The 100+ Best Backyard Pond Ideas – Landscaping Inspiration
These backyard ponds help create a relaxing spot to unwind and unplug.
A pond in your backyard will increase your property value and immediately turn your backyard into a mini oasis. But there’s more to pond construction than digging a hole in your yard. You need to decide on a location, size, and style.
With these DIY backyard pond ideas, you’ll find that creating your backyard water feature can be as simple or elaborate as you want. From a pondless waterfall to a large in-ground pond, you’ll be ready to take your backyard to the next level. Place a chair next to it and have a beautiful backyard outdoor space that you can enjoy.
So are you ready to create a beautiful pond in your backyard?
1. Backyard Garden Pond Ideas
If you have a garden in your backyard, then adding a pond will take it to a new level. A water feature is a serene place to sit and meditate or relax. Your pond doesn’t have to be large, even a small one with a fountain can create a calming effect. To make a statement, though, a large garden pond will become the focal point.
No matter what size of pond you decide to build, have it match the design of your garden. A tropical garden in a warm climate should have tropical plants that live near water around it. An Asian inspired garden could have koi fish in it. A French or Italian inspired garden will look at home with a pond that has flowers and other vegetation growing in the pond.
Create a sitting area next to the pond where you and your guests can sit in comfortable chairs. You could even build a deck over the pond to feel as though you’re surrounded by water.
2. Backyard Koi Pond Ideas
If the idea of having a koi pond appeals to you, then prepare to have a larger sized pond. It needs to be big enough to provide a healthy environment for your fish. You’ll also need to install a quality filtration and circulation system to ensure the health of the fish.
While it’s popular to line the edge of a koi pond with rocks, this isn’t conducive for you to enjoy them. Instead, you could create a wood decking around the edge of the pond, or use a combination of rocks and decking. This will allow you to stand at the water’s edge and appreciate the beauty of these fish.
A koi fish pond is a serious investment. This isn’t like going to your local pet store and buying a goldfish. Baby koi fish can easily cost $50, and as they get older, they can easily cost several thousand dollars for one fish. Most fish live to be 25 to 35 years old, so you’ll be caring for your fish for many years to come. If you plan to have older koi, keep in mind that they can get quite large. Your pond will need to be deeper to accommodate the size of the koi.
When constructing your koi pond, look for water plants that will create a pleasant environment for the fish and naturally clean the water. Water hyacinth, water lotus, water smartweed, horsetail, and water lettuce are all great picks for your pond plants.
3. Backyard Waterfall Ideas
Adding a waterfall is a smart idea for your backyard pond idea. It creates a beautiful focal point for your pond. It will also create a calming and pleasant soundtrack to your backyard. Finally, the movement of the water through the fountain prevents mosquitoes and adds oxygen to the water.
A simple waterfall could be made from rocks and boulders, where the water flows over the edge of one rock and into the pond. You could scale this up and have the water fall from one rock to the next. If your pond is near a wall, you could have it flow out of a spot higher up in the wall for a tall waterfall feature.
Another option is to create a series of pools where the water flows from one to the next and then finally into the large pond at the bottom. Whatever you decide, try to scale the waterfall to the size of the pond.
4. Backyard Fountain Ideas
It doesn’t matter how small or large your pond is; you can add a fountain. This is actually a smart idea because the fountain will better circulate the water, which will help keep your pond cleaner. Be sure to buy the right kind of pond pump and pond filter to power the type of fountain that you want to have. More elaborate fountains need to have stronger pumps to move the water.
A basic fountain installation is one that simply sits in the bottom of the middle of the pond and shoots water straight upward. For something a little fancier, install a rock fountain installation on the side of your pond. Then the water will bubble up and out of the rocks. For something luxurious and high-end, you can install an entire fountain network where the water goes high in the air or arcs across your pond.
5. Backyard Pond Landscaping Ideas
When it comes to landscaping your pond, you need to think about what you’ll grow in and around the pond. While you don’t have to put aquatic plants in your pond, they’re beautiful and help keep the water clean.
Check into pickerel; it has these beautiful blue, white, or pink blooms. The blooms last for a long time and look stunning when you have several plants together. Another great option is the water iris. It blooms early and comes in a wide variety of hybrids. An obvious option is the water lily in either white or pink.
When it comes to the landscaping around your pond, you can keep it simple with rocks or lawn. These are both easy to maintain and keep the focus on the pond. For something a little more natural, try a tall grass like feather, zebra, or silky thread. To create a tropical pond paradise in a warm climate, consider planting more lush plants like palms, birds of paradise, or elephant ear.
Don’t forget to include a walkway path to and around your pond. This will give you and your guests a dedicated place to walk. This will avoid you trampling your plants and grass. You’ll also want to consider the plants you put around your sitting area. A large tree could be nice to provide you with natural shade to keep you cool while enjoying your pond.
