond’s edge will also improve its appearance, but make sure that you can see at least some water between them for a balanced composition.
Place a bridge above your water garden
A bridge will both decorate and functionally define space over your water. Place it 2 feet above the stone or wood border so that it does not obstruct long-reaching undergrowth below.
A waterfall can serve as an accessory that not only improves the aesthetic appeal of your water garden but also helps circulate oxygen. The type of pump you use will determine the size and shape of the waterfall, so choose one that allows you enough freedom to create a unique design. If you are choosing an electronic pump to power your waterfall, ensure that it has protection for being outdoors.
Add rocks and plants
After you have completed the structure of your water garden, add stones and aquatic plants to create a more natural look. Spread these around the pond’s edge as well as on top of its surface. If there is a shallow area at its edge, place amphibians such as frogs or newts in it to make it feel more like their native habitat.
Decorate with lights
If you want your water garden to be visible at night, use lights that are either recessed within the ground or attached to structures such as bridges. For them to stand up against moisture from rain or condensation from humid days, use only LED lights that are ETL listed for outdoor use and wired to a ground fault circuit interrupter.
Add water-friendly creatures
If you wish, add aquatic creatures such as koi or goldfish to your water garden for their aesthetic appeal and the activity that they bring. However, be aware that even native animals can disturb a pond’s ecosystem by eating other species’ eggs or hunting prey during mating season. To reduce these effects, only introduce two types of fish instead of several, do not cover the surface with too many plants, and regularly change part of the water in your pond. In addition to adding life, you can also add sculpture to make your water garden more interesting. Use fiberglass models because their material is resistant to mold and decay from moisture.
Wooden ones will need to be redone every few years, but metal and stone sculptures can last a lifetime if they are properly cared for and coated with anti-rust paint before their first use.
Fill your water garden with water
When you fill it, use cold water because warm water holds less oxygen than cold. If the temperature of the surrounding area is not that much lower (within 5 degrees Fahrenheit), add an aerator near the waterfall or inlets on opposite sides of your pond to help circulate oxygen into the water for your live ecosystem with plants and animals!
Thanks for reading at Meyer Aquascapes! We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on garden pond design. Please leave a comment below if you liked it or have any questions. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!