Summer is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start planning your backyard oasis with not just plants and flowers but considering the possibility of adding a pond design. If you enjoy spending your time outdoors during the warm summer months and you already have a garden, the incentive is there to make your garden more nature-like by adding a natural pond. We have gathered together a collection of inspirational pond design ideas in varying styles, with assorted plants and even fish. If you prefer a more refined variant, design your pond closer to the entrance of your home and create a pathway above or around it. For a more organic design choose stones in various shapes, sizes and colors for a natural look, moss, water lilies and koi or other fish, and a cascading waterfall or a fountain would help to diversify the overall appearance.
Just like indoor aquariums, fish ponds are not for the faint of heart. They take a lot of time and effort, love and care. They can be time consuming to keep clean and budget draining. But as with most difficult things in life, the payoff is worth it. And if you have the time — even just one free weekend — you could build your own backyard fish pond for around $2,500. Be sure to scroll down, as we have some great tips to creating your own backyard pond oasis.
If you are looking for additional outdoor inspiration, try looking at some of our past articles on 19 Incredible natural swimming pools and 31 Inspiring and stylish outdoor room design ideas.
Deeper ponds have their advantages. Fish will grow only in relation to how big the space is that they’re in. In shallow water a koi fish, which can reach 3 feet in length, won’t reach its full potential, as it would in a 5-foot-deep pond. Fish tend to get sicker in small ponds, because they’re swimming around in water with higher concentrations of their own waste. Deeper ponds mean more water volume and cleaner water. The fish are healthier, making it easier to maintain the right chemical balance. Deeper ponds make fish harder targets for predators.
To start, you are going to have to dig a hole, a big one. It’s free if you do it yourself. If you need the dirt hauled away, you will have to pay. Prices typically range from a couple hundred dollars to several hundred, depending on the amount and other factors.
There are advantages to shallower ponds. Less excavation means less work and fewer materials, so you’ll save money on construction costs and backaches. A shallow pond will also allow you a better view of your fish.
Water plants like lily pads thrive on shallow ponds. They can’t grow in deep water.
Smaller ponds obviously take up less space and can lend themselves to small design flourishes that make a big statement.
Add Fish. While koi are the most popular choice for fish ponds, they are harder to look after (to keep alive), especially in shallow ponds and winter freeze. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects recommends adding fancy goldfish. In addition to having ornate patterns and colors almost identical to those of koi, they’re less aggressive and less expensive. Koi can range from $200 to $7,000 each, while fancy goldfish go for around $35 each.
Installing pump equipment. Pump equipment can be purchased at most local pool and pond supply companies, with complete installation instructions. You can hide it under rocks or plants, or purchase extensions to conceal it on the side of your house.
Line the hole. You will have to line your depression. The three most popular methods are concrete spray, rubber liners and plastic tubs.
Gunite is a spray concrete commonly used to line swimming pools. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects used it for this expansive fish pond in Dallas, built for around $25,000. The advantages to gunite is that it is long lasting and durable. Creative lighting and other nifty design elements are easy to include. The drawbacks to this material is that you will need a professional to install it. Leidner says a feasible budget for a professional installation of an average-size pond is $5,000 minimum, which includes pump parts and labor but not fish.
Add Landscaping. Be sure to budget for rocks, plants or decking. Once you have everything looking beautiful, add water. You will want to check the chemical balance and temperature before adding fish.
This beautiful natural pond is surrounded by plants and perennial flowers all around. This pond feature also has a bubbler fountain on one side for the soothing sound of moving water.
Rubber liners are a common material to line ponds. Strips are rolled out, sealed together and used to line an excavated hole. Rocks and other design elements are added on top and then filled with water. The advantage to this type of material is that they are common and fairly inexpensive. You can purchase a prepackaged pond kit with rubber liners for $850 to $1,500, depending on the size and other factors.
The drawback to rubber liners is that they are fairly difficult to install; not all homeowners will understand how to glue and seam the liners together. A small mistake can result in a big drainage problem, and you’ll lose your water and fish. Burrowing rodents also can nibble through the liner. “You’d be surprised how quickly a koi pond will drain into the ground,” states Harold Leidner Landscape Architects.
