A Natural Pond Without Technology: Is it Possible?

Natural pond. Pond with water lillies, reed and rich grassland. Wetlands biodiversity.

A natural pond is a small biotope in the garden characterized by a near-natural design and provides a habitat for many animals and plants. For the animals to settle, the natural pond should have many shallow areas. The pond inhabitants can rest and mate there. A unique feature of a natural pond is that it does not need a pond liner. Therefore, you do not need to integrate any technology such as a pump, filter, or skimmer. For the pond to be largely autonomous, it should be as large as possible. However, the natural pond does not get along entirely without care. Here you can find out what you should consider for a natural pond without technology.

Harmonizes Perfectly With the Surroundings: The Natural Pond

The natural pond is unspectacular, but this is meant positively. It represents a natural habitat for plants and animals. It would help if you used native plants and fish for the natural pond. This has the advantage that they are insensitive to frost. If you have created a natural pond, various animals such as newts and frogs will soon settle. For these animals to feel comfortable, the pond should have many shallow areas. In addition to a shallow water area, it is also essential to have a deep water zone, which should be at least 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) deep.

The natural pond gets its near-natural character with densely planted areas. Since the natural pond also does not require a pond liner or technology, it requires little maintenance. As a near-natural biotope, the natural pond can primarily ensure its biological balance without human intervention. The plants and animals in the pond cope well with these conditions permanently, even in the cold season.

What You Should Consider for a Natural Pond

If you want to create a natural pond, the right location is the key. It would be best if you had a lot of space for the natural pond. It should be large enough so that it does not freeze over completely in the winter.

The Right Location

When choosing a location, you should pay attention to the available space and the sunlight. Sun is vital for most plants. Many native pond plants love the sun. More than ten hours of sun a day is not recommended. Even though many plants love the sun, they can be damaged if the sun is too intense. Fish also do not like the blazing sun. The water heats up quickly. Many hours of sun per day favor algae blooms. Up to six hours of sun a day are optimal. The blazing midday sun can cause problems for the plants on hot summer days. A semi-shaded location is therefore also well suited. You can also get many native pond plants for partial shade.

The Suitable Size

For the natural pond to be self-sustaining and for the water values not to fluctuate too much, it must be large enough. The larger the pond, the more stable the water values can be. This also means less effort for you in terms of maintenance. The pond should be as large as possible. The deepwater zone should be at least 2.6 feet (80 centimeters) deep, but 3.3 feet (100 centimeters) is better. In total, the natural pond area should be at least 160 square feet (15 square meters), but even better, 320 square feet (30 square meters). In summer, there is less risk of the pond overheating. Algae formation is also lower with a large volume of water. In winter, a large and appropriately deep pond will not freeze through to the bottom.

How to Design Your Pond Close to Nature

In addition to an extensive deep water zone, your natural pond should also have appropriately sized marsh and shallow water zones. You can create miniature landscapes and habitats for many animals at the shore and shallow water zones with boulders, stones, piled-up branches, and bushes. Water and land should blend into each other as naturally as possible to allow many animals to settle. The pond walls should not be too steep. With trees nearby, you can naturally shade your pond in various places.

In the summer, water evaporates even in a natural pond. On a hot summer day, the water level can fluctuate several inches during the day. However, it would help if you did not wait until it rains and the water level naturally rises again. You can fill up the pond with tap water. In this way, you will simultaneously create cooling on hot summer days and counteract the formation of algae. Under no circumstances should you direct rainwater from roofs into the pond. Dirt and pollutants could get into the pond via the roof, which would promote algae formation.

Choosing the Right Plants

For the pond to be self-sustaining and maintain biological balance, you should choose plants to clarify and oxygenate the pond. For a naturalistic design and biological balance, it is essential to have as many plants as possible. Plants consume nutrients, depriving algae of a vital source of life. If you have many plants in your pond, this automatically means fewer algae formation.

Water lilies are not only beautiful to look at, but they are also ideal for natural ponds. You can also find native water lily species. In general, you should pay attention to native plants because they are robust and can easily survive the winter. They are best suited for the natural pond. These plants also have an excellent benefit for the animals.

Yellow pond lily, water iris, marsh marigold, swan flower, purple loosestrife, and water crowfoot are also suitable for the natural pond. Such plants also attract many animals that find their natural habitat.

It would help if you also used planting baskets for the pond plants in a natural pond. This makes it easier to take care of them. You can better take out the plants for dividing. It would be best if you did not put planting substrate on the pond’s bottom, as this will make it more difficult to remove mud. You can fill the planting baskets with the appropriate substrate. To prevent it from being washed out and dirt from forming so quickly, you should use washed quartz sand as the top layer.

Fauna in the Natural Pond

There are many controversial opinions about the fauna in the natural pond. Welcome to the natural pond are amphibians and newts, but also insects such as dragonflies. Almost always, these animals settle without human intervention. They come by chance, or the plants attract them. If they like it, they settle down and mate. Zooplankton such as water fleas can help with pond cleaning.

Topic for Heated Discussions: Fish in the Natural Pond

Fish in a natural pond make for heated discussions. While some think you should do without fish, others advocate fish in the natural pond. Fish are not a must in a natural pond. The pond can be charming even without fish and become a habitat for many animals. If you do not want to do without fish, you should consider a few things.

It would be best if you only introduced fish when the pond has existed for a while, and life has integrated well. This can sometimes take a bit. If possible, you should wait a year before adding fish to your pond. It would help if you did not choose burrowing fish, as they churn up the bottom of the pond too much and encourage algae growth.

If you would like to introduce fish, you should only use native species and start with a few animals. Minnows or Moderlieschen are well suited. It would help if you left the fish to their own devices. The fish can decimate themselves in their population by eating their young. If the fish are left to their own devices, they may also overpopulate if they reproduce heavily. Because of the scarce food supply, the fish may starve to death if overpopulated. Although this may seem cruel, it is entirely natural. In this way, the fish themselves ensure a natural balance.

If you do not have a filter in your natural pond, you should not feed the fish. If you would feed your fish, there is a risk that the food will not be eaten. This leads to algae formation, as there are then many nutrients in the water. Without filter technology, the pond regulates itself based on food supply and fish quantity. Feeding the fish would lead to more fish reproduction and overpopulation.

What You Should Consider When Caring for the Natural Pond

The natural pond regulates itself for the most part and manages without technology. The amount of care required is therefore less. Nevertheless, you should not wholly forego care. You should check your plants regularly and cut them back. If the plants have grown too large, you should divide them. You should also remove dead plant parts. Leaves that have fallen into the pond should also be removed to prevent the formation of algae. You can also protect your pond with a large leaf net. In the spring, it is also a good idea to remove silt.

Even if you have planned your natural pond well, nature is constantly reshaping it. This is precisely what makes it so appealing.


A natural pond is charming and integrates harmoniously with its surroundings. You do not have to use any technology. The effort of care is only tiny. You should only remove leaves that have fallen into the pond, take care of the plants and remove the mud in the spring. Native plants are the most suitable, which should be in abundant numbers. Such plants attract a lot of animals. You should use fish sparingly, and you should introduce fish only after about a year. It would help if you did not feed the fish.

Florian Egert

I am Florian Egert, the owner of pondlovers.com. I live with my wife and two children in Germany in a small village in the countryside.

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