How to Landscape for a Backyard Pond Garden


Your backyard pond garden should complement the landscaping on the rest of your property. Make your pond landscaping fit in with the style and architecture of your home. A backyard pond does not need to be very large, nor very deep. Use the pond as an opportunity to grow plants that will not grow on dry land. A well-balanced pond encourages birds, amphibians and small animals to visit your property---your backyard may end up as a vital refuge for area wildlife.

Step 1

Plant emergents, including pickerelweed, water hyacinth, bulrush and arrowhead, or any of your favorite emergents. Place the emergents around the perimeter of the pond. Position the emergents so that the plants are down at least 3 to 6 inches in the water.

Step 2

Add floating plants that will drift in the middle of the pond. Include enough duckweed and pondweed or your favorite floating plants to cover at least half of the pond. Choose small- to medium-sized plants. Leave enough room among the plants for them to float freely about the pond. Monitor floating plants and pull out plants if they take on too dominant a position in the landscape.

Step 3

Add oxygen to the water with submerged plants. Choose submerged plants more for their function than their appearance. Root submerged plants to the bottom of the pond or allow them to float just below the surface.

Step 4

Add plants, shrubs and trees of different heights to the landscape to create hiding and feeding places for birds and other wildlife. Create a mixture of plants, with foliage color, bark type, fruit and flowers to provide interest throughout the year.

Step 5

Mix colorful fast-growing annuals with perennials. Add plants slowly, as your budget will allow. Exclude any plants that are invasive in your area. Find out which plants are considered invasive by checking with a local extension service in your area.

Step 6

Plant the same type of grass that grows in the front lawn in open areas near the pond to create a unified look in the landscape.

Step 7

Increase the versatility of the space by placing a large slab or boulder near the pond to create an area for you to sit and view the pond and landscape.

Tips and Warnings

  • Review local safety ordinances to determine what steps authorities require you to take to keep your water feature from being a water hazard.

Things You'll Need

  • Pond
  • Water plants
  • Terrestrial plants
  • Rocks
  • Grass seed


  • USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service: Backyard Pond
  • University of Florida Extension: Florida Friendly Living
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Creating a Wild Backyard - Backyard Ponds

Who Can Help

  • Smithsonian National Zoological Park : Zoo in Your Backyard - Zoo in a Pond
Keywords: backyard pond plants, backyard pond landscaping, garden 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.