Landscaping Ideas for a Bank on the Water

The incline of a bank presents the possibilities of erosion, excess water runoff and plants toppling over before they have a chance to find their footing. Properly landscaping this type of terrain will prevent most, if not all, of these potential problems and more. Plants for banks near the waters' edge include, but are not limited to, sedges, water-loving irises, willow trees, rushes and various ferns.

Create Designs

Use a few species of plants with differing colors and textures to create your own design on the side of a bank. Creeping thyme, miniature sedum and oxalis (Oxalis californica) offer blossoms and interesting foliage. Try creating a lion. You can create a lion's mane by using Mexican feather grass (Nasella tenuissima) and by using the sedge (Carex flagellifera) 'Bronzita' for lowlight accents, the short facial and body fur looks nice as brass buttons (Leptinella sqaulida). Try using Japanese sedum (Sedum makinoi) for the eyes. Try creating entire African scene with lions, elephants or even a fat hippopotamus.

Landscape to Prevent Erosion

Use deeply rooted plants such as willow tree or bay trees (Laurus nobilis) to help stabilize the soil around embankments. Under plantings for this design include, sedum, thymes, bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), violets, daylilies and bloody cranesbill geraniums (Geranium sanguineum). For steep banks with a grade of more than 40 degrees, lower the grade by removing the top of the bank or adding a retaining wall to prevent dangerous landslides.

Create a Waterfall

Use the natural lay of the land to create a waterfall on the bank. Use either sealed cement or pond liner to make the course. Adding native rocks to the feature will make it look more natural and add stability for placing plants such as irises and creeping Jenny. The waterfall will add oxygen to the pond and aid in keeping fish and invertebrates healthy. Plants suitable for using in and around waterfalls are creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea), sweet flag (Acorus calamus), horsetail reeds (Equisetum arvense) and cattails (Typha latifolia).

Keywords: problem area gardening, garden area troubleshooting, pond embankment garden

About this Author

Izzy McPhee has been a freelance writer since 1999. She writes about gardening, nature conservation, pond care, aquariums, child care, family, living on a budget and do-it-yourself projects. Her paintings have appeared in the well known gallery The Country Store Gallery in Austin, Texas. Her work can be seen on and Demand Studios.