How to Landscape a Backyard Pond


Sunlight bouncing off the droplets of a fountain, the sound of a gurgling waterfall, fish playing hide and seek among the water lilies: A backyard pond adds so much to the landscape. And landscaping finishes the look of a pond. Adding plants and flowers around your pond increases its beauty.

Step 1

Observe how much sunlight versus shade the pond receives. Different plants have different light requirements. One that loves shade won't do well in direct sun all day. Most flowers need at least six hours of sunlight to bloom, and that includes water lilies.

Step 2

Think twice about planting deciduous bushes and trees close to a pond. When the plant sheds its leaves and they fall into the pond they'll decay and change the acidity of the water. It will be necessary to scoop the leaves out of the water or net the pond to catch the leaves before they fall in.

Step 3

Select plants that will survive on natural rainfall, or provide drip irrigation. Watering with a hose splashes soil into the pond. That soil most likely contains fertilizer, which can kill the fish and plants in the pond. If your pond is natural the edges will be boggy, so use plants that like having their feet wet.

Step 4

Keep plants in proportion to the pond. A huge wad of grass looks silly next to a small pond. Little bitty alpine plants are lost next to a big pond. The style of the pond needs to be taken into consideration, as well. A naturalized pond looks good with vines spilling over the sides and flowers looking like they came from a meadow. A formal pond requires more formal trimmed and manicured plants.

Step 5

Choose plants for both the pond itself and around the pond. Vary the leaf size and shape as well as the plant heights. Combine round water lily pads with the reed look of papyrus, contrasted with the arrow-shaped leaves of taros for a pleasing look. Carry through the look of that combination with the plants around the pond.

Step 6

Place your chosen plants around the pond until you're satisfied with the layout. Keep in mind the mature size of the plants so you don't unintentionally block the view of the pond. Low-growing plants should be in front of the pond and taller-growing plants in the back and at the sides of the pond.

Step 7

Dig a hole that is twice as wide and deep as the pot the plant is in. Add a half-teaspoon of plant fertilizer at the bottom of the hole. Refill the hole with some of the dirt and mix well with the fertilizer. Place the plant in the hole, refill with soil and water well.

Tips and Warnings

  • Electricity and water don't mix. Be extremely cautious when using electric power tools, such as trimmers, around the pond.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Fertilizer
  • Plants


  • "The complete Pond Builder"; Helen Nash; 1995
  • "All About Building Waterfalls, Pools, and Streams"; Charles M. Thomas and Richard M. Koogle; 2002

Who Can Help

  • Plants for ponds and bogs
Keywords: pond landscaping, landscape pond, add plants to pond

About this Author

Dee Power holds an MBA. She is the co-author of "Attracting Capital from Angels," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "The Making of a Bestseller," the novel "Over Time," and several screenplays. She contributes to several Web sites and is a regular columnist for