Water garden design is much like other landscaping projects; there are a few simple guidelines to make the backyard pond look much better than many people think.
These five tips are intended to give you something to think about as you design your own (or repair) backyard landscaping.
Don’t Isolate It
Isolating a small pond in the middle of the lawn makes it stand out like a sore thumb at a piano recital. It looks lonely out in the middle of the lawn.
The worst examples of this are when you put a small pond out in the middle of a lawn and put a waterfall into it. A “dot” on the landscaping can quickly become a blot unless you take instant action.
If you have one of these spot-ponds, start planting shrubs and flower beds from that pond (the landscaping should surround the pond) back to the edges of the garden or to the other landscaping in your backyard. Do not isolate it – blend it.
Great greenery and rock work but rocks stick up from flat ground – covering the background fence with more greenery/vines would have been more effective.
Don’t Make It Look Artificial
We all seen pictures of a flat lawn and rising from the middle of this prairie-landscaping is a small “mountain” with a waterfall. My first response when I see one of these is, “How did that get there?” Well, we know how it got there, somebody plunked it down and called it a landscaped pond.
Just as you can’t isolate your pond in the middle of a lawn or let it stand on its own, similarly the pond features such as waterfalls or streams have to fit into the backyard as well.
One way to disguise this (after all most of have flat backyards) is to elevate surrounding soil and then hide the background to the pond with shrubs and evergreens to stop the eye from seeing the pond and the surrounding flat surfaces in the same glance.
Great greenery surrounding the pond but a fake heron (they don’t work to discourage real herons) Note rocks are laid “upright” and in symmetrical arrangement, in an unnatural position rather than horizontally as they’d be found in nature.
Don’t Skimp on Plants
Oh boy do I ever see this a lot. You spend a bunch of bucks on a water garden design and realize how expensive the pump, filter, liner etc really are and you decide to delay planting shrubs and other plants (that should be disguising the hardscape – see above) to save money.
Want to make that pond look really good? Surround your backyard pond with a full range of appropriate perennials and pond side plants.
Here’s where I take a sharp detour away from many home landscaping projects. I don’t think bouncy fish, plastic ducks, whirligigs and other garden-gimmicks belong in a natural landscape.
Want to put in an artificial pond – and make it look cute? OK. But don’t expect it to win any awards for your water garden design efforts.
Ignore this Advice
The last point in my opinion on water garden design is that you have to live with your own garden. If you like the look of a natural pond in the middle of your lawn – go for it. If you like that dancing-mirror-whirligig-nude-lady-silhouette in your backyard pond – go for it.
Ignore gardening advice from experts if it clashes with the pleasure you take away from your own garden. It’s *your* garden afterall and you’re the one who enjoys it.