A stunning outdoor water feature can add depth to backyard landscaping and provide a much-needed water source for wildlife, as well. The best backyard ponds feature stones, plants, and a design that feels tranquil and organic. Building a natural-looking pond takes a lot of planning. You’ll need to carefully choose your location and design to blend into the rest of the yard without disturbing the trees and buried utility lines. Here are some tips for creating a beautiful pond that will take your guests’ breath away.
Plan to Add Plenty of Water Plants
There’s a lot more to pond plant life than water lilies. A robust selection of water plants placed on the margins of a pond adds to its natural effect and helps keep it in balance. Plant life keeps algae in check, helping your pond look its best. Cattails, arrow arum, and pickerel rush are great choices for this, but you may also want to look through the City of Austin’s Wetland Plants Guide for more native plant ideas.
Choose Your Filtering System
Ponds attract a lot of dust and leaves, so you’ll need some type of filtration system to keep the water clean. These can either be natural, relying on microorganisms and naturally filtering plants to clean the water, or manufactured. Obviously, a manufactured filter is the easiest route, since natural filters require careful maintenance to keep pond levels in balance. However, you’ll still want to choose the most natural-looking filter. Submersible filters can be hidden beneath the surface of the water and do not require any additional plumbing or pipes. Just be sure to choose one that’s suited to the size of your pond.
Include Plenty of Shallow Ledges
When planning your pond design, it’s a good idea to vary the depth of the water by building in shallow ledges. This creates more surface area for aquatic plants to grow and increases production of microorganisms. These microorganisms are absolutely vital if you want to maintain the health of your pond without a filter — and they help keep filters from clogging easily if you go the manufactured route.
Use Rocks and Gravel to Your Advantage
A black plastic lining peeking up over the sides of your pond isn’t the most natural or elegant look. Instead, try covering the lining with gravel and stones. This has the dual benefit of improving the growth of microorganisms and providing nooks and crannies for plants to root. Best of all, it looks pretty, too! We recommend trying out native stones like limestone, sandstone, and granite.
Take Care When Adding Fish and Other Aquatic Life
Fish are the worker bees of the pond, eating mosquitoes and larvae and keeping your pond clean. However, too many fish can create a real mess, adding high volumes of waste that increases oxygen levels, eventually choking out all the aquatic life. If you decide to stock your pond with fish, be sure to only do so moderately. And let the fish fend for themselves — feeding them will only make the water dirtier. In a healthy pond, there should be lots of natural food sources.
Check Before You Dig
Nothing sinks a pond project faster than running into a utility line or pipe. Before you get ahead of yourself, be sure to call 811 to locate your underground utility lines. Choose a location away from trees so you don’t damage the tree roots below the ground. Be sure to plan some extra room for watershed in case of heavy rains; don’t plot your pond too close to your home to allow for overflow.
A professional landscaper can help you pick the best spot and plan a design that incorporates a pond’s natural surroundings. Our landscaping team at Paradisa Homes would love to help you build a backyard you can be proud of. Along with constructing beautiful custom homes, we will build any water feature you’d like, to your exact desired specifications. Get in touch today to learn more about our homes and available landscaping.