Ponds are one of the fastest growing trends in landscape gardening today. By supplying a tranquil water feature to your garden, they’re a great aesthetic addition to the backyard. Moreover, a pond can help to attract local wildlife and can nurture your neighborhood’s ecosystem. Whether it’s a natural-looking pool or a full-blown modernist feature in your backyard, a pond has the potential to be an invaluable backyard addition. In this article, we will look at several small backyard pond ideas, and we hope to provide you with the inspiration to make your own!
Installing a pond into your back garden can be much easier than it seems. In this article, we’ll take you through some of the easier and more complex small pond designs that will enhance your outdoor spaces.
Small Backyard Pond Ideas
Let’s get to it! We have split our list into two sections: container ponds and built-in ponds. Container ponds are going to be generally cheaper to make, but the built-in ones will likely provide more aesthetic value.
Container ponds are ideal candidates for gardens that don’t have much green space to spare. These designs can be popped anywhere in the garden and are much easier to install than dug-out ponds, but their size is limited. Here’s a run-down of our favorite container pond designs.
Barrel o’ Laughs
This pond design is a simple one but is full of character. We love the pirate vibes that this barrel-style gives off.
Easy to install into your garden, all you need is a barrel to contain the water. Container ponds like this one can be a simpler way to add a water feature to your backyard. The container you choose, barrel or otherwise will need to have a wide neck to allow room for a few plants. Using a container for your pond can be an aesthetic and easy way to create a pond without having to dig up too much of your garden or use pond liner.
You’ll need a barrel that is watertight, and you’ll need to fill in any holes. This resin whiskey barrel planter would work nicely, but you’ll need to fill in the holes.
The Big, Bad Bowl
This classy pond design is great for adding a futuristic twist to your backyard. Making your pond into a raised outdoor feature can make the concept seem more contemporary and make it into a centerpiece. Placing this style of a pond into an area of your garden that’s heavily populated with plants works to highlight its modern design.
The fact that it’s self-contained means that there’s no need to dig a hole or buy any of the necessary materials for a built-in pond. It’s an ideal candidate for smaller gardens or patios, where digging out a pond is an impossibility.
This little glass number is fantastic for fish-watching. While many of the other small pond ideas would allow for some aquatic life to thrive, this is by far the best for keeping a watchful eye on your pond inhabitants.
We love the cute, goldfish bowl vibes we get from this one. It’s a quirky and original idea, allowing you to blend a pond with an aquarium tank.
It’s a design that’s easy to install, being another of the self-contained pond structures. It does, however, require a lot of cleaning to ensure that the inside of the glass does not get a coating of algae over time. This will also help your fish to thrive in their new, glass home.
This quirky design is the epitome of upcycling, and can be as big or small as you want – it’s all dependent on the container! You can choose what sort of container you use, but an old metal bucket like this one has a vintage, DIY feel to it.
This is the easiest to assemble of our list, as you can use any kind of container that you have lying around. Metal works best, but plastic could work well too. Just make sure that whatever you choose won’t damage or destroy any plants or wildlife you cultivate in your pond.
There’s also no need to spend any extra money on this container design. If you or your friends or family have any old containers they don’t use anymore, that’s your perfect opportunity. This way, you don’t have to worry about throwing out an old container, plus you get a delightfully DIY backyard water feature.
If you don’t have a tub, you can pick up one of the Achla Designs Round Steel Tubs and get to work!
Dug-out ponds are better for bigger gardens. Offering a more natural-looking design, they present an opportunity to really go to town on their design. They’re more difficult to install, as they require tarp lining and a lot of digging, but they’re in it for the long haul and worth the effort. Keep scrolling to see some of our all-time favorite dug-out designs.
This more rustic, water garden design requires a lot of spare rocks. The natural look it achieves it worth the hassle, though. You can jazz-up the jagged circumference with gnomes, garden tiki statues, old pots, and wispy plants to create the same fairy tale vibes that we’re getting from this example.
Having rocks visible at the bottom of, and around, your pond is a fantastic idea for gardens that are going for a nautical or seaside theme. Reminiscent of a rock pool, this design can be decorated with rope or shells to achieve this look.
This design is fairly easy to set up in your garden. Depending on the size and width of the stones you want to use, it’s not necessary to dig too deep for your pond pit. It’s a good idea to line your pond before adding the stones on top, to prevent leakage.
If you’re looking for a more extravagant design for your pond, this one’s for you. Using a wooden border like this one can add a touch of natural class to the water feature, and is also a great opportunity to upcycle some old wood! We love the added flower bed perimeter in this example.
This is one of the more complicated pond layouts of the lot. The design requires all the necessary tools for digging and lining your pond pit, as well as some sturdy wood for the border. The wood pieces pictured were originally railway sleepers, but it’s not hard to find similar wood in your local gardening store.
Waterproofing the wood is a must, otherwise, the design will not be able to keep the pond water in. To ensure that your wood is waterproof, we recommend several coats of Rustoleum yacht varnish.
Here’s one for those who want to arrange a display around their pond. This design is pretty extravagant and very detailed, complete with a bamboo fence around the perimeter. We especially love the mini grass mound mountain.
In this design, two pieces of slate have been used as a bridge over the small pond, making it seem even more like a miniature village-style Zen Garden. This can be a unique and interesting way of incorporating a pond into your backyard, and a great excuse to get creative.
If you’ve got a little room to spare around a built-in pond but don’t want to add any extra foliage, this is the perfect solution. It’s a wonderful way to create a little lakeside kingdom in your back garden, in a much more literal sense than other designs.
The installation is the same as any regular dug-out pond design, it’s the extra decorations on top that jazz it up. And don’t forget to grab a Garden Pagoda Light to finish the look!
Yes, we realize how extravagant this design is and no, we couldn’t resist adding it to the list. While this isn’t exactly a small pond, making your own island in the garden is just too enchanting a concept to ignore. How great would it be to dine on your own private island… right in your own backyard?
If you don’t have enough space for a fire pit and bistro set on the island, it would also be a lovely spot for a bench for some quiet contemplation, or perhaps a small tree. The bridge structure, as seen here, doesn’t have to be complicated. This example uses bent slate shapes to create the sturdy bridge structure over the pond, but a classic wooden design could also work well.
This is a design that takes up more space than the other ponds, but that’s not to say that it can’t be shrunk to fit a smaller space. The bridge is the centerpiece of the design, so smaller dug-out designs could also have a bridge added to complete this chic island look.
If you want to emulate the tranquility of a Japanese garden, this is a great idea. The design doesn’t have to be as big as this one, but we love that it looks like the patio is falling away into this deep, rocky pool.
Having fish in the garden is a lovely way to create a calming atmosphere in your outdoor space. An aquarium addition to the backyard is classy and also a lovely way to incorporate wildlife into your garden.
This is more of a stylistic design that takes a lot more time, effort and money than some of the other designs. That said, if you’re looking for a sophisticated pond design, this is the one for you.
If you’re looking for something a little more natural, this design is the perfect candidate for you. Surrounding your pond with wild-looking plants and reeds will make your backyard feel like a lakeside retreat. As well as looking luscious, a more natural-looking pond is a sure-fire way to attract local wildlife and boost the local ecosystem.
Gardeners who don’t have much time to dedicate to the backyard will especially benefit from this design, as you can encourage a range of wild plants to grow and then leave them to it! You can plan which plants grow where along the circumference and then just let them run their own course.
While we suggest that you take this wild-looking approach with a dug-out design, that’s not to say that you can’t grow wild grass and reeds around a container design, so long as it’s one of the lower ones.