Design the pond shape and size

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Pond shape and design:

  • Lay out a hosepipe on the ground to see the shape from all angles and check for access around it. View from inside (upstairs and downstairs) and walk around outside.
  • 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 space make the design of your pond as simple as possible. Too much fuss in a shape can lead to the area feeling too busy.


Formal ponds:

  • Fish ponds or planted ponds for older gardeners.
  • Not ideal as wildlife ponds.
  • A part of their interest is in the design of the structure itself (see image above).

Informal ponds:

  • 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 2 smaller ponds linked together by a stream.
  • Build a sloping shelf or exit with cobbles on at least one side of the pond if you want to encourage wildlife creatures.
  • Surround the wildlife pond by planting from a bog zone or moist planting area as an emergence area
  • Include flat shelves creating shallow water planting levels - we recommend planting shelf 0 at 5-6", shelf 1 at 6-9",  shelf 2 at 10-17" deep with a base of maximum 2'6". (or 0-13cm, 14-22cm and 23-44cm and a base of maximum 75cm). 
  • Include a sitting area near the pond as this is often a favourite place to sit and watch either the wildlife visitors or the fish.
  • Think about a patio container pond – it can be a focal point in the garden or placed in a secluded quiet corner near a seating area –  more detail is available on the container ponds page.

Pond size:

  • Make the pond as large a surface area as your space allows.
  • By the time you have finished and included the hard landscaping edge the water area of the pond always looks smaller than you expect.
  • It is easier to maintain the water temperature and balance in a larger rather than a smaller surface area pond.