The correct pond design can liven up your backyard and set a relaxing tone for the atmosphere. There are huge ranges of pond designs to choose from, but picking the best one is important because it can make or break your yard’s overall aesthetic. There are many water garden plants you can choose from to help round out your pond, but we’re going to showcase 85 different pond designs you can sort through and implement in your yard or garden today.
1. Entryway Path
Instead of tucking your pond design away in your backyard, showcase it by your entryway. All you have to do is add a little lighting, some xeriscaping with evergreens, and make the pond flow right to your doorway. If you do it correctly, you’ll create a calm and inviting entryway path that guides your visitors straight to your door.
2. Raised Bed
You can buy or build a raised planter bed and set your pond right in the middle of it. Once you get it situated, fill in around the pond with rich soil and add a few plants. This is an excellent idea for smaller yards or yards with hard soil where it’s difficult to dig.
3. Reflecting Pond
Water gives the illusion that a space is much larger than it really is, and incorporating a reflecting pond can almost double the space. All you need for this pond design is a shallow pool of water with no jets to create a smooth, reflective surface.
4. Corner Transformation
The corners are areas of your yard that usually get left out when it comes to designs. You can transform the corner of your yard with this simple pond design. As a bonus, you could even add a small waterfall feature to create soothing, running water.
5. Add Color with Koi
A koi pond design adds life and color to your yard. They eat bugs and algae to help keep your water clean and clear, and they can grow to be larger sizes in the correct environment. As a bonus, this type of fish is very hardy and will survive in different conditions.
6. Small Balcony Zen Garden
Using a raised planter box, a small pond insert, and some bonsai trees with crushed rock and sand allows you to create a tiny balcony zen garden. You can substitute small evergreen shrubs for the bonsai, or you can add a water feature to make it more soothing.
7. Create an Island
If you have a larger area for your pond, save a section in the middle and dig out around it. This pond design idea will allow you to create a small island in the middle of your pond. The water will flow around it, and they’ll continue growing.
8. Walk on Water
This simple pond design gives you the illusion that you’re walking on water. All you need to do is use pavers or outdoor flooring options to create a pathway straight across the pond. Build it up and fill in the pond around it so the tops of the pavers are above the water.
9. Match Textures
If your home features stonework, use the same stonework on your pond design to make it match. This way, it’ll be a continuation of the house and tie everything together. You can create an above ground pond to make a more striking impression.
10. Whimsical Bridges
Add depth and height to your yard by adding small bridges that cross your pond. They could cross in the middle or on the side, and you can easily incorporate pathways. If you have Koi, this is an even more striking idea because you can stand above them and feed them.
11. Contemporary Design
Contemporary design pops against smooth lines and geometric lawn decor. Manicured lawns and xeriscaping plants will help you fill in the space without overcrowding it. If your home features a contemporary design, situating the pond right by it will help extend the look.
12. Pops of Greenery
You can set up an outdoor lounging area around your pond design by incorporating smooth walkways and pops of greenery in well-placed planters, garden beds, and various ground covers with pavers. This will help enhance your pond’s overall look.
13. Overlook with a Deck
Put your pond right up against the side of your deck so you can sit and look down into it. Deeper spots give any fish areas to survive the winter, and you can create large and small ponds interconnected by waterfalls to create soothing sounds and movement.
14. Circular Ponds for Balance
If you have a towering pergola in your yard, you can balance it out by installing a circular pond. The graceful lines will offset the more rigid and straight lines of the pergola, and you can add a pergola cover to help shade the pond in the summer.
15. Sunken Island Illusion
Putting a sunken island into your pond design is a fantastic way to defy the rules of gravity and logic. You can center them directly in the middle of the pond or close to an edge to make it easy to get too, and the lush green foliage will pop against the water.
16. Firepit Cascade
This simple pond design uses a smaller raised garden bed that has a water feature that cascades into a small koi pond before flowing onward right up to the edge of the firepit. You can even add a small paver to create an area for your drink!
