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8 Different Types of Backyard Ponds

Photo collage of different backyard ponds.

Ponds existed in ancient times with the ancient Egyptians creating elaborate pond construction and designs as far back as 3500 years ago. The ancient Romans then invented the aqua ducts which were later used not just for constructing canals but also for fountains and formal water gardens. In Japan, rice farmers in the Niigata Prefecture harvested carp in preparation for the long winter months.

Eventually, the carp mutated which led to koi breeding in the 18th century. Koi comes from the Japanese word nishikigoi which means “brocaded carp,” but Koi in Japan also means love, affection, friendship. So it also symbolizes good luck, which resonates with the Chinese Feng shui that this fish brings luck.

As a result, people built koi ponds outside their homes.

A. Types

1. Natural Ponds

Natural pond with aquatic plants. Source: Amazon

If you’re really lucky, then you might have a beautiful natural pond right in your backyard. If this is the case, then you will be able to enjoy the benefits of having a pond on your property, without having to purchase anything to make it happen. Your pond may be the home to different types of fish and it will generally be a joy to sit out in your yard and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

You won’t have to do anything to keep the natural pond going, but there are ways that you can add to the natural beauty of the area. Some people like to install gardens or fountains near the pond to accentuate the gorgeousness of this natural land feature. If you plan on spending a significant amount of time near your pond, then it makes sense to ensure that it looks top notch.

Just pick out some features that you would like to have near your pond and you will be set to enjoy yourself greatly. If you want to, you could go ahead and add some aquatic plant life to the pond without disturbing the natural habitat of the creatures that are already calling your natural pond home. You will be able to put in more pond grass or some water hyacinths to add to the overall aesthetic appeal of the area.

This will just make the creatures of your pond even more happy as they will have more places to hide and flourish. You’ll be able to enjoy things look even more wonderful and it will be a good experience overall.

2. Fishponds

A beautiful pond that can sustain the lives of fish and plants. Source: Amazon

Fishponds are very popular with many people as features to put in their backyards. You can create a fish pond without having to expend too much effort, but you will have to go to certain lengths to keep it clean. When you plan on only including fish in your pond and not an entire ecosystem, you will need to take steps to clean the water.

Fish will produce waste on a daily basis, and without natural plants in the water to filter things properly, you will need something else to do the job. To make sure that everything stays nice and that the fish living in your pond stay healthy, you will want to buy a powerful filter. You will also need an air pump to keep the fish alive, as something needs to be able to produce enough oxygen to allow the fish to breathe properly.

The task of getting everything set up won’t be too arduous, so you should be able to enjoy your pond without any issues. You will likely want to keep fish in there that are more hardy, especially if this is your first time attempting such a thing.

Do some research on different types of fish before deciding which ones to include in your new pond. It may take some time to figure out which types of fish are going to be best suited to the situation. One common mistake that people make when first starting out with creating a pond is that they just pick fish based on how pretty they are. It’s important to ensure that the fish are going to be able to survive and thrive, so you should think about more than aesthetics if you want to have success in this endeavor.

3. Koi Ponds

A contemporary-style, koi fish pond.Source: Houzz

Koi ponds are definitely some of the most beautiful fish ponds in the entire world. Koi are listed separately from other fish ponds because they have unique needs and they have proven popular enough to warrant their own listing. The first thing that you will want to note is that koi fish are not inexpensive.

They are a valuable fish and they will need to be taken care of somewhat particularly in order to thrive. The koi is actually a type of domesticated carp that is the national fish of Japan. They’re incredibly beautiful and many people see them as signs of good luck.

You may have seen people getting tattoos of koi fish in your area, as this has become a very common design that people like to get done. Koi fish are thought to bring prosperity and good luck to those that spot them, so surely having a pond full of them would be a handy good luck charm. In recent years, people have taken to installing koi ponds in their backyards in the west.

These pretty fish are able to bring a significant amount of joy to people’s lives, but you will definitely want to make sure that you look into what you need to do before proceeding with a koi pond. The koi fish are going to need you to keep the pond very clean, so you will want to make sure that you buy all of the proper equipment for the pond. Being particular about where you put the pond is recommended too, as you don’t want the koi to be exposed to the cold too much.

A successful koi pond should be put at least 60 inches deep into the ground. This way, your koi fish aren’t going to be as negatively impacted when the weather starts to get colder. You need to be able to keep the temperature fluctuations to a minimum, and having the pond at a depth of at least 60 inches is one way to keep your koi fish safe.

You will also need a really good filter to ensure that your fish can remain healthy.

4. Wildlife Ponds

A pond with a bunch of oxygenating hornwort. Source: Amazon

You can also build your own wildlife pond right in your backyard. This type of pond is meant to attract wildlife and should be able to operate naturally, without filters or any types of pumps. If you can make this happen, then it will be very beneficial, as you won’t have to spend a lot of time taking care of it.

