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Double Waterfall on a Big Hill

Double Pond and Waterfall

A Pretty Pond With a Bridge

Fresh spring clean out

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A gentle forest stream

A Fresh Clean Pond

Hurth Waterscapes Spring Pond Clean Out

Plants Around the Pond

What should I plant around my pond?

I’m often asked to give my clients ideas regarding what type of plants they might want to install in the beds surrounding their pond.  The short answer to this is; “Your pond will really look nice once you have some plants growing around it that crawl and cascade over the rocks, so I would recommend planting rock garden style plants”.  This answer usually gets them thinking in the right direction, but I figured maybe it was time to do a bit more explaining.

Think about the design

Stand back and look at your pond.  It is rare to have a pond that is balanced looking.  As a matter of fact, it is rare to have any landscape that really looks balanced, unless you have a formal garden in your back yard.  Whenever you are considering where to plant and what to plant, think about it logically and with an eye for balance.  When you stand back and squint, which part of the yard looks and feels heavier?  Which part seems to have portions of it that don’t quite fit together and flow into each other?  There are usually both of these areas present.  Often times you will have a heavy waterfall or rock or some steps or maybe even a bigger tree or the corner of your house or roof or maybe a garden shed.  It is nice to tie things together in your landscape, so if you have some drastic transitions such as a big waterfall on one side of the yard and grass on the other, maybe it would be nice to balance that out a bit by installing a shrub on the opposite side of the pond as the waterfall.  Maybe you’ve got a big rock as an accent piece.  If it is all alone in the grass it may look a bit silly, but if it is tied into the landscape by creating some type of bed around it, maybe a combination of various grasses, shrubs and perennial flowers would blend it in nicely to the rest of the yard.  You don’t want to block or hide these items, you simply want to link them or tie them together.  As a general rule, it looks nicer to plant in odd-numbered groups.  Don’t ask me why, but a group of three or five will always look nicer than a group of two or four.  It is also good to layer your plants and stagger the plantings.  Don’t create straight lines and don’t put tall plants in front of the short plants.  Just about every area has a primary viewing point.  Design from this viewing point and plant the shorter plants near the front, medium plants near the middle and taller plants in the rear.

Well, your pond is very similar to the rest of your landscape.  You have very flat water and then you have rocks and then back to flat lawn.  It’s nice to break up the contrasting elements a bit.  Hopefully your pond was created with a natural look and you have a mix of different sized rocks around the perimeter.  If so, choose some of the areas next to the bigger rocks to plant some aquatic plants in the water.  This will help to blend the water to the rock.  Make sure to plant lower aquatic plants in the pond near the front of the pond and taller plants on the back side of the pond.  I’d always start my plantings with the aquatic plants because you need them to help control the algae in your pond and also because in order to install them you’ll be kneeling at the edge of the pond which means you’d be kneeling on your plants if you had already planted around the outside of your pond.  Once you’ve got the aquatic plants all in, it’s time to plant around the pond.

As you plan your beds around the pond you might want to paint out the bed lines in slow, flowing curves.  Keep in mind that you’ll want to make your lawn cutting easy on yourself.  Never create quick turns or corners that will be difficult to mow.  Plants that will crawl and trail down the edges of the pond and help to soften the rock edges will really blend in well.

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