How to Landscape Garden Ponds


A garden pond can create a peaceful place in the middle of suburbia, and with a little thought and planning it can be landscaped to become a virtual retreat right in your backyard. Think continuity in terms of choosing plants: rather than a smattering of every water-loving thing you can find, focus on a few great choices and your pondscaping will have its own pattern and theme. Include a couple of features a little higher up the pond banks, as well; add an ornamental tree, a few shrubs, a place to sit and you'll have focal points and an easy way to enjoy the beautiful landscaping you've designed around your pond.

Step 1

Highlight a graceful curve of the garden pond with an ornamental tree such as a dogwood, crepe myrtle, redbud, or crabapple. This creates a focal point at the loveliest part of the pond's shape.

Step 2

Designate a spot for a bench, either under an existing tree, in a naturally shaded area, or where you can plant a larger tree such as a Japanese maple or gingko. Create a little privacy by planting additional shrubs in a semicircle behind the bench.

Step 3

Choose three water-loving plants as your foundational plants right next to the pond. There are many water-loving plants, but repetition will create a sense of calm rather than an overwhelming variety that confuses the eye. Some fabulous, easy-to-grow water-loving plants are irises (yellow flag, blue flag, and Louisiana), horsetail, miniature umbrella grass, as well as any hostas, canna lilies, calla lilies, and ostrich-feather fern.

Step 4

Plant a mass of your three foundational plants by your focal point, the ornamental tree, and again by your seating area. Think lush and extravagant; these two spots will make the entire pond look like a Zen retreat. Start at the water's edge and plant upward.

Step 5

Decide whether you want to leave the rest of the bank clear and simple or fill in with additional plants. To fill in with additional plants, repeat your foundational plants around the perimeter of the pond.

Step 6

Create a plan for long-term additions. You can add more seating and more focal points; perhaps an area of winter interest, with evergreens and berry-bearing shrubs, or a butterfly zone with bright, colorful bushes that will attract them. Theme future additions according to how you use and enjoy your pond.

Step 7

Cover up problem areas with tall grasses; they grow quickly, spread regularly, and have a natural structure that pleases the eye. Pampas and zebra grass are two favorites that are natural beside any pond.

Step 8

Add floating water plants as the final, pleasing details. Water lilies are an obvious choice; other options include water hyacinth and fairy moss, which is a diminiutive, floating fern.


  • Pondscaping with Aquatic and Marginal Plants
  • Texas A&M Horticulture: Water Plants That Tolerate Shade
  • The Seattle Times: Jump In (Expand Your Plants into Water Gardens)
Keywords: wet gardens, pond landscaping, gardening pond

About this Author

Annie Mueller is a writer, editor, professional blogger, website designer, and tutor. She attended Missouri Baptist College and earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Mississippi State University, with a Summa Cum Laude standing. She has written extensively on gardening, parenting, education, and personal growth for women.