How to design a pond shape to suit you:
- Lay a hosepipe on the ground to look at the pond design shape from all angles.
- Check for access around it.
- View from inside (upstairs and downstairs).
- Walk around outside it to check path width.
- Consider the sharpness of any curves to the pond edge.
- Think about mowing the lawn along this curve - is it too tight for the mower?
- In a small garden space make your pond design as simple as possible - circle, square, rectangle or kidney.
- Too much fuss in a shape can lead to the area feeling too busy.
- Check whether your site is level.
- The finished pond will have a water line that finds a level which may not be apparent to the naked eye.
- A rockery or sloping cobble beach may help on a sloping site. Or link 2 smaller ponds together with a stream.
Use a similar method to think about the shape of the preform pond you might buy from a Garden Centre. Go with an idea of the shape & size that suits your space best.
Design informal ponds for plants and wildlife:
- Use more curved shapes for the informal pond design.
- Curves look more relaxed and lend themselves to more informal, wildlife-friendly planting.
- Design a sloping shelf or exit route with cobbles and spreading plants on at least one side of the pond for wildlife creatures.
- Surround the wildlife pond by planting from a bog zone or moist planting area as an emergence area.
- Include flat shelves below water level to create a range of shallow water planting levels all around the pond.
- Depth does not need to be more than 60cm(2ft) deep.
- Plan a sitting area near the pond.
- This is often a favourite place to sit and watch the wildlife.
For more information go to our page: How to dig an informal wildlife pond with planting shelves.
Design a formal pond:
- Structured shape and pond design - squares or rectangles.
- Often fish ponds or raised planted ponds.
- A fish pond would need to be 80cm(3ft) deep or more if for koi.
- A part of their interest is in the formal design of the structure itself (see image above).
- Include flat shelves creating a range of shallow water planting levels for plants.
- Place the shelves in the corners or down 1 or 2 sides.
For more information go to our page: Construct a formal pond.
Pond design - size:
- Make the pond cover as large a surface area as you can.
- By the time you have finished and included the edge of the water area of the pond it always looks smaller than you expect.
- It is easier to maintain the water temperature and ecosystem balance in a larger surface area pond.
The largest pond would be one built as a Natural swim pond - see our page on Swimming Ponds.
- Think about a patio container pond for small garden spaces – it can be on a balcony or roof terrace. A focal point in the garden or placed in a secluded quiet corner near a seating area.
More detail on the Container Ponds page.