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How to ornament the pond

Both small and large ponds can do with some ornament -
but what kind and how much, matters.

ornament the pond



Although ‘what looks good’ is largely subjective, there are some principles which can guide the selection of elements and objects for ornamenting your pond. I categorize these principles as Suitability of Size, Quantity and Style.


If you have a small pond and want to make it seem larger, place a few undersized objects near it. The scale of the smaller-than-life objects will help your pond be seen in that scale and will consequently make it appear larger. If, on the other hand, you place a large sculpture, or boulder adjacent to your small pond it will seem to shrink in size.


The same principle applies to large ponds. Small objects will seem to increase the size of a large pond, however, unless placed at a visitation point where they can be seen up close they will tend to get lost and seem irrelevant. Life sized or slightly larger pond creatures - sculptures of frogs or turtles, for example can be quite fun to come across at the edge of a large pond where they will be noticed. These same objects are more effective near a small pond if scaled down in size.  
 how to ornament the pond

 Here there are too many ornaments and the frogs are too big, making
the pond seem smaller.

The same is true of quantity. Too many objects of any size can easily overwhelm a small pond. A large pond can easily balance with and sustain a greater number of ornaments, however there is a such thing as too many, which take the focus off the pond altogether. You have to decide if it is the pond you want to embellished by the ornaments or is the pond there to create a setting for the ornaments.


Consideration of style is important too. A formal statue will look completely out of place near a ‘natural’ pond and a collection of cute critters will not seem appropriate for a formal pond. Beyond this, by choosing the right objects to ornament your pond you can embellish and enhance the overall effect. A natural pond can seem even more natural with a couple of well made pond-life objects or with attractive stones of the right size. The effect of a formal pond can be accentuated by classical statuary, whereas the effect of a natural pond could be well enhanced by some pagan, nymph-like or bacchanal sculpture well ensconced within a deep planting.


 how to ornament the pond - here a large one

 So, are these ornaments to highlight the pond or is the pond a setting for these ornaments.?

It helps too, if there is a consistency within the ornamentation. A natural pond, for example, with classical European as well as classical oriental ornament will never look right.


 how to ornament the pond and how not to

 A European and a formal Oriental sculpture ornament this pond. Does it work?




 how to ornament the pond. Ornament for a formal pool

 Without the classical sculptures, this would just be a rectangular pool.


 Westbury Gardens

 Westbury Gardens
Large ornament for a large pond


Of course there are no real rules, only guidelines you can feel completely free to abandon. It’s your pond, and how you choose to ornament it should be based on what pleases you. If your idea of a great looking natural pond is a flock of pink plastic flamingos around a statue of David, then knock yourself out. You might want to ask your family's opinion first, though.


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