Expert tip: If you do go with a rubber liner, Leidner recommends buying a few bags of concrete, poking holes in them and using the bags to line the hole. Then spray the bags with water and put the rubber liner on top. The bag will dissolve and the concrete will harden, creating a barrier that rodents can’t get through. Premade plastic tubs are a good alternative. They start at around $800 but come in limited shapes and sizes.
Photo Sources: 1. Marpa Design Studio, 2. Saunders Designs, 3. Jacqueline Glass and Associates, 4. Rossington Architecture, 5. Arterra Landscape Architects, 6. GM Construction, 7. Karl Gercens Photography, 8. Laidlaw Schultz Architects, 9. The Design Build Company, 10. Exteriorscapes, llc, 11. Alderwood Landscaping, 12. Aquascape Inc, 13. Anthony Wilder Design Build, 14. BMF Construction, 15. Aquascape Inc, 16. Behr Construction Company, 17. Alderwood Landscaping, 18. Raymond Jungles Inc, 19. Mark Brand Architecture, 20. Aquascape Inc, 21. Pinterest, 22. Aquascape Inc, 23. ELEVATE interiors + design, 24. HGTV, 25. Pinterest, 26. Liquidscapes, 27. Aquascape Inc, 28. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, 29. Pinterest, 30. Superior Lawn and Landscape, 31. Teri Fotheringham Photography, 32. Aqua Eden, 33. Aquascape Inc, 34. Paradise Restored, 35. Harold Leidner Landscape Architects, 36. Locati Architects, 37. Landscape Connection, 38. Huettl Landscape Architecture, 39. Nature Designs Landscaping, 40. Classic Nursery, 41. Aquascape Inc, 42. Haggart Luxury Homes, 43. Pinterest, 44. HGTV, 45. JAUREGUI Architecture Interiors, 46. Aquascape Inc, 47. Private Gardens Design, 48. Pinterest, 49. Laurie Woods Interiors, 50. Conrado – Home Builders, 51. Paradise Restored, 52. Garrett Churchill Inc, 53. GM Construction, 54. Exedra Architects, 55. HBF plus Design
Walnut Woods Residence is a beautiful log home designed by John Senhauser Architects, situated on a steeply sloped wooded site in Cincinnati, Ohio. The residence was conceived as a 24 ft x 150 ft linear bar rising into the trees. Positioned according to subdivision covenants, the structure bridges 40 feet across an existing intermittent creek, thereby preserving natural drainage patterns and habitat. An 80 feet long ‘grand terrace’ and double-height window wall were incised into the linear bar. The window wall not only provides continual connection to the surrounding woods, but also enables indirect daylight to penetrate the interior. In addition to preserving existing drainage patterns and providing natural daylight, additional sustainable features include a grass roof, wood flooring locally milled using walnut trees cleared from the site during construction, and a minimal building footprint.
Walnut Woods Studio
When the new owner of this existing log residence contacted us about designing a detached ceramics and jewelry-making studio, we knew this would be both challenging and exciting. The 155 foot long house spans 45 feet across an intermittent creek on a steeply sloping, heavily wooded site.
Our strategy was to inseparably link the house, studio and site to one another, minimizing disruption of the woods (only one tree was relocated for construction). Using the radius of the porte cochere drive, the studio breaches the stone wall and perches itself on four columns. The studio roof is then pitched parallel to the house’s roof, matching the slope. A slot, carved from the studio enclosure, allows a steel stair to drop below the drive/terrace entry to connect with the lower level of the house. Deep overhangs protect the terrace, permitting the studio to expand onto the terrace (and into the woods) through the folding window wall.
Photos: Eric Williams, Scott Hisey
Discovered on Alvhem, this stunning brand new duplex apartment in Vasastaden, Sweden, presents fresh design inspiration, with plenty of hard to find features. This unique 592 square foot (55 square meters) home is dispersed over two levels, with high ceilings, arched windows and open and social spaces. The duplex boasts a lovely terrace with views over the rooftops, a lavish, open plan kitchen with living room, a stylish bathroom with laundry and bedroom with walk-in closet. Light filters into the home through two large skylights, fully glazed patio doors, as well as the beautiful arched windows on the ground floor.