17. Hidden Swimming Hole
Use the natural landscape to create a hidden swimming hole pond design. Low-maintenance landscaping ideas like evergreens or stonework can help fill in around the swimming area, and it can flow directly up to your swimming pool.
18. Patio Overhang
You don’t necessarily have to have your pond design outside. Instead, you can create a fun overhang right in the middle of your patio. Add a few shade-tolerant water plants or koi to brighten up the area, and put your seating right around the pond to lounge.
19. Go Antiquing
Do you have an old boat laying around? If so, make sure it’s watertight and turn it into a fun and unique pond design. You can partially sink it into the ground to add stability, and this allows you to create a freestanding, raised pond.
20. Ornamental Grassy Cove
Ornamental grasses like Pampas grass make excellent borders for your pond designs. They add texture and movement, and they can inspire feelings of a warm, grassy cove at the beach. You can add them around your pool if you’re careful about the chlorine.
21. Bring the Pond Indoors
Ponds aren’t just for the exterior anymore. You can easily bring a raised pond inside to create touches of simple elegance and clean lines. This pond will lack the more flashy features found in some ponds, but it’ll bring tranquility to your room.
22. Naturally Finished Ponds
Naturally-finished ponds are a relatively easy pond design concept to take on. All you have to do is sink the pond into your yard and surround it with stones. You could break the border up a little by incorporating a small deck. It’ll help hide the pump system too!
23. Colorful Reflection Pool
People like looking in ponds that have varying depths and interesting shapes. Creating a slightly deeper reflection pond with stones, landscape pavers, and other points of color will help them reflect back at the surface to create a calm experience.
24. Waterfall Cascade
For a pond with a little more drama, consider adding a water feature or waterfall cascade. You could even have it spill right up to your inground pool for extra drama. The moving water will create a soothing environment that is perfect to relax.
25. Liven up Your Deck Stairs
If you have a tiny space by your deck stairs, you can install a prefabricated pond with a few small plants to bring life to it. You could fence it in with a retaining wall and create a mini garden landscape with mulch to add color or taller plants to help define the area.
26. Upcycle Your Hot Tub
Do you have an old hot tub laying around? If so, you can upcycle it into a bright pond that is full of movement. They’re simple to reseal, and you can add a water feature in the middle with various water plants to help bring depth and height to it.
27. Still Zen Rock Pond
Get a few pavers, pond liners, and stone to create a small zen rock garden. Dig out a two by four rectangle, line it with your pond liner, and use the pavers to hold it in place. Put rocks in the bottom and fill it for a very zen, still look and feel.
28. Looking Glass
Why should you have to look down to see your pond? Instead, make a raised pond with one side tempered glass. This does work better for smaller ponds to reduce the strain on the glass, but it gives you a unique view into this watery environment.
29. Large Wildlife Pond
Anyone who has a big yard that they don’t use can convert it into a wildlife pond. Add a few tall grasses, water lilies, rock, silt, and rich soil to encourage good growth. You can add koi or other hardy fish and let it attract the wildlife in your area.
30. Create a Waterscape
You can create an eye-catching waterscape with this pond design if you put it tight up against a stationary wall. Line the wall with glass and light it up to give the water something to play off of. It works wonders against thicker privacy walls.
31. Incorporate Right Angles
Carefully measured right angles and rigid, straight lines help to focus your attention onto the pond directly below them. Place strategic stepping stones over the pond to allow your visitors to walk over them and give the space an inviting and airy look.
32. Modern Spaces
Do you want to make your patio or deck look bigger? You can use shallow reflecting ponds to make any space appear much larger as you would if you installed large mirrors inside your home. Use decorative rocks and simple shapes to give your water depth.
33. Fish Tower
Get a large glass jar with a stand and put it in your pond. Tip it sideways so it fills with water and carefully tip it back up so the lip is underwater. The water will stay in, and fish can swim up to create a unique viewing window without trapping them in place.
34. Boost the Ornamental Value
Add things like fountains, waterfalls, and other features to boost your pond’s ornamental value while making it more unique. Repurposed piping, oversized planters, and vases can all sit in and around the pond to add interest and give you a place to plant colorful flowers.
