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Front Yard Pond

Usually, water features are situated in more remote portions of a property, not in the front yard, for a variety of reasons. The front yard is open to traffic from outside - visiting pets or other animals, children at play and so on. Water attracts like nothing else, so the water feature, which the owner very definitely wanted to have, had to be removed from easy access and street-side view and it needed to be placed such that it could be enjoyed by the owners.


 front yard pond

 The design plan


Watery Impressions

Water features can be placed in many different locations for different effects. Where space is available, some remote, half hidden nook can provide a delightful setting for a small pool, providing peaceful contemplation in a quiet, private setting. Other times more impact is desired, or the water feature may be best enjoyed when seen from within the house. Near the entrance of a home can be quite a pleasant spot for a water garden. It is seen and heard upon entering and leaving the house creating a pleasantly unusual first and last impression. In this case, it is also viewed through the large picture window of the living room.

frontyard water garden

 A two level water garden with waterfall into the upper and a weir into the lower.

Water Feature Design

This naturalistic water garden, consisting of an upper pool flowing into a lower, was designed as a focal point for the top terrace, where it would be visible from the living room and upon entering and leaving the home. The water flows from a small fall, elevated about twelve inches or so above the surface of the upper pond. Within this upper pool there is a small weir which allows the water to flow through and down several inches into the lower pond. This gives more movement and interest and also helps oxygenate the water - something the fish appreciate. The pools were given a free-form, natural shape, edged and lined in river-flats and river-rounds. The ledges, (image xx) that were built into the pool during construction serve both as planting shelves and allow easy placement of stone.



The plantings around the pool screen out views to the street and serve as a backdrop to the water gardens. From the street it is not possible to know this water garden exists, yet framed as it is with a wealth of shrubs and perennials the pond is nicely visible from the porch and home, with a pleasing backdrop behind and around it. The Sciadopitys verticillata (Japanese umbrella pine) is especially effective, year round. The Miscanthus sinensis do their part to screen out the neighborhood while providing as graceful backdrop to the water, as do the Rhododendron and the various Clematis, clambering up vertical supports.


The density of plantings around the water garden help create a little world in which the water garden is a natural element. Without those plantings the water garden would seem out of place as it would be seen against the backdrop of the suburban neighborhood. Notice the role of sculpture here. This much foliage calls out for structural elements - for solidity - found here in the two bird sculptures. They step out of the foliage, both blending and balancing perfectly with the abundant leafyness.



Integrate the Water Feature With it Surroundings

Too often we see well made water features, particularly of the natural style, so situated as to look completely contrived and out of place. This results, often, from failing to integrate the water feature with the surroundings. If there are stones used in the water garden, there should be some stones in the vicinity and there should always be, in this style particularly, an abundance of plants. The plants within the water will unite visually with the margin plants and these two with the surrounding landscape to create a transition from water garden into landscape.


In contemporary or formal designs different elements will be used to unify the water feature with the environment in which it is found. For example, a formal, in-ground pool will not be found in a rustic setting and a contemporary design will contain and have around it contemporary materials contemporarily rendered.

 front yard water garden

 A Heron ornaments the pond