The apartment exudes luxury and you are greeted by a subtle mix of solid materials. The dark floors form a warm contrast to the white-painted walls and the noble parquet runs like a thread through all the rooms-very clean and very tasteful. The kitchen and living room are open to each other, which is perfect for entertaining. A staircase leads you up, designed in a contemporary style with glass railing, giving the apartment a sense of space. Here you are going directly to the apartment’s bedroom which is furnished with simplicity. Glass doors takes you out to the apartment’s terrace, where you are greeted by a view of Vasastaden’s rooftops.
Bosque da Ribeira Residence is a modern Brazilian home designed by Anastasia Arquitetos, situated in a residential neighborhood in Nova Lima, a city near Belo Horizonte. The 7,000 square foot (650 square meters) residence is at the limit of an allotment, adjacent to an environmental reserve. Thus the residence seeks to create a visual interface and harmonious deployment with the environment, taking full advantage of covered of the forest and featuring a staggered volumetry, decreasing the higher volumes observed in the street. The landscaping designed for the residence complements the relationship with the forest.
The leisure area, swimming pool and terrace are focused on the landscape, with privacy preserved by the slope, and, as well as the social area, are covered. To protect it from sunstroke north, coincident with sight, we created a balcony with two levels of coverage, to light up the room without direct solar irradiation, and zenithal illumination protected by wooden pergolado in the lounge.
The house is organized as follows: sauna and rest at street level (basement), social area on the ground floor, 4 meters higher than the street, and private areas on the second floor.
Photos: Jomar Braganca
Balcony House is a futuristic multi-tiered house envisioned by the architecture studio of A-cero, with a prime location in a natural environment, only 9 miles from the city center of Madrid, Spain. The house is comprised of 10,250 square feet (952 square meters) of living space, spread out over three levels and nestled on an independent plot of 21,530 square feet (2000 square meters).
This design is a reflection of its exterior architecture. It harnesses the breadth of open spaces and the double heights with wooden structures that wrap the stays. This spaciousness is enhanced by the large amount of natural light that comes from the large windows existing at all levels, both in common and private areas.
The furniture of the living room, like the kitchen, has been designed and built personalized for the customer, with high quality finishes. LED lighting is the protagonist in the interior, marking the architecture and creating lines that frame the spaces.
Photos: Courtesy of A-cero
Casa Q is an incredible contemporary beach house designed by Longhi Architects, located 72 miles south of Lima, Peru. The 4,348 square foot (404 square meters) beach house is the first residence built in one of the areas not yet occupied at the Beach Club Misterio. Infinite rolling dunes from the desert to the East and rocky Pacific Ocean cliffs used by fishermen to the West converge on the site of Casa Q, creating a unique natural environment.
Challenging the stillness of the surroundings, Casa Q materializes the dreams of a young couple in a “floating volume” which embodies the spaces for a future family. The volume is supported by circular columns placed by intuition, as a dance, instead of forcibly in a grid. The dancing columns are accompanied by sliding glass panels that define the common area of the house; the living-dining and terrace are integrated or separated by the option to open or close the glass panels depending on social and weather conditions.
The rest of the house – guest rooms, kitchen and services – are tastefully secluded at the back of the sloped site thus providing visual contrast with a volume of water in the front which has been unearthed for the enjoyment of swimming. Each view in the house connects to the infinite of the horizon.
Photos: Juan Solano / CHOlon Photography
Casa F/H is a stunning apartment designed by Studiomobile, situated on the upper floor of a construction built in the 60s in San Donà di Piave, near Venice, Italy. The penthouse flat faces a huge south oriented terrace which offers a beautiful view of the river Piave beyond the tree-tops. The refurbishment completely upgraded the technological systems in terms of energy efficiency and thermal comfort, as well as completely redesigned the spaces.
The living was designed as an open space facing directly the outside terrace, which in summer becomes an extension of the sitting room. Here the different environments are marked by the furniture dividing functional areas without creating any boundaries. The huge wardrobe encloses the living room and it is both a closet, a technical piece of furniture, a fireplace and a bookshelf, also embracing the large sliding door.
