Pond Edge Design – 12 Ideas for Pond Edging & Pond Surroundings

Pond Edge Design - Pond Waterfall

When planning your garden pond, consider the pond edging and its attractive design to create a relaxation oasis. There are numerous options for the exterior design of liner ponds. While the design of the pond edge sets the mood, it also serves a crucial function by providing stability to the pond and preventing excessive water loss. It is essential for the pond to blend harmoniously into its surroundings. The design of the pond edge depends on the type and size of the pond.

Planning the Pond Edging

When planning your garden pond, it’s important to consider the pond edging, including avoiding steep edges and installing a capillary barrier. The capillary barrier protects your pond from excessive water loss. Without it, the surrounding soil acts like a wick, drawing water from the pond. It also prevents nearby plants from sending their roots into the pond and vice versa. The pond edge needs to be adequately secured to prevent plants at the pond’s edge from sliding into the water. Do not skimp on the pond liner, as it’s essential for the capillary barrier. It’s recommended to establish the pond edging before filling the pond with water to avoid pumping water out later if you’re unsatisfied with the edging. The pond edging is crucial to prevent the pond liner from being exposed, which can lead to damage from intense sunlight and external influences.

If you forget to install a capillary barrier and sufficient pond edging when creating your pond, you can add a capillary barrier afterward. Pond edge systems, primarily made of plastic, are available and can be secured with posts and screws.

Constructing the Pond Edging

When building a garden pond, consider the correct construction of the pond edging. Similar to the pond itself, the pond edge consists of different zones, including the capillary barrier and the marsh zone of your pond. When designing the pond edge, consider three zones:

  • Marsh zone: This area is intermittently wet, with plants sometimes in water and other times in dry soil, never drying out.
  • Damp zone: This zone provides a moist location for plants but does not submerge them in water.
  • Edge zone: It offers plants conditions similar to the rest of your garden.

The pond edge is constructed on top of the capillary barrier. Notably, you can effectively conceal the pond technology within the pond edge. However, it’s not always necessary to plant the entire pond edge with vegetation. By using stones or wood for reinforcement, you can forgo marsh and damp zones for plants.

Avoiding Mistakes in Pond Edging

By considering the correct design of the pond edge from the beginning, you can save yourself a lot of work associated with adding a capillary barrier later. You will not risk damaging the pond liner or having plants and other materials slide into the pond. Here are typical mistakes when creating the pond edge:

  • Creating a steep pond edge: Some ponds have steep banks, which may be inevitable when the pond is situated on a slope. However, a gently sloping edge is more favorable because it provides better plant stability and prevents them from sliding into the pond. A steep pond edge can be dangerous for children and pets.
  • Saving on pond liner: It’s advisable not to skimp on pond liner material. It should extend at least 30 centimeters, preferably 50 centimeters above the pond edge. This helps in establishing a reliable capillary barrier.
  • Exposed pond liner: Exposing the pond liner to sunlight significantly shortens its lifespan as it becomes brittle due to UV rays. Damage by animals or plants is also a concern.
  • Overloading the pond edge: While plants are essential for the pond edge, they should be carefully chosen. Fast-growing plants like reeds or bamboo can take over and encroach into the pond. An overabundance of lush plants can make the pond appear overgrown.

Creative Design Ideas

Now let’s focus on creative pond edge design ideas. While plants are an essential component, you can use other elements to add to the appeal and functionality of your pond edge:

Protective mats for the pond liner

If you prefer a plant-filled pond edge, consider using shore or slope mats. These mats cover the pond liner between the capillary barrier and the shallow water area, are made of permeable, loose material, and can be planted. They are ideal for ponds with steep banks. These mats are placed in the water on one side and in the capillary barrier on the other. After securing the mats in place, you can add fine sand to facilitate planting. These mats have a capillary effect, supplying water to the plants by drawing it from the pond.

Tip: Ensure the protective mats do not extend beyond the capillary barrier to avoid the undesirable capillary effect that could lead to significant water loss.

Mediterranean ambiance with stone slabs

Stone slabs, whether irregular or linear in shape, can give your pond a Mediterranean atmosphere. Regularly shaped or linear slabs can create a sterile feel, but they are also suitable for a natural pool. Stones can be laid in a mortar bed. To add a softer touch to your pond edge, include plants. You can place plants directly between the stone slabs with adequate spacing or use plant containers. Small statues or amphoras can also add a decorative touch to your pond edge.

Modern design with tiles

Tiles, like stone slabs, can be placed in a mortar bed up to the water’s edge. Tiles come in various shapes and colors and are suitable for modern pond edge design, especially for a natural pool or a sleek-looking koi pond. To give your pond edge a more relaxed appearance, you can arrange tiles in a mosaic pattern. Plants can grow around the tiled area. You can also place plant containers on the tiles to make the pond area more inviting and lively.

