Pond Building is a creative activity and your taste will heavily influence the style of your outdoor pond. An important point to remember is to blend your pond style into your overall backyard design. When adding an outdoor pond to your backyard design one of your first considerations is the choice between formal and informal ponds. That choice alone will affect the ponds shape, the materials and plants needed, etc… Pond Building styles are normally divided into formal and informal ponds. Let’s talk a bit about them.

Formal Ponds

Formal ponds are strongly influenced by the architecture of its surroundings. Its shape and materials are clearly part of the man-made architecture design. A formal pond will use common building materials such as marble, bricks, glass and metal.

Things to remember: First, if you choose to build a raised pond, take into consideration the weight of water in the pond when planing your walls. A poorly built pond could destroy both your project and your garden. Second is your budget, consider work and material costs when planing your pond.

Informal ponds

When building an informal pond you should take your inspiration from lakes, rivers and natural ponds. To achieve the natural look use rocks, sand and pebbles and vegetation to define the edges of the pond. Informal ponds are constructed below the ground, with smooth variations in depth. Its outline is normally created with a beach at one bank and different types of vegetation on the other. The important point here is to blend the pond into its natural surroundings. Adding small imitations of water streams, wood decks or natural looking waterfalls can add to overall informal design.

On the budget and skills side this is a popular choice for pond building as you will need less materials and skills than a raised pond.

Notes: First, informal ponds are the only option for creating a wildlife pond. Second, consider pond leaks and runoffs, debris and changes in the ground when planing your pond.


Don’t forget your personal tastes and overall backyard design when choosing between a formal or informal outdoor pond. Look around for inspiration and pond ideas from historical places or nature. Now you can choose your style and start making your pond plans.