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Southern Inspirations Garden Design

A family-run business since 1997

Southern Inspirations
Garden Pond Design for Peaceful Bliss
A great garden pond design wow’s just about any garden. Garden Pond designs vary from a small bird bath type to a large garden pond. The information on this page makes it easy to install a pond in your garden. We have designed and built amazing water gardens and here are some of our best ideas. We also give tips on how to treat algae.

Water creates the illusion of making your garden look bigger. The reflective ripples in a pond attract us, and nature. When your garden pond is designed correctly, it will add a whole new dimension to your garden. This transformation will amaze all your guests. Even the birds and bees will think they have arrived in paradise.

Garden Pond and Safety

Do not overlook pond safety in your design. Water can always be a hazard especially for smaller children. When designing your pond always bear child safety in mind. A sturdy stainless steel grid placed a few inches under the water surface will provide protection on a deep pond.

A safer bet would be to have a shallower pond when there are small children. They should be able to crawl out of the pond. Steep sides must be avoided. Whatever design you choose should adequately address this issue. No matter how beautiful a design you have created, it can never compensate for the loss of a child or a pet’s life.

Garden Pond Design Issues

Just the sound of running water helps the mind relax. It’s always a great idea to have some form of water running into your pond. Running water helps to drown out the noise of traffic. Running water is like music to the ears and will calms the soul. A garden pond creates a tranquil welcoming atmosphere.

Garden PondBefore you start, decide on the type of garden pond design you desire. Don’t forget to integrate the pond design into the overall garden design. The pond design should fit in harmoniously with the rest of your garden design. Don’t forget to review the design principles. More ideas are given in our how to build a pond page.

The size and location of your pond is dependent on more than just the design principles. One often overlooked item is the natural flow of water in your garden site. To create the natural look, you will need to adapt your design to this natural flow. When creating a formal garden design this aspect becomes less important.

Don’t fight against nature. Water runs downhill and not uphill. If you are considering having a river or a waterfall into your pond, remember this simple rule: “Downhill”. This means you need to take the natural slope of your garden into account.

Different types of ponds can influence the garden pond design. The size, purpose and durability required will determine the type of construction needed.  Here are the main pond types available:

  • Concrete Ponds
  • Ponds created with an inside plastic liner
  • Pre moulded ponds

By including fish in your garden pond design you can add interest and diversity. They can also control your mosquitoes. Don’t forget to provide adequate shelter for the fish against birds. One way you can do this is to place some broken pots in the pond. Their curved surfaces form an excellent hideaway.

There is a rule that you must never be able to see the source of the water. You can for example, place a large leaf plant could be placed in the area where the river comes from. The start of the river may also be hidden in some other creative way, for example a large pot or any another focal point.

Ponds need some shade. Provide this through placing plants close to the pond, and planting water plants that spread across the surface of the water i.e. water lilies.

Garden Pond Plants

Select plants for your pond that will fit into your overall garden design. Water plants are dramatically different to other plants. You could introduce the water plants by choosing garden plants that blend in with your marginal plants. Plant your plants in containers. Soil nutrients constantly mix into the pond water could result in green water. To stop this, retain the media (soil) by placing a layer of gravel on top of the soil in the pot. Terra cotta pots are great for ponds.

The sun can also makes the water become green. Water lilies should grow at the base of the pond. They send leaves upwards. The valuable cover the lily leaves provide shade the algae out in summer. Try and cover from a third to about half of your pond with water lilies. You should have one lily for every one and a half to three square metres of pond surface.

Place marginal plants along the edges of your pond. Fill around a third of the circumference of your pond with marginal plants. Marginal plants include the following: Iris laevigate, lobelia fulgens, Mentha aquatica, Pontederia Cordata.

Oxygenating plants (submerged plants), will provide underwater foliage. These plants use up all the unwanted waste nutrients in the pond, and starves the algae of nutrients. Use five bunches of oxygenating plants per square metre. You can get these plants from your local pet shops that sell fish and aquarium supplies. Oxygenating plants include the following: Elodea densa, and Ranunculus peltatus.

Floating plants can be attached to two empty plastic drink bottles. You can also get floating pots from your nursery. Floating plants, will provide shade and decoration. Introduce one for per one to one and a half square metres of surface area. A good floating plant to use is Azolla spp/Lemna spp./ Pastia stratiotes (water lettuce).

Plant bog plants (moisture-loving plants) in damp soil near the edge of your pond or a constructed bog garden. Most bog plants prefer to have only their roots covered in the water. Consider adding a bog garden as part of your garden pond design. See our page on how to build a pond for an easy way to build and integrate a bog garden onto your garden pond design.

Treating the Algae Problem

Algae are single celled organisms. Spores are found in the air and will start colonizing any new body of water. They are rarely harmful to the water-life, but are unsightly. In severe cases they cause problems with the fishes health. There are a variety of different algae that colonize a pond, ranging from thin long strands to floating clumps.

Algae control can be achieved by obtaining a natural balance using a pond filter, an ultraviolet light purifier and as a last resort using an algaecide. The natural way consists of starving the algae of light and nutrients.

The best form of algae control is to build a correctly balanced pond with enough plant material to screen out the sunlight and prevent the growth of algae. A mesh bag filled with barley straw can help in algae control. The silicates in the straw will bind nutrients, such as phosphates. This robs the algae of nutrients. The straw seems to promote an organism that feeds off the algae.

Straw will need to be replaced on a regular basis as it will start to decompose and pollute your water. I suggest you replace your straw every six months. You can also buy barley wheat from your local health shop.

Enjoy your new Pond

Doing a garden pond design for your garden will be worth the effort. You will be able to sit in your garden and just marvel at the dragonflies, butterflies and birds visiting and enjoying your water paradise. It is so therapeutic and relaxing.

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