35. Join Flower Beds and Ponds
Use clean, symmetrical lines with stonework or raised flower beds to join one or two flower beds to your pond design. You could have two flower beds with a slightly larger pond slid between them with a water feature. Just make sure everything is the same height.
36. Perfect Pavers
Get a commercial pond liner and landscape pavers to create a unique, lifted pond design. You can build up the inside with mulch and plants to hold it in place, and this will look nice against your home or porch. Add a few plants and full-sun perennials to give in color.
37. Puddle Ponds
A charming small pond can look like an oversized puddle if you do it correctly. Create a natural-looking, deep pond with large rocks bordering it. This will make your pond look smaller. Add a few water plants to complete the look.
38. Lily Ponds
Water lilies have a desire to spread over all of your pond surfaces. You can introduce them into your pond design to create a woodland pond that has continued greenery and blooms all season long. It can look crowded, but this lends to the natural feel of the space.
39. Birdbath Shallow Pool
Stone-bottomed, shallow pond designs will reflect everything from starlight and daylight to vegetation and ornamental features like bird bath fountains you choose to incorporate. It’ll bring a nice antique element to modern or traditional walkways.
40. Dual Ponds
Create a small pond in your upper garden pathway and have it give the illusion that it drops into a larger lower pond design by incorporating water-loving bog plants between the two. The plants will give the height needed to connect the two ponds and complete the illusion.
41. Widen the Borders
It’s possible to make your pond seem larger than it really is in your backyard by purchasing a commercial pond form and creating a border that runs parallel to it. Get large slate pavers to give the pond the illusion of depth, and plant trailing perennials and annuals to grow between the pavers.
42. Upcycle a Water Trough
If you have a water trough sitting around that is watertight, you can easily transform it into a beautiful pond by upcycling it. Make sure it’s on level ground and add stones and water plants. You could even build up on the outside with pavers.
43. Break a Large Pond Up
Take plants, rocks, statuary, or garden ornaments and use them to break one large pond up into two smaller ones. This pond design will help you create varying heights and depths to give the pond a very natural look and feel.
44. Wrapping Rock Walls
Don’t cut the rock walls off suddenly. Instead, use this pond design idea to extend them and wrap them around one edge of your pond. This will create a reflective, cooling surface for shaded plants. You could add a small waterfall for more interest.
45. Make it a Focal Point
The correct pond design can create a gorgeous focal point in your yard, no matter if you have a small or large space. You could build a sitting area around it, or you could have all of your walkways leading to it to help direct people as they wander around.
46. Hidden Pathways
Add a little mystery to your pond design by creating a floating pathway that winds around large landscaping rocks and Sago palms. This creates nooks and crannies to explore, and you can have a shallow pond drop off into a deeper koi pond for more mystery.
47. Add Details with Vegetation
If your pond is all sharp corners and rigid lines, you can soften it up with rounded vegetation. Giant water lilies will spread over the pond’s surface and create wonderful contrast with your more symmetrical pond design. Tall plants also add depth to the pond.
48. Oblong, Flowing Pond Design
If you have a long walkway in your yard, enhance it with an oblong, flowing pond design that runs right alongside it. You could create a unique shape and add colorful Koi to bring movement to the pond and give it points of interest as you stroll along.
49. Small Whiskey Barrel
Did you know you can buy whiskey barrel pond liner kits that allow you to create small water features? Use them to create charming displays right by your front door or entryway. They could even line your steps or walkways through your yard.
50. Cyclical Pond
Anyone who has a larger yard can create a cyclical pond that gives the appearance of being a running, circular river. You’ll have to dig out an oval shape and leave the middle at normal levels. Put a liner in, fill it, and use gravel with decorative ornaments for the interior space.
51. Layered Water Features
Setting up two or three small water features that flow into one another adds a welcome dimension to your garden or yard, no matter if you have a traditional or container garden. You could treat the biggest feature as a wishing well and toss coins in.
