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55 Visually Striking Backyard Pond Ideas
By 1 Kindesign on Apr 18, 2014
Summer is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start planning your backyard oasis with not just plants and flowers but considering the possibility of adding a pond design. If you enjoy spending your time outdoors during the warm summer months and you already have a garden, the incentive is there to make your garden more nature-like by adding a natural pond. We have gathered together a collection of inspirational pond design ideas in varying styles, with assorted plants and even fish. If you prefer a more refined variant, design your pond closer to the entrance of your home and create a pathway above or around it. For a more organic design choose stones in various shapes, sizes and colors for a natural look, moss, water lilies and koi or other fish, and a cascading waterfall or a fountain would help to diversify the overall appearance.
Just like indoor aquariums, fish ponds are not for the faint of heart. They take a lot of time and effort, love and care. They can be time consuming to keep clean and budget draining. But as with most difficult things in life, the payoff is worth it. And if you have the time — even just one free weekend — you could build your own backyard fish pond for around $2,500. Be sure to scroll down, as we have some great tips to creating your own backyard pond oasis.
If you are looking for additional outdoor inspiration, try looking at some of our past articles on 19 Incredible natural swimming pools and 31 Inspiring and stylish outdoor room design ideas.
Deeper ponds have their advantages. Fish will grow only in relation to how big the space is that they’re in. In shallow water a koi fish, which can reach 3 feet in length, won’t reach its full potential, as it would in a 5-foot-deep pond. Fish tend to get sicker in small ponds, because they’re swimming around in water with higher concentrations of their own waste. Deeper ponds mean more water volume and cleaner water. The fish are healthier, making it easier to maintain the right chemical balance. Deeper ponds make fish harder targets for predators.
To start, you are going to have to dig a hole, a big one. It’s free if you do it yourself. If you need the dirt hauled away, you will have to pay. Prices typically range from a couple hundred dollars to several hundred, depending on the amount and other factors.
There are advantages to shallower ponds. Less excavation means less work and fewer materials, so you’ll save money on construction costs and backaches. A shallow pond will also allow you a better view of your fish.
Water plants like lily pads thrive on shallow ponds. They can’t grow in deep water.
Smaller ponds obviously take up less space and can lend themselves to small design flourishes that make a big statement.
Add Fish. While koi are the most popular choice for fish ponds, they are harder to look after (to keep alive), especially in shallow ponds and winter freeze. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects recommends adding fancy goldfish. In addition to having ornate patterns and colors almost identical to those of koi, they’re less aggressive and less expensive. Koi can range from $200 to $7,000 each, while fancy goldfish go for around $35 each.
Installing pump equipment. Pump equipment can be purchased at most local pool and pond supply companies, with complete installation instructions. You can hide it under rocks or plants, or purchase extensions to conceal it on the side of your house.
Line the hole. You will have to line your depression. The three most popular methods are concrete spray, rubber liners and plastic tubs.
Gunite is a spray concrete commonly used to line swimming pools. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects used it for this expansive fish pond in Dallas, built for around $25,000. The advantages to gunite is that it is long lasting and durable. Creative lighting and other nifty design elements are easy to include. The drawbacks to this material is that you will need a professional to install it. Leidner says a feasible budget for a professional installation of an average-size pond is $5,000 minimum, which includes pump parts and labor but not fish.
Add Landscaping. Be sure to budget for rocks, plants or decking. Once you have everything looking beautiful, add water. You will want to check the chemical balance and temperature before adding fish.
This beautiful natural pond is surrounded by plants and perennial flowers all around. This pond feature also has a bubbler fountain on one side for the soothing sound of moving water.
Rubber liners are a common material to line ponds. Strips are rolled out, sealed together and used to line an excavated hole. Rocks and other design elements are added on top and then filled with water. The advantage to this type of material is that they are common and fairly inexpensive. You can purchase a prepackaged pond kit with rubber liners for $850 to $1,500, depending on the size and other factors.
The drawback to rubber liners is that they are fairly difficult to install; not all homeowners will understand how to glue and seam the liners together. A small mistake can result in a big drainage problem, and you’ll lose your water and fish. Burrowing rodents also can nibble through the liner. “You’d be surprised how quickly a koi pond will drain into the ground,” states Harold Leidner Landscape Architects.
Expert tip: If you do go with a rubber liner, Leidner recommends buying a few bags of concrete, poking holes in them and using the bags to line the hole. Then spray the bags with water and put the rubber liner on top. The bag will dissolve and the concrete will harden, creating a barrier that rodents can’t get through. Premade plastic tubs are a good alternative. They start at around $800 but come in limited shapes and sizes.
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