Pond keepers usually fall into one of two different approaches to having a pond in the backyard. Those most interested in maintaining a pond for Koi want a sleek, functional design to accent the beauty of the fish and to allow easy viewing of the fish. This type of set up is usually referred to as a formal design. The second school of design is to set up a natural looking water garden pond, essentially a pool with lots of plants and a few fish for a splash of color.
Formal design ponds usually have straight line, rectangular designs or perhaps a circular or kidney shape with very little ornamentation to divert your attention from the Koi in the pond. The pond may have ornamental spitters along the side or near a corner, or possibly a water fall for the return of the filtration system and for added oxygenation of the water. Ornamental stepping stones can be used to edge the pond and provide easier access to the pond. You can add a water fountain to draw the eye to a specific area of the pond and to provide the relaxing murmur of water movement. To enhance your late evening enjoyment of the pond, you can place submersible lighting under the fountains and/or waterfall. The newer systems use low voltage transformers for safety and LED light emitters for long term reliability. Most are designed like mini spotlights that can be positioned on the bottom of the pond and aimed up through the water to accent the movement. You can use a colored lens to alter the color of the LED lighting to set the mood for the pond.
The more natural looking water garden style pond poses its own challenge for adding décor. The somewhat irregular edge of the pond can be disguised by the use of flat stones and larger rocks for accent, or use planters to soften the edge. You can also provide a small bench and hide your UV Sterilizer under the bench with lattice material. You lay out a section of “weed mat” material and then cover it with mulch or small stones and then set the bench on top of the mulch. You can train your fish to come to the bench for feeding by ringing a small hand bell just before feeding. Once they hear the bell, they will start to gather near the bench looking for more food! Waterfalls can also provide hiding places for filter boxes and/or UV Sterilizers. The key to an effective waterfall is to have the spill ledge be as level as possible and use a minimal flow rate of 100 GPH per linear inch of the width of the waterfall. Marginal plants, like Irises, Cattails or Sweetflag, can draw the eye to a specific area of the pond and add color to the overall scheme of the pond. Lilies are best to add color and cover to the actual pond surface. Additional shading for the pond can be accomplished with a strategically placed trellis or gazebo, with Trumpet Vine, Clematis or Sweet Pea providing the color and natural look. Water gardens also make a great place to locate sundials, garden flags, ornamental thermometers and bird feeders to bring a touch of whimsy and add activity to the pond area. Be aware that a natural water garden may attract more types of wildlife than you want and may need a product like the ScareCrow or Defense Owl to discourage unwanted critters.