How to Landscape Ponds & Waterfalls


Whether you have a natural pond in your backyard or you installed one, landscaping completes the look. A landscaped pond and waterfall in your backyard is one of the quickest ways to create an ecosystem in your backyard that will attract and support wildlife. Plan your landscaping scheme so that it is not only attractive, but functional as well. Add plants that will help to keep the pond clear of algae.

Step 1

Plan the overall look of the landscape. Visit ponds in your area and take notes on the plants that are in and around the water. Choose what works for you now and when the plants reach maturity. Create an internally consistent design. Choose plants that you would find together in nature, whether or not they are native to your region.

Step 2

Place boulders and stones of various sizes and shapes around the margins of the pond. The rocks will disguise and protect the liner. Tuck plants between the rocks to soften the look and provide habitats for wildlife.

Step 3

Purchase a mixture of emergent, submerged and floating plants from a reputable supplier. Do not collect plants from the wild because you could introduce undesirable elements into your ecosystem.

Step 4

Place emergent plants, also known as marginals, near the pond's shoreline in pots. Choose pots that are large enough for the plants to grow within the pot. Fill the pots halfway with garden topsoil. Do not use soil lighteners in the containers because the pots will be too light when you place them in the water. Situate the emergents so that portions of their stems rise above the water. Add a layer of gravel to the top of the soil.

Step 5

Add floating plants to the pond. Cover 50 to 70 percent of the water's surface with plants.

Step 6

Use submerged plants as oxygenators in the pond to remove carbon dioxide and add oxygen. Put the submerged plants into pots with garden topsoil. Add a small amount of fertilizer to non-native plants. Add gravel to the pot to hold the plants down. Place the pots at various depths in the pond. Place bricks on the bottom of the pond and place the containers on the bricks to vary the heights of the plants.

Step 7

Plant trailing plants near waterfalls to take advantage of the changes in elevation.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid plants that could be toxic to fish and animals.

Things You'll Need

  • Pond
  • Waterfalls
  • Water plants
  • Plant containers
  • Gardening topsoil
  • Rocks
  • Gravel
  • Bricks


  • United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service : Backyard Pond
  • Texas Agrilife Extension Service : Aquaplant Plant Identification
  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension : Selecting Plants for the Water Garden

Who Can Help

  • University of Wisconsin : Landscaping Near the Water's Edge
Keywords: pond waterfalls plants, pond landscaping, backyard pond landscaping

About this Author

Lee Roberts has written professionally in different capacities throughout her career. She has written for not-for-profit and commercial entities since she received her B.A in sociology from the University of Michigan in 1986. She has been published on She is currently writing an extensive work of fiction.