52. Hexagonal Pond
Use a concrete hexagonal frame to create a modern style with clean lines. You can get away with a smaller pond with this pond design because it makes a big impact. Add reeds to give the pond height and texture, and set it right by your deck for maximum impact.
53. Half-Sunken Into a Hill
If you have a sloped yard, you can create a beautiful half-sunken pond by building into the hill on one side and creating a raised side on the other. Using cobbled bricks will give it a traditional look, and you could even set up a smaller pond to run into the larger one.
54. Japanese Ornamental Pond
Create a shallow pond with a lot of grey stone. Using naturally cut rocks and making an ornamental pagoda the centerpiece of the pond creates a peaceful and tranquil area. Keeping the color scheme simple will help you create a zen space.
55. Lively, Lush Pond
Create a pond and pack it with plants by putting them around the exterior and inside the pond. They increase the oxygen levels while creating a lush feel. Pink flowers will make a great contrast, and lilies add pops of green. A waterfall will prevent stagnant water.
56. Terracotta Coloring
Making your pond blend seamlessly with your yard or garden can be challenging. For desert landscaping, warm terracotta colors in the stonework can help transition from the surrounding landscape to the pond. It also contrasts nicely with any greenery you add.
57. Mosaic Patio
A unique, coffee bean-shaped pond allows you to border one side with rocks or stones and one side with a smooth, mosaic patio. Get a very level finish and use a variation of neutral colors with pops of blue or green to create a nice walkway around your pond’s edge.
58. Minimalist Designs
Creating a rectangular pond with straight lines and sharp corners lends a minimalist look to it that is great in modern or contemporary designs. Use high-quality finishes to enhance your pond design, and set your greenery back from the pond to let it shine.
59. Intimate Relaxation Spot
Put your pond design next to a fence and add a small covered seating area with rope lights by the pond’s edge. This will lend a very inviting atmosphere. You can add submerged, marginal, and floating plants to create a layered look that prevents algae overgrowth.
60. Repurpose a Bathtub
Anyone who has an old clawfoot bathtub sitting around can upcycle it and turn it into a whimsical pond. Paint the outside, and add a pump to keep the water moving. It can run right through the faucet. Add a few plants and set it into your garden.
61. Soft, Rippling Water
Even if you have a small pond, you can put a water fountain right in the middle to create a soft ripple effect that is mesmerizing to look at for hours at a time. Make sure you anchor it in place so it doesn’t move, and periodically check for clogs.
62. Brick Patio Pond
Set aside a small area on your patio and build up a brick pond. You could even dig it deep enough to house fish and create a cool entertaining spot during those hot summer months. Add flowers and spill over the edges to give in a slightly wild look.
63. Frame it with Boxwood
You can easily frame a pathway by setting up a small pond on each side of it. Add boxwood to create distance from the pond and your patio or porch. The boxwood with different colored pavers make the ponds look much larger than they are.
64. Forest Ponds
Since ponds lighten up shaded areas, put a pond that winds through your trees. This pond will help reflect the light to make it brighter while adding a peaceful solitude to the area. Add a bridge over it to get from one point to another.
65. Biopool Pond Design
Anyone who has a traditional inground swimming pool can build up the area around it, line it with a pond liner, add stones for a smooth bottom, and flood it. This creates a gorgeous swimming hole that you can line with plants to naturally filter the water for a chemical-free swim.
66. Cubed Ponds and Decking
You can create a focal point in your yard by digging out a square pond and putting decking over one corner. From the seating area, create three clear sections by adding decking over the top of the pond to create dual walkways.
67. Stone Border
Many ponds have natural borders with plants, shrubs, or trees. However, you can turn your pond into a garden bed of its own by creating a stone border that runs the length of the pond. A retaining wall or walkway edging would do nicely to frame in the pond.
68. Tropical Theme
The nice thing about concrete pools is that you can blend them seamlessly with ponds to create a blended backyard that has a tropical theme. Add waterfalls, water features, and put a small pond in a built up portion of the pool to keep it separate.