The uniformity of the element, in hardwood lacquered white, is interrupted by the free form doors, by the colored niches and by the natural iron inserts creating graphic details. The huge wardrobe, as well as the couch and the kitchen, were custom designed and produced by local handcrafts. This allows the furniture to merge with architecture and to become one. The coach is enclosed by two columns of raw concrete producing two different ways of living the space. The kitchen furniture acts as a screen concealing the cooking area through two glass houses, filtering out the light and the gaze with flowers and aromatic plants.
The penthouse flat was entirely cobbled with oak wood boards which acts as a trait d’union, linking the living with the sleeping area. The same cladding was used in the main bathroom where wood boards face the tub, and in the master bedroom where it becomes the structure of the bad, of the night table and of the walk-in closet.
Photos: Giulio Boem
Sutherland Place is an early Victorian mid-terraced home on the western side of a peaceful residential street close to very popular Westbourne Grove, in London, England. The lengthy collaboration between the owner and Gianni Botsford Architects, resulted in a bachelor playground designed to indulge and please at every turn. This masterpiece of design and style is more or less traditional in layout but has some quite fabulous contemporary additions and imaginative finishes, notably from Jimmie Martin, Tom Dixon and Abigail Ahern. The full-length drawing room is on the raised ground floor, as one would expect, but to the rear a bold gallery drops down into the kitchen/dining room below, linking the two spaces. Passing the rear roof deck, the surprises continue, and include a fully equipped cinema room.
The Bulthaup kitchen (using Gaggenau and Sub Zero appliances) is genius in design, while the low visual impact blends perfectly with the cosy rough brick floors, natural surface finishes and Eames furniture. At the rear, a bank of rotating glass panels provides views of a terraced garden and a lush-green living wall. The brilliant primary bedroom suite on the upper floors, double in height, offers complete sanctuary. A central spiral staircase leads to a mezzanine office and gallery, and from here a bridge takes you to a suntrap roof terrace via an enormous sliding glass panel. Elsewhere are two double bedrooms, a guest bathroom and a utility room with Miele appliances.
This incredible home has been listed for sale at $9,799,200 ( £6,000,000), from here.
Morning Star Residence is a luxurious modern mountain retreat designed by Slifer Designs in Mountain Star, Colorado. The home is nestled on top of a mountain offering fabulous views towards the surrounding mountaintops. The residence offers a cozy escape from the cold winters with warm fireplaces and plenty of seating areas to lounge and entertain friends and family. The interiors are decorated with plenty of textures and a wide variety of finishes and materials in a soft color palette so as not to detract from the beautiful landscape that pervades the home.
For over 28 years, Silfer Designs has been creating exquisite interiors where people love to live. We specialize in creating more inspired living spaces – by offering award-winning designers, timeless styles, upscale furnishings, and passionate creativity. Above all, we guarantee you’ll be thrilled with your Slifer Designs experience, and that you’ll enjoy the lasting comfort of livable luxury. Visit our store in Edwards, CO to find furnishings, accessories, and gifts for homes of distinction. And arrange a consultation with our legendary designers who can show you new possibilities for your living spaces, and walk you through our Slifer Designs experience of creative and comfortable on time, on budget interior design.
Photos: Stovall Studio
This attractive and luminous apartment we spotted on Skeppsholmen is located near the very exclusive area of Strandvägen (Swedish for ‘Shore Street’) in Östermalm, central Stockholm, Sweden. The flat offers an excellent floor plan layout comprised of 1,571 square feet (146 square meters) with a balcony and spacious terrace. The ground floor has a magnificent open plan kitchen with a large dining area and working fireplace. From the dining area, a door leads out to a balcony facing the pleasant courtyard. The tastefully designed kitchen has cast concrete floors and an adjoining wine room. Also on this level is a fabulous bedroom with a stylish bathroom. Via an elegant staircase, an accessible attic offers an open living area with access to a spacious terrace and adjacent separate working area. The living room features a beautiful fireplace with wide plank pine flooring. There are two bedrooms on the upper level, one with fireplace and adjoining walk-in closet. Another very lavish bathroom with beamed ceilings, sunken tub and shower.