You will simply be able to enjoy the natural beauty of your man-made wildlife pond whenever you feel the urge. Some wildlife ponds can be created using no liner, but people have made these types of ponds with a liner too. It just depends on what type of situation you are working with.

Generally speaking, you want this type of pond to be at least 32 inches deep. Place it in an area that gets plenty of sunlight, too, because you want plant life to be able to thrive. The most important thing to remember when you want to have success with this type of a pond is to make sure that you have plants planted to provide oxygen.

As long as you do this, you will be able to put fish in there if you want to. This will also help to attract more wildlife and it will allow you to create a fun little natural habitat for the outdoor creatures. You might wind up seeing little frogs and lizards hanging out in your wildlife pond before too long, as long as you do everything properly.

5. Above-Ground Ponds

A koi fishpond, constructed and designed above the ground.Source: Houzz

It is also possible to create an above-ground pond that you can enjoy. Most people prefer to put their ponds in the ground, and in many ways, this is safer for any fish you would like to include in the little pond area. You will be able to find some pond kits that will sell you a convenient set of materials to make an above-ground pond area.

These ponds are capable of holding some fish and you will be able to enjoy gazing at them while in your backyard. This is going to be one of the easiest ways for you to enjoy having a pond, without having to do too much work. You can install these types of ponds rather easily, and if you buy the kit that has everything that you need inside, it will all be fairly self explanatory.

You will be able to set it up, get the pump and filter working, and then start enjoying your new fountain area. It is even possible to put these types of ponds on the deck in your backyard or even right on your patio. You will also see many people adding fountains that shoot up to these types of ponds.

Not all types of fish are going to like this, so you may want to shy away from doing anything too elaborate if you want your fish to be happy and healthy. A modest fountain isn’t going to hurt, though. It should be easy to do and you will be able to enjoy a really nice and pretty fountain in your backyard. The minimal amount of work required to set up this type of pond makes it a highly recommended option for those who have no prior experience with ponds.

6. Plant Ponds

Water Hyacinth on a small plant pond.

Source: Amazon

Some people really like plants and prefer looking at visually striking plant life, rather than fish. In these cases, it can be beneficial to install a pond that is entirely devoted to cultivating plant life. These types of ponds are more common than you might think and they are a whole lot easier to manage than ponds that feature fish.

You won’t have to worry so much about being particular with the filtration because the plants are going to be able to thrive in this environment, so long as you pick the right ones. There are many different kinds of plants that you can put in a pond. Some people like to put things like pond grass all around to really give their pond that natural feeling.

Water hyacinths and hornwort plants are other choices that people often make when building these types of ponds. It won’t take you too long to cultivate a really interesting area that is full of eye-catching plant life.

7. Mini-Ponds

A mini-sized frog pond complete with pebbles and plastic plants. Source: Amazon

Mini-ponds are a type of pond that you will find people placing on their decks or patios quite often. They are usually housed by some sort of a decorative pot or basin. They look very ornate and are made to be as visually appealing as possible.

These aren’t typically meant to help you construct any sort of a diverse natural habitat for fish, as this mini-pond will simply be used for decorative purposes. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t nice, though. These mini-ponds are very sought after because they are a simple way to add some charm to your backyard.

If you don’t want to have to deal with the hassle of taking care of a larger type of pond, then this option will appeal to you greatly. It is going to look nice and you won’t have to do all that much to it to keep it operating well. Only needing to do mild amounts of maintenance makes this the perfect purchase for those who are new to the idea of maintaining a pond.

You will need to add water to your mini-pond fairly regularly, as you will notice that it evaporates over time. In the hottest months of the summer, you will want to be more diligent about replacing the water in your mini-pond frequently. You should also note that people usually don’t use these as ponds in the colder months.

If you live in a colder weather environment, then you could bring the mini-pond inside or decide to use it for merely decorative purposes while the weather is so cold. It is easy to put plant life into your mini-pond. You should try to use types of plants that don’t grow too large, as you don’t want them to outgrow the mini-pond area too quickly.

Most types of aquatic plants should do very well, and you could also go the route of putting an artificial plant in your mini-pond if you just want to create the look, without having to fuss with a real plant. Whatever you decide to do, these mini-ponds are definitely a lot of fun to own.

8. Swimming Ponds

A repellent for ponds, especially swimming ponds. Source: Amazon

This is a little more unusual than some of the other types of ponds, but there are those that choose to install ponds that are meant for swimming. This will wind up being a water feature that is somewhere between being a normal pond and a swimming pool. It will look a lot like a normal pond, but it will be perfectly functional as a swimming area for your family to enjoy.

