Ideas for Landscaping Ponds
Garden & Fish Pond Landscapes

Landscaping ponds with flowering plants to create excitement in the garden. Design a calming, green fish pond landscape with foliage plants. Placing rocks and boulders around a garden pond.

Japanese Garden Pond Landscaping

Japanese Garden Display at an RHS Tatton Park Flower Show

Same Display, Corner View

The dark, finely cut foliage of Japanese Maples is often used to introduce color into fish pond landscapes in Japanese gardens.  In this display garden, airy trees, allowed to grow naturally, are juxtaposed against tightly clipped shrubs and a cloud pruned tree

A serene atmosphere is created by the balance of colors, shapes, and textures here.  The reflective surface of the water, kept uncluttered by plants, enhances this effect.

River rock situated at the pond's edges make the pool seem natural.  Carefully placed boulders add subtle color, texture, and visual interest to the scene.

Photo Above, Left: A solitary weeping willow tree growing on an "island" in a South African pond, forms a magnificent focal point in its landscape.  As in the previous garden, the water here is used as a mirror.

Photo Above, Right: View of the same hillside landscape through the cascading foliage of the tree.

Weeping tree growing at the water's edge.

Close up of the waterlilies congregating on the surface.

The weeping willow has an affinity for water, but, because of its mature size, is not a tree to use in a small yard or beside a small pond.

By planting waterlilies in the pond, you forfeit the mirror effect, but gain greater lushness and refined color when they bloom.

Landscaping Ponds

Each spring, this small pond is brought to life by the soft pink tulips ringing it and the hot pink azalea bushes blooming nearby.  By summer, the flowers have faded, returning the landscape to green serenity.

For summer-long color, ornamental sweet potato vines could be substituted for, or set between, the tulips.

The classic fountain at the pond's center keeps dullness at bay year round by adding visual interest, motion, and the delightful trickling sound of water.

Green is the dominant color in the landscaping around this pond which is conveniently situated beside a shady patio.  The blooms on the few flowering plants used here are small but intensely colored.  The eye is drawn immediately to them.

Keep this in mind when placing such plants around your garden pond.  Consider planting them around or beside a feature rock or sculpture you wish to highlight.

More foliage is added by setting potted plants on the patio.  Containers of flowering plants could also be rotated in to contribute seasonal color.

A subtle effect (evidenced by the choice of pot color) was desired here.

Tip for Landscaping Ponds:

Cover at least 1/3 but no more than half the water's surface with foliage.

Sunlight is crucial to plant and animal growth, but too much light accelerates the growth of harmful green algae.

Also, fish need shade from the noonday sun.

Photo Above, Left: This tiny water garden is brightened with cheerful yellow sunflowers and orange daylilies.

Flat pieces of slate are stacked around the pond's rim, adding contrasting color and rugged texture.

Photo Above, Right: All the landscaping does not have to be done in the ground around the pond; some of the plants can grow in the water.  Here, water hyacinth covers all but a small patch of water in this Ormond Beach, Florida pond.

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating plant which will spread rapidly in hot climates.  Its blue-violet flowers provide a color accent from mid-summer to fall.

The sculpture of a pair of peacocks sitting on a rock is eye-catching as well as functional.  This piece of garden art is also a fountain.

Burgundy and green striped bromeliads encircle the pond, softening its concrete edges.

Tropical Pond Landscapes

Ginger and other tropical plants fill this shady Asian pond-scape with broad, green leaves.  The hot-colored blooms of these plants punctuate the cool greenness, periodically, throughout the growing season.

The striped leaves of variegated ginger could be used in this tropical planting to bring in additional, permanent color.

Colorful bromeliads both grow and look well when planted amongst rocks in warm climates.  The seasonal flowers of these water-holding living urns are usually even more striking than their ever present leaves.

A simple fountain adds movement and the cooling sound of water splashing on rocks. It also aerates the water which benefits fish.

Fish Pond Landscaping

View of the koi pond from the tea house.

View of the tea house from the landscape.

Red and black are accent colors commonly used in Japanese landscaping, and they are used to excellent effect here.  The wood plank floor of the tea house and the railing which separates it from the pond have been painted black.  Japanese maple trees contribute the color red.

How Much is Enough?

When planting a new pond, add 5 stems of oxygenating plants (they are sold in small bunches at garden centers) for every 2 square feet of water surface.

Pond Aeration Plants: hornwort, hairgrass, pondweed, and water milfoil

Fish bring movement and bold color to a pond, but they also do something more important than this.  Fish make a pond interactive.

They are fun to feed and to watch.  In exchange for the extra effort you devote to their care, they will keep the mosquito population in check, making the area around the pond a more pleasant place for you.

When landscaping ponds that house koi or other fish, it is important that you use water plants.  The fish use water plants for cover and as a green food source.  The plants will absorb excess minerals from and oxygenate the water.

Fish Pond Landscaping Strategy:

  1. Install a variety of plant species in the pool.
  2. Be careful of using floating plants (waterlilies, etc.) as these tend to spread and cover the surface, obstructing your view of the pretty fishes and using up valuable oxygen.  The fish will also hide beneath these.
  3. Install the non-floating aquatic plants in pots to control their vigor and to make them easy to lift and divide, or to store over the winter.
  4. Remember to install oxygenating plants.  These are the workhorses of the pond-scape.  They convert carbon dioxide (given off by the fish) into oxygen, and absorb nutrients that algae would otherwise use to grow.

More Advice for Using Water in the Landscape:

Landscaping a Backyard Waterfall

5 Stunning River Rock Water Features

A Large Pond in a Sloping Backyard Landscape

Landscape Design for Swimming & Reflecting Pools

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