Versatile design with natural stones

Unlike tiles or stone slabs, natural stones don’t need to be set in a mortar bed. You can use large natural stones, pebbles, or gravel for various design styles. Whether you want your pond to look modern or romantic, you can arrange natural stones in different ways. For a modern pond with gravel, you’ll use fewer plants. However, plants outside the pond edge can offer a natural appearance and provide shade. Gravel is ideal for koi ponds as it complements the Japanese garden concept. You can arrange large stones among the larger natural stones. For a natural-looking pond border, you can construct small walls made of natural stones. Natural stones also offer opportunities for rock garden designs with corresponding plants, such as ground cover plants.

Key Point: Ensure that natural stones are not sharp-edged to avoid damaging the pond liner. The stones should not contain soluble lime, as this can cause the pond water to foam.

Concrete for various design concepts

Concrete is a versatile choice for pond edge design. It may not seem warm, but when combined with other design elements, it can create a harmonious atmosphere. Options include concrete bricks, concrete slabs, plantable concrete blocks, concrete steps, and intricately designed concrete elements that can be arranged in different ways. When combined with plants, natural stones, and plant containers, concrete offers a wide range of possibilities. Even a romantic design, with a small fountain or pump, can be achieved with concrete.

Futuristic design with metal

If you want your pond to exude a rustic, futuristic, or industrial feel, consider designing the pond edge with metal elements. Metal provides a clean look for the pond edge, separating it from the lawn or plantings. Suitable metals include stainless steel, aluminum, and even metal with a rusted design. Metal creates a minimalist design and reduces the need for plants if you prefer a simpler look.

Tip: If you’re planning a small pond and don’t want to use a liner, you can opt for a weather-resistant corten steel pond basin. In this case, you can forego adding a pond edging. However, note that a corten steel pond may not have a traditional or natural appearance but can be planted and even used for keeping fish.

Wood – versatile for many design options

Wood offers numerous design possibilities for pond edges. You can surround the entire pond or just a portion of it with wood. A wooden edge is particularly suitable for a natural pool, as it complements a more natural look than stone slabs or tiles. You can also integrate a small wooden staircase or wooden walkway into the pond edging. Garden furniture made of wood can be placed on the pond edge, or you can use wooden plant containers. A wooden pergola or pavilion complements the wooden pond edging. Part of the pond can be covered with wood, featuring integrated lighting.

Fence for child safety

If you have children frequently present on your property and need to make the pond child-safe, consider using a fence with a lockable gate as the pond edging. You can build such a fence using wood or metal. This type of fence can also serve as a climbing aid for various plants, such as clematis, honeysuckle, or climbing roses. If you don’t need child protection, you can use a flat, artistically designed fence. In this case, a low wall, such as a dry stone wall made of natural stones, can also work as pond edging, saving you from surrounding the entire pond.

Beach – ideal for a swimming pond

If you have a swimming pond, consider creating a beach along at least a portion of the pond edge. To create a beach, you’ll need sand or gravel and perhaps a few beach plants. You can also integrate a privacy screen to keep onlookers at bay. To prevent sand and gravel from sinking, build a gravel foundation covered with landscape fabric. Sand and gravel can then be added to complete the beach. Other elements, such as a wooden walkway, a beach umbrella, natural stones, and plant containers, can enhance the beach area.

Have you heard of planting bags?

Once you’ve created your garden pond and installed a capillary barrier, you can use planting bags for pond edging. Hang these permeable bags, made of materials like jute or sisal, on a secured pond edge. Planting bags come in various sizes and help separate the plants effectively. You can easily remove the bags from the water for plant maintenance. Planting bags are suitable for ponds with steep banks, providing better support for plants.

Waterfall as a design element

A waterfall serves as a great design element when you’ve created a pond with a stream. It’s particularly suitable for larger ponds. Depending on your pond’s size and the local conditions, you can choose the waterfall’s height or width. A natural look is achieved when using natural stones for the waterfall.

Classic design with plants

If you prefer a classic and natural design, opt for pond edge planting. Shore mats and planting bags can be helpful in providing plants with extra support. When using planting bags, remember not to neglect planting on the outer pond edge. While reeds may not always be suitable due to their rapid growth, many other plants are ideal for your pond surroundings, such as Pampas grass and other ornamental grasses, checkerboard flowers, pennywort, iris, forget-me-nots, daylilies, and spiderwort. Opt for plants that bloom at different times to enjoy a beautiful display throughout the year. Also, consider each plant’s specific requirements for the growing environment.

In Conclusion

The pond edging and pond edge design should be considered right from the start when planning your garden pond. Don’t forget to include the capillary barrier when designing the pond edge. You’re not limited to using plants for pond edging; there are various options to explore, such as wood, natural stones, stone slabs, or tiles. A beach area can be created for swimming ponds, and metal can provide a minimalist look. Fences and wooden structures add safety and aesthetic appeal. Be creative and combine elements to create the perfect pond edge that suits your style.

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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