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Planning a Pond - Pond Design

20th Nov 2019

It's common that a pond is the garden’s centre piece or focal point. It shouldn’t contrast with the garden’s design, nor should it dominate or look out of place, the planned pond ought to compliment the style of your surrounding garden. Pond and garden designs are usually categorised as formal or informal.

Formal Designs

A formal pond normally has clean lines and straight edges. It will usually be symmetrical with a bold geometric shape. The edges and paving lines will link the pond to any hard landscaping close by and give the garden an exacting, orderly feel. Usually the construction and planning will take much more effort in a formal pond, but the desired look will be created as soon as you have finished building the pond.

Informal Designs

An informal pond is designed to appear much more natural, with softer more relaxing features. Curved, sweeping edging and scattered planting give the garden a more tranquil and serene vibe. A natural pond may take many years and a lot of patience to fully develop and take on the desired appearance. In reality, many garden ponds will be a compromise between formal and informal and  should be completely to your own personal taste.No matter what the trend of the garden and pond, a few things to consider when drawing up the designs are;

  • Size – The pond size should be appropriate for its purpose. A nature pond doesn’t need to be as big as a Koi pond, for example. It is worth noting that many people who construct their pond decide to expand after a few years. With proper planning a pond should be suitable for many years to come.

  • Shape – The shape of the pond is largely down to your personal preference and the style which you are trying to achieve. It is important to realise that areas which are removed from the pond’s flow of filtered water, in a ‘figure-of-eight’ or ‘kidney bean’ shaped pond, may stagnate or harbour parasites or pathogens. The pond’s flow of filtered water should be considered when planning its shape.

  • Depth – It is vital to consider the depth of the finished pond if you want to keep fish. During the winter the surface water is colder than the water in the deeper parts which are insulated by the ground. Most fish require this deeper, warmer water in which to hibernate and survive the winter. The common rule is that a depth of 60cm is adequate for goldfish or small to medium sized fish, and at least 1 metre is required for carp or larger fish.

  • Sunken or Raised – Other than fitting in with the style of the garden, there are a few pros and cons to consider when it comes to choosing whether to completely sink the pond into the garden or to build raised walls.

  • A sunken pond lends itself better to a wildlife pond and looks more natural, and can be extended easily into a bog garden. They are generally less expensive to build and easier to design. A sunken pond will have better insulation, making it less likely to freeze during the winter and give a more constant water temperature through the year. Raised ponds give an excellent focal point in the garden and offer a solution to sloping sites. Maintenance is generally easier in a raised pond, especially for the elderly or disabled, and less excavation is required in the construction. There is also less chance of a child or pet falling into a pond which is raised.

    • Costs – It sounds fairly obvious that the larger the pond, the more expensive the build, but with pond construction, the costs can begin to rise quite steeply. The cost for the building materials, filtration and maintenance should be thoroughly investigated and calculated so that there are no nasty surprises.

    • Suitable Materials – Construction materials, such as adhesives, sealants, edging slabs or rocks should be either pond friendly or treatable. Unsuitable materials may release toxins into the finished pond

    • Safety – If there are children or pets playing around the pond then safety precautions must be taken. Building a raised pond, as mentioned above, or fencing off areas around the pond may need to be considered.