Best Pond Shapes

Chances are you have found this webpage because you’re looking for some information on the Best Pond Shapes or the best size for a garden pond.

We get these types of questions all the time. What are the best pond shapes?

Shaping a garden pond only comes after the positioning of the pond.  Here is a video I recorded a few years ago regarding pond shapes.  Its part of planning a garden pond series.

Planning a Garden Pond – Shape 


Well hopefully I will be able to help you here, please read on.

The best shape in my eyes, depends on the rest of the garden. What type of garden do you have?

What shape of pond do you choose?

Well this is up to your personal preference really. If you’re looking for some help this is a quick guide to garden pond size & shape.

Best Pond Shapes

What are the Best Pond Shapes for water quality?

The best shape ponds for water quality is something without corners. With square garden ponds the corners should be rounded.  Well at least under the water anyway, above the surface you can have any shape you like.

Corners in ponds or complicated shapes impede the flow of water.  So you get dead spots, where bad bacteria will colonise.  If you have a pond with corners already you need to think about moving that water. This can be in the form of air stones* or return jets.

*What are air stones? Air stones are on the end of small plastic tubing. Which can be made out of a couple of things (porous media or ceramic). Air is then pump down the plastic pipes. The air stone weighs the plastic tubing down and distribute the air from them. At the base or bottom of the pond in summer (in the winter turn them down as the cold air will chill the water, if you bring the up closer to the surface you will get dead spots). The air simply comes up through the water column, moving the water around away from the corners.

A pond in the shape of a kidney bean.  Is a great example of the best shape for a garden pond.  Keep it simple, keep it curved, keep it in proportion.


Deciding exactly what you want to keep in your pond will in many ways dictate the size and shape. For example, a wildlife pond may only need to be 12 inches deep, with gently sloping banks to be the perfect haven for both aquatic and amphibious wildlife.

A fish pond on the other hand will need to have a depth of around 18 inches and normally steeper sides to maximise the volume of water. Koi pools, with their large residents often need to be deeper and much larger, with filters to match, to deal with these large and somewhat messy fish.

Whilst it is technically possible to build ponds in a great variety of different shapes, there are some factors that you need to take into account that will effect your pond and how well it performs.

Avoid complex pond shapes, they cost more and do work as well.

Complex shapes make the construction phase much more difficult. Even when using pond liners, which can be folded to shape, the folds can trap waste and look unsightly if not covered over. Ponds with intricate shapes can also create dead spots where water flow is reduced. Once again, these areas will trap waste and the lack of water circulation can promote algal growth.

To get an idea of the best pond shapes and correct size of your own pond. Mark out the shapes as precisely as possible with wooden pegs or your garden hose pipe.

When we come out for a design consultation we tend to use a product called landscaping paint but most people don’t have access to this.

This will give you time to live with the pond shape and see if it actually the size and shape that is right for you. The longer you can leave the shape marked out before picking up a spade the better as it is often only over time that what at first appears to be the perfect shape starts to lose some of its appeal, from different angles and viewing areas.

A quick tip is to go in the house and have a look from the kitchen window or living room window.  Can you see the pond? Is the shake the right shape? The Best Pond Shapes are easily overlooked, if you don’t go inside.

How does it look?

Does the design work from angles other than the main viewing position?

View the marked-out shape from as any different positions as possible and live with it.

When Any Pond begin constructing a pond we always first mark it out and then leave it with the customer to decide whether it is right for them.

Some times we may even mark out 2 different ponds. These could be different shapes and sizes. Depending on the clients budget of course, to give the client a choice of options. Very often the client will decide to go for a slightly bigger design than they initially envisaged. As the different shape blends into the surrounding garden better.  Pond designs always looks different and smaller in reality than they do on paper.

Thinking about other options with the shape of the pond.

Waterfalls and streams are wonderful additions to a pond. But it is important to keep them in proportion to the size of the rest of the water feature pond. The last thing you want is an overly large waterfall for the size of garden pond. The wrong amount of water in emotion will create excessive noise and will partially drain the main pond.

If on the other hand this may be what you want (may be you want to drown out traffic noise or something else).

If a large waterfall is essential for your design, then it may be better to look at combining two water features into your landscape. A disappearing waterfall and stream could be moved close to your seating area.

Disappearing water feature hold the water to be recycled within a under ground reservoir. All you see is pebbles and gravel at the base of the water feature.  The water level is not visible so it does not matter, were the level in the reservoir is.

Have a look at our disappearing waterfalls and streams Click Here 

Changing the shape with water plants

When plants are an important part of your pond design it is essential to think about the size and placement of planting areas. If you are looking to have plants then they will often need shallow shelves, which bring them closer to the surface. They may also need areas away from your fish. Planting pockets are protected from the big fish that could easily eat or uproot them.

The best pond shapes for both wildlife and fish at the same time.

It is possible to combine some aspects of the various pond types through clever design and different pond shapes. For example, if you want to keep fish in your wildlife pond (or the other way around).  Aquatic wildlife will not be disturbed by the fish if we create some havens for them.

The pond shape can play a big part of this. These types of pond are a lot more specialised as the filtration outlets and other pond mechanics need to be taken care of. As you can imagine this is not a pond for a beginner to start with.

Adding large rocks, with plenty of crevices between them is one way of doing this. Think of the pond like a mini barrier reef system, with the fish (sharks) being the top-predators that patrol the open water.  Pond fish will do the same. Invertebrates and other smaller aquatic wildlife (fish food) will hide away within the rocks and plant sanctuaries. In this way you can create a more complex ecosystem with habitats for both the fish and the wildlife.

If you have any question or comment please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks

What to Know More?

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