Find the Optimal Location
While planning and designing your pond, one of the major aspects to consider (and one that can especially affect later landscaping choices) is the location of the pond site itself. Try to remove any preconceived notions you might have of where a pond feature is "supposed" to go and consider all your available options with an eye for how the final product will appear. Viewing potential locations from all angles of the yard and even from within your home itself is a good way to begin scouting and evaluating an ideal location.
Remember that sun and shade conditions, your lawn's topography and the presence of other landscape features will all influence the final look of your pond. For instance, certain plants may not grow well in direct sun, or the extensive root system of a neighboring tree might interfere with your excavation - causing you to either lose the tree, or move the pond in the process. A well-placed pond can mask unsightly features such as a tree stump or boulder that is too large to remove, or it can play up a natural incline or patio. Be creative, and think of any "obstacles" as mere "opportunities."
Make the Most of Your Waterfall
Most ponds incorporate some kind of waterfall for circulation purposes, but some of the most visually appealing ponds are the ones that use this functional feature to its best aesthetic advantage. After all, waterfalls are not only useful, they are also extremely pleasing to the eye and ear. Choosing a waterfall scale that not only complements your pond itself but also the proportions of the yard, will go a long way toward making the whole thing look like it "fits" the space. If you have very tall trees, fences or a raised patio near your pond site, you might want to consider building up your waterfall to give it some additional height and presence to match its surroundings. Conversely, if you have a small yard with few trees or other "tall" elements, a towering waterfall is likely to look out of place.
If the phrase "build my own waterfall in my backyard" isn't music to your ears, don't worry - it's really not as difficult as it may sound. Many do it yourself pond kits (water gardening and pond-building aids that compile all the basic pond equipment you need to install a pond in one convenient, compatible package) include everything you need to construct a working waterfall as well - minus the stone work, of course - and usually at a lower cost than purchasing the equipment separately.
Let Your Yard Inspire You
When it comes to putting the finishing landscaping touches on your waterfall and your pond, take a good look around you before choosing any stones or plants. Matching the colors, textures and styles of the natural elements already in your yard to those you use within the pond itself is perhaps the best and easiest way to ensure you achieve a cohesive total vision. So take note of the colors and materials of your home's exterior or nearby flowerbeds, and use those to inspire you. It's also a great idea to research aquatic plants and stones that are native to your area. These elements are likely to be a natural fit for your landscape.
Finally, remember that part of the beauty of a pond is its ability to change and grow with the seasons. Think of the initial choices you make when finalizing the look of your pond as a jumping-off point from which you can add, subtract, revise and re-envision as the years go by. As your yard and your tastes change, your pond can too, and returning to fundamental landscaping ideas like these each time you decide to refocus your yard's focal point will help guarantee that any changes you make compliment and enhance the entire picture.
By Garth Epp