6. Natural Pond Ideas
Many of the DIY ponds that you see are obviously man-made. But when it comes to pond building, you can also go the natural route. Instead of edging your pond with stacked stone, you could pile natural stones. Large stones will give you a strong solid edge. Smaller river rocks are also a good choice to give your pond that natural edge that you’d see around a wildlife pond.
The next step is to plant landscaping around and in the pond. Choose plants that grow well around bodies of water. Then choose aquatic plants that grow in water so that you can have a water garden.
When building your natural pond, you’ll still want to hook up a pond pump to it. This will help with water circulation. While you can choose plants that will naturally clean and filter the water, a mechanical system will ensure your pond stays clean. Natural ponds fair better when they’re bigger because it’s easier to maintain a pond when it’s a larger body of water.
7. Backyard Container Pond Ideas
Not all ponds need to be a hole in the ground. An easy and fast way of building a pond is to fill a container will water. It could be a concrete basin or a large tub. If you can’t find a pre-made tub, you could always build one out of stone. This lets you build a pond that’s above ground, or partially above ground.
Another option is to turn your unused swimming pool or hot tub into a pond. It’s the perfect pond container because it’s already designed to hold water. Convert the decking around the pool area into a lush garden. You could even build a walkway from the edge to a sitting area out in the middle.
8. Backyard Small and Shallow Pond Ideas
Don’t let a small backyard stop you from having a pond. You could purchase a pond kit and create a mini garden around it. You can purchase a pond liner that will create a shallow pond.
Place your small backyard pond near your house so that you can enjoy it without having to go outside. Your pond design could be above ground where you build a retaining wall out of paver stones. Then fill the space and place your pond liner in it. Then you can create a fancy pond design around the liner with beautiful landscaping.
A small pond can also look beautiful in a large backyard. This works well when you want a pond, but you don’t want it to be the focal point of the entire backyard. Create a small DIY garden pond in one corner of your backyard. Then create a walkway from other backyard features to the pond. You could have a gazebo, hot tub, or eating area that all connect by stepping stones or walking path.
You also don’t need to have a deep pond. The pond needs to be deep enough to effectively circulate the water, but this only requires a few feet. Plan for your pond to be at least two feet deep. This works well for small koi, water lilies, and warm climates. Colder areas where water freezes in winter may require three feet to accommodate the frozen water.
9. Backyard Pond Sitting Area Ideas
The simplest thing you can do is place a bench next to the pond. This gives you a place for two or three people to sit. For something a bit more, consider placing a cafe table and two chairs. This will give you a place to set your cup of coffee or a cocktail.
To create a sitting area, you need to have a solid and stable ground for the table and chairs. This could be a simple concrete pad, but that won’t be beautiful. Consider tiling a small area, this will make it both beautiful and durable to the elements. If you don’t like the idea of tile, then consider using large stones.
For a sitting area that is more elaborate, you could build a gazebo. This will give you a sheltered area to enjoy your pond throughout the year. This also gives you the ability to place a larger table or a cushioned outdoor couch. Don’t be afraid to add some string lights to improve the relaxing ambiance.
Backyard Pond FAQs
If you build your pond correctly, then mosquitoes won’t be a problem. Mosquitoes only lay eggs on standing, still water. So if you have circulating water or fish, they will prevent the water from standing still, and mosquitoes will move along to the next body of water.
Most likely not. You won’t be swimming in the pool, so you don’t need to make it safe for people to enter. At the same time, mother nature doesn’t regularly test bodies of water, and they’re safe. Design your pond to be an ecosystem so that it will take care of itself.
Fish live in nature during winter just fine. Similar to bears, they go into a hibernation state. The pond should be at least two feet deep to support the fish. This works well for winter also since the water will typically freeze only eight inches down. The fish will still have room to move under the ice. The only other things you’ll need are a hole in the ice and oxygenated water.
If your backyard pond ideas include introducing koi or goldfish, the first thing you must do is make sure your pond is ready to receive them. You must research to ensure that the water quality, aquatic plants, and pond materials are fish-safe. Thankfully, there is no shortage of information to be found.
Ideally, a fish pond habitat will have approximately 60 percent of the water’s surface covered in aquatic plants. Keep in mind that algae and other substances will grow on your rocks, because this is necessary to sustain life. It’s best to let this happen naturally over the course of a few weeks before adding your goldfish or koi.
While your nearest home improvement center may be stocked with basic backyard pond building materials, your best bet is to become well-acquainted with a local garden shop that specializes in water features. Choose a shop that sells both plants and fish. The experts on staff can help you build the best type of aquascape suitable for your climate and budget.