If you want to have a swimming area that looks like a natural and beautiful pond, then you can make that happen. You will want to make sure that your swimming pond has enough depth for you to swim in it comfortably. Making it at least 70 inches deep would be a good idea, but you should judge for yourself what the right depth is going to be.

Some people don’t want swimming areas to be too deep if they have children that are going to be swimming in the pond. You can still have this function as a normal pond in some ways too. For instance, you could put some aquatic plant life towards the bottom of the pool.

This will help to oxygenate the water and will also give it more of a pond-like vibe. It won’t detract from your ability to swim in it and you will enjoy the way that everything looks. Of course, when you want to swim in this type of a pond you will want to keep certain wildlife away from it.

Birds can be an issue when you are installing a swimming pond, so it can be beneficial to scare them off using particular types of pool reflectors. This way you won’t have to worry about angry geese or other types of birds dirtying up your pond. The reflectors are rather effective at keeping them away, so it should work out swimmingly.

B. Features

1. Plant Life

Fresh and healthy papyrus plants for backyard ponds.Source: Home Depot

One of the most common features that you will see people install in their pond areas are definitely plant life. Plant life is really important if you want to be able to oxygenate the water. This can help any fish that you want to put in your pond greatly.

If you don’t have any plants in your pond, then you’re going to need to buy an aerator to keep them from suffocating. Buying plant life for your pond is generally prefeHOMErable to buying an aerator. This is because it will go very well with the overall aesthetic of the area.

You can add to the visual appeal of your pond by planting different plants that look really nice. Whether you want to add some pond grass, a water hyacinth, or any number of other aquatic plants, you will have a great time. Taking care of these plants is relatively simple, too.

If you want plant life to thrive in your pond area, then it is a good idea to pick a spot that gets a lot of sunlight when you are installing your pond. This will ensure that the plants will be able to grow properly and your whole pond will be better because of it. Take your time to pick out some nice pond plants today.

2. Fountains

Stainless steel, frog fountain for ponds.Source: Wayfair

When you want to make your pond look particularly impressive, you may consider installing a fountain of some sort. Fountains are really popular water features that people enjoy outside of ponds in many ways. Adding a small fountain area to your pond won’t be too difficult and it will add to the overall beauty of your pond.

Depending on the type of fish that you have in your pond, you may not want to go too crazy with this pond feature, though. One way that people like to add a fountain to their pond is to put in a waterfall area. This can be visually striking and will not disturb any fish too much, as they would generally just swim around this area naturally.

You can install a fountain into most pond setups relatively easily. You will want to make sure that the pump for the fountain is out of the way of your fish, assuming you have any. Fountains are perfect for plant ponds as well.

You won’t have to worry about the fish if your pond simply houses plant life. It will be able to add a lot of charm to the pond area overall and you can put it wherever you want it to be. Just think about the pond situation that you have created before you decide on what type of fountain will work best in your particular pond.

3. LED Lights

Lighted fish pond with a modern design.Source: Houzz

Installing some LED lights around the perimeter of your pond can really make the entire area look even more visually appealing. The great thing about LED lights is that you can buy them in various different colors and it is simple to get waterproof ones. This makes them perfect for your pond area and you can really get imaginative with what you are doing here.

Some people like to simply create a display of LED lights that will illuminate the pond so that it can be enjoyed more readily during the night hours. You could also place the LED lights in different patterns to make a special design that will be seen at night. Some of the LED lights that you can purchase are completely submersible, so you could light the pond area by placing the lights at the bottom of the pond.

This can create a very unique effect that will appeal to you. Whether you will like the submersible LED lights the best or if you would rather string LED lights around the edges of your pond is going to be up to your personal preference. Whatever you decide to do, it will definitely be a fun way to add to the charm of your pond.

LED lights are very affordable to purchase, so it makes sense to make use of them. If you plan on spending time outside during the evening or night, then lighting up your pond area is going to be very beneficial.

4. Statues

A statue of a sitting boy while fishing, perfect for ponds. Source: Amazon

You will find that people who install ponds in their backyard will often enjoy putting statues nearby. These don’t necessarily have to be elaborate and expensive statues, as there are many different types of outdoor statues that can accentuate the look of your pond. Statues of fish and other types of aquatic life are very popular, so you may want to consider adding something such as this to your area.

Having a fun statue in your pond or around the pond area is going to make everything even more interesting, so it can be worthwhile to look into buying one. No matter what your sense of style is, you should be able to find a statue that will appeal to you. Whether you like statues that are more natural looking or if you enjoy classical works of art, it won’t be hard to find something nice.

Most major retailers will carry statues that will work well in your pond and you can find them online as well.