Water Garden Ideas to Create a Backyard Escape

Water Garden
01 of 10

A Sloping Stream

Water Garden
  • A cacophony of colors and materials decorates the outlines of a stream.
  • Various visually-interesting materials and plants, including a weeping willow and variously sized boulders, move the eye from the top of the gentle slope downward.
  • Large, flat boulders do double duty, edging the pond and providing a wide enough spot for an informal path.
  • A few dwarf evergreens add year-round structure among the brightly colored lilies and black-eyed Susans.
  • Groundcovers and water plants, including water lilies, soften the otherwise hard edges of the pond's rocky border.
  • A gentle curve cut out of the walkway mimics the outlines of the pond in a sinuous water garden idea.
02 of 10

Dressed-Up Fountain

Water Garden
  • A water feature set into a sloping corner offers traditional style.
  • Distinctive hardscape, including stone steps and a geometric paved landing, lend an air of formality to this elegant waterfall.
  • Urns overflowing with bright purple lobelia and red double impatiens soften the water's edges.
  • While many garden water elements feel natural, this pool was designed to contrast with the lushly planted landscape around it.
  • The rich hues of ivy, lacecap hydrangea, ornamental grass, and pigsqueak warm the cool tones of the waterfall's stonework.
03 of 10

Circle 'Round

Water Garden
  • A series of spheres supplies structure to a minimalist water feature.
  • A charming water garden idea, this gravel path from the house ends at a gently bubbling pond.
  • Plants echo the shape of hardscape. Here, liriope encircles the small pond.
  • Repetition is a key design element of this water landscape; multiple circles tie everything together.
  • The continuation of the path around the pond maintains circulation through the garden.
  • In place of a stationary pool of water, a bubbling base in the pool offers water movement.
04 of 10

Focus on the Fountain

Water Garden
  • A pretty water feature livens up a small slice of the yard.
  • Intricate trelliswork complements the elegance of the fountain and sculpture.
  • Gentle curves at the edge of the fountain soften the hardscape edges.
  • A pair of myrtles, grown in topiary form, add a splash of fun to the garden. Their rounded shapes echo the curves in the lattice and water basin.
  • Containers set at the fountain's edge pick up the colors and foliage of the surrounding plantings.
  • Shade-loving begonias and caladium in colors that warm the cool gray stonework nestle close to the small-scale fountain.
05 of 10

Pond Perfect

Water Garden
  • A restful landscape includes an expansive pond.
  • A bench, chair, and table offer a quiet nook overlooking the expansive lily pond.
  • An arched bridge takes garden visitors over the water below.
  • Lighting can be discreet when its shape and materials complement the rest of the landscape; here, a few lanterns light the way across the bridge.
  • Large and small boulders tumble and flit in and out of the pond's edges.
  • Movement in water and elements on the surface offer visual interest to water features. Here, water lilies bloom, and a small stream cascades into the larger pond.
06 of 10

Japanese Garden Inspiration

Water Garden
  • A calming spot puts Asian-style water garden ideas to work.
  • Above-ground water features in the landscape offer soothing sounds and tranquil vignettes. Here, a massive boulder and gurgling fountain create a unique getaway.
  • There needn't be any distinct order to pavers. In this garden, a series of randomly tucked, small-scale steppingstones guide the way from bench to fountain.
  • Chairs work, but a minimalist concrete cube with a pair of cushions stands in just as well for seating.
  • Plants contribute to the Zen garden setup with the lovely but restrained foliage of Japanese maple, liriope, clumping bamboo, and rhododendron.
  • Repeated shapes provide garden serenity; here, the shape of the fountain is echoed in the paved outlines of the sand garden.

fountain is echoed in the paved outlines of the sand garden.

07 of 10

Wonderful Waterfall

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  • A dense mix of evergreens and shade-loving plants creates a richly sculpted landscape around a backyard pond.
  • Substantial planting of reliable arborvitae serves as a year-round softscape fence.
  • A garden with several vantage points offers multiple areas for enjoyment; this landscape can be viewed from up on the deck or closer to the water feature.
  • A series of stacked boulders in varying sizes offers a naturalist edging for the waterfall and pond.
  • A few flagstones jut over the boulders for a third garden outlook spot extending from the lower seating area.
  • Paths are an easy element to utilize to conquer slopes, and water features another. This cascading water feature tumbles gently over boulders and a series of flagstone steps before ending in a pond.
08 of 10

Modern Measures

Water Garden
  • By relying on subtle shifts in color and replicating elements, a water feature offers a composed garden setting.
  • Accent lights need not be stationary; moveable versions afford flexibility. Here, punched tin lanterns can be relocated as necessary.
  • The size and shape of a water feature work wonders to complement the style of the rest of the garden, as with this slim, tranquil stream.
  • Along either side of the narrow slice of water, repeated clusters of plants and shrubs, such as evergreens and hostas, complement the restful vista.
  • A bench at the end of this water feature is bot focal point and resting spot.
  • A mostly monochromatic color scheme supports the sleek style of the garden and water feature.
09 of 10

Less Is More

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  • A stripped-down pond and outdoor shed provide an undisturbed vignette.
  • Urns and containers complement the style and colors in a landscape; here, the subtle shapes and hues of an oversize pot emphasize the garden's composition.
  • Garden sheds enhance a garden. The lines and materials of a Japanese-inspired garden house work in tandem with the water feature.
  • If the pond is large enough, extending a vantage point over it (as with this front "porch") can give an interesting perspective on the landscape.
  • Color can come from multiple elements or from one single, well-chosen piece, as with this bold red Japanese maple.
  • Placed in a seemingly random pattern, the boulders around the pond's edge are the perfect companions for both the shed and pond.
10 of 10

A Backyard Stream

Water Garden
  • Clumps of carefree plants amble easily along the free-form edges of this water feature.
  • Transitions from one material to the next are less jarring if done gradually; here, a smattering of stones gives way to shredded wood mulch.
  • The lines of the stream reinforce the style of the rest of the garden -- the stream's rambling path creates a casual feel.
  • A tricolor beach offers a burst of color between the pathway and stream.
  • Use perennials and annuals around a water element to add seasonal blooms.
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