69. Isolated Beauty
Do you have a quiet area in your yard? Maybe you have privacy screens up to block a social gathering spot off from view. If so, you can add a small isolated pond here to help set the theme and create a relaxing element that is a hidden gem right in your yard.
70. Build It Into Your Deck
Many people simply don’t have space for a pond in their yard, but they have a deck. If your deck sits close to the ground, you can cut out a small area and put in a pond. You could even make it a double-layered pond and have it flow down to the second story.
71. Natural Filtration System
Don’t overcrowd your pond. Instead, keep the floor of the pond natural. Add a few plants and some koi to the water. The plants will introduce oxygen to help the koi, and the fish will clean up any algae or waste products that could make the pond cloudy.
72. Walkway or Window Ambiance
Why not place your pond by a window or walkway where you can hear the water moving and trickling any time you like? This is especially nice if you put it by your bedroom window so you can keep your window open and go to sleep with the sound of running water.
73. Upcycled Concrete Planters
If you’re not ready to dig up your yard for a pond, get a few large concrete planters and create small ponds around your deck or patio. They’re small enough to fit by your deck boxes or fire pits, and they can help liven up your area.
74. Front and Center
Instead of putting your pond off to the side of your yard, put it smack in the center. Not only will this create a gorgeous focal point, but it’ll add curvature and symmetry to your yard. It’ll help break up the monotony of your yard while giving you a relaxing atmosphere.
75. Odd-Shaped Ponds
Don’t stick to the traditional square or rectangular pond designs. Instead, go for something unique like a heart or triangle. Not only does this look cute in your yard, but it can help you fill odd-shaped spaces while giving everyone a talking point.
76. Backyard Swimming Oasis
A submerged lap pool with a pong built around it is a great way to turn a part of your backyard into a swimming oasis. It’s deep enough in spots to swim, but all around the edges are shallow enough to sit back, relax, and enjoy the water.
77. Under the Pergola
You don’t have to sink a pond into your landscape for it to look nice. Instead, consider putting it in a space where you spend a lot of time like under your pergola. This adds a relaxing addition to your outdoor living space while leaving your yard intact.
78. Floating Lights
Don’t leave your pond in the dark. Use garden solar lights set in your pond to light the entire thing up well after dusk. If you float them across the pond in glass, this can easily create a romantic environment for you to sit around and relax.
79. Mirror Your Surroundings
You can make your pond mirror your surroundings to help tie your yard together and create a cohesive look. For example, if you have a round entryway or doorway by your pond, create a round pond to mimic it. Rectangles, squares, and odd-shapes are also possible.
80. Driftwood Decorations
Ponds out in the wild have their own natural beauty about them, and you can recreate it by incorporating a few of these elements. Add lilies to your pond or other vegetation. You can also add pieces of driftwood coming up out of the pond or along the edges.
81. Tractor Tire Pond Design
Sinking an old tractor tire into the ground, covering it with a pond liner, and building up the outside is a great way to get a smaller pond with minimal work. You can use thin rocks to create the outside of the pond and add plants to give it a green pop.
82. Flagstone Borders
Flagstone is a wonderful medium to create a natural-looking border around your pond. You can space several large rocks out around the border with mulch to help anchor the pond itself and the pond liner in while defining the pond’s edges.
83. Pond Design with Fountains
If you don’t want a waterfall or have space for a large water feature, add small fountains around your pond. They’ll give you the look and sound of running water without disturbing the actual pond itself. There are several sizes and types available.
84. Water Wheel
A stunning rustic water wheel is the perfect addition to your backyard or pond design. It’ll add movement to the water without taking up a lot of space, and it adds a nice focal point to the yard that helps draw people to the pond.
85. Vibrant Colors
It’s easy to draw attention to your pond by incorporating vibrant colors with various flowers in and around the pond. Royal purples, flashy pinks, and deep reds will all help to attract your eye to the pond and create a wildly whimsical look.
It’s possible to transform your yard or garden with the correct pond design. I’ve outlined several great options for both small and large yards that you can sort through and incorporate into your space. Install one or install a few and see how they enhance your yard and create natural gathering places for your friends and family.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.