Pond Ideas for a Beautiful Design

Heather Wheatley
Written by Heather Wheatley
Updated June 13, 2017
Add a pond for a beautiful water feature in your landscaping. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Create a beautiful pond with some simple ideas.

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The best recipes sometimes have five ingredients or less, and the same applies to gardening. The most authentic and attractive landscape designs start with a natural inspiration.

The Rule of Five

The ‘Rule of Five’ is certainly applicable to considering new pond designs. Water features are all the rage and virtually maintenance-free if you keep your new pond a manageable size with a limited number of elements in and around it. Ponds that use the ‘Rule of Five’ are more soothing to view, less work for the gardener to maintain and have a tendency to have more thoughtful plant selections.

Look at what's around

Start by looking around and taking note of what you see in the nearby natural plant communities. Is there a riot of a color or are there just two or three colors in a meadow as you drive past? Are there dozens of different plants or a community of three or four?

If you stop to consider these questions, you might realize there are usually only two dominant colors other than green and less than a handful of different types of plants. Think of ways to highlight this in your own pond.  

Wondering what elements you should include in your own pond design? Here five water pond ideas to incorporate.

The lily

Our favorite focal point lily is ‘Sioux’ Water Lily because it’s perfect for medium sized ponds and changes colors, too! It’s like having three waterlilies in one. Our favorite bowl lotus is the Nelumbo ‘Golden Horse in Jade Palace’ (White bowl Lotus) Whether your design is a porch pond or a medium-sized yard pond, these two are winning choices.

Water lilies are classic additions to any pond. (Photo courtesy of EyeEm)

Underwater plants

From there, building height and adding submersibles is not only good design, it is a recipe for healthy water. Waterweed  and Parrot’s feather are both excellent submerged oxygenators; but use caution to keep these contained and only in your managed pond. These plants help keep the water clear and smelling fresh

Vertical focus

Next we’ll build some height to your pond. Our favorite vertical is the water papyrus with its wispy head dress and triangular stems. Then, pick one or two of your favorite bog plants to finish off the look.  If you want to add a special treat for the beneficial insects that will surely come to your exquisite pond, make sure you add some Lobelia cardinalis or a water hibiscus. 

Add visual depth to your pond with vertical, horizontal and underwater plants. (Photo courtesy of Andrea_44 via Flickr.com)

Horizontal focus

Covering about 70 percent of the surface of your water is key to preventing algae. It’s also instrumental in providing a landing site for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects who need a sip of water. Try floating hearts or consider water snowflake to add floating charm.


Top the design off with some water movement using a spitter or low fountain to bring attention to your water feature and to prevent mosquito larvae from forming.

Follow the 'Rule of Five' and stick to these pond ideas and you'll have a stunning, relaxing water feature to enjoy throughout the summer. 

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As of  June 19, 2017, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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