Study the pond and its general characteristics. Observe the amount of sunlight, any already existing plants or fish and the depth of the garden pond. Pay attention to whether the pond is at a higher or lower elevation and the type of liner used in the pond. Identify the common predators in the area such as raccoons, cats and birds. Make note of these distinctions as they will aid in selecting the right type of landscaping.
Select a fish variety for the pond. The two most common pond fish are koi and goldfish. Koi require a deeper, larger pond than goldfish. An ideal koi pond is at least 4 feet deep and holds no less than 1,000 gallons of water. Goldfish can survive in a shallower pond, but will be unable to survive winter if that shallow pond freezes over.
Select water plants for the pond. For the best results, one-third of the pond should be covered in plants. An ideal choice of plants includes two varieties of oxygenators such as water lilies and bog plants. Plants should always be purchased from aquatic garden shops as wild plants may contain diseases and algae that can harm the pond. Consult the nurseryman about your choice of plants to ensure they are compatible with the fish and pond liner.
Select pond lining plants. Plants such as cattails, papyrus and water grass are excellent additions beside a pond. For areas with many predators, consider planting a low branching tree near the pond, to protect any fish. Moreover, the pond edge plants will typically provide a shallow area for the fish to hide from ground predators such as cats and raccoons.