17 Impressive DIY Water Garden Ideas

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water garden ideas

Ordinary gardens are falling out of style. The latest trend is aquatic or water gardens, the ones with lilies, koi fish, and exquisite arrangements that make even the most beautiful of typical gardens look dull. 

But coming up with water garden ideas that steal everyone’s breath is not as easy as you may think. Unless your level of creativity is other-worldly, you’ll be better off with a bit of inspiration.

That’s what we want to help you with. We’ll show you some of the most impressive ideas you can put to work in your own garden. Whether you’re a beginner or expert gardener, you’ll find a lot to be inspired below:

17 Must-See Water Garden Ideas for DIYers

1. Pebbles & Pond Garden

Pebbles & Pond Garden

Let’s start with a simple yet desirable option: the pebble pond.

Ponds are unmistakably good-looking. Even the worse one can add a flair of beauty to any place. But if you want to make it stand out, nothing beats a few white or gray pebbles on the shores.

Pebbles change the style of any area, adding contrast that pretty much nothing else can. It transforms the environment from dull to exciting and naturally rough, without ever stopping to look gorgeous. 

If you want to build a water garden that attracts anyone’s attention, find some pebbles and spread them around. You won’t regret it. 

2. Mini Koi-Pond Style 

Mini Koi-Pond Style

For those who have small backyard ponds with a few koi fish, organizing the outsides with a few pebbles, volcanic gravel, and a few miniature plants should get the job done.

If you want to add a greener touch to the place, don’t forget to bring grass, moss, and small shrubby plants. This makes even the dullest of water gardens much more alive.

And to finish, don’t forget to add an umbrella or similarly practical piece in the place. You could also use a small pergola or bridge over the pond. Alongside the koi fish and the vegetation around, it’ll become a place impossible to dismiss. 

3. Moss & Pond Water Garden

Moss & Pond Water Garden

An impressive water garden doesn’t have to be overly creative and astonishing. Going simple but attractive can get the job done.

A small preformed pond with a mossy border is a perfect example. It adds a feeling of calmness, making it a stimulating place but still attractive enough to be worth staying around.

We recommend adding some benches and/or chairs around, some mulch or gravel, and that’s it. You could make a forest-like area that resembles a natural pond, ready to be used for your most profound meditation sessions. 

4. Flourishing Fountain 

Flourishing Fountain

Have a fountain in your garden but don’t know how to make it more exciting? Don’t worry – adding a flower border with petunias, hibiscus or daisies can enormously improve the fountain.

We would go for petunias, as they like to shed their petals more consistently. Once the petals start falling into the fountain water, the place will look magical.

This is especially true when the spring arrives, and flowers start to bloom. Sooner or later, the petals will fall and transform the place into something out of a fantasy world

5. The Pond Pirate Fountain

The Pond Pirate Fountain

Simplicity gets the job done. You don’t need to spend thousands or come up with a hugely creative idea to make your water garden impressive enough. A stone pirate in the pond will suffice.

You will need a small pump, a bit of skill with stonework, and the willingness to install the pirate in the pond. Once you do that, you’ll be impressed at how much it changes the place’s whole appearance.

This is especially attractive in small ponds with little to boast. You can change its whole appeal, making a much more entertaining and appealing water garden.  

6. Shrub Border with Flowers & Pond

Shrub Border with Flowers & Pond

Water gardens don’t have to be only water and humidity-loving plants. You can also set up an attractive area with a small pond and enough flowers and shrubs around that add the same feeling.

If your garden is asking for a bit of improvement, you may find the addition of a small pond and some flowery shrubs to make it worth looking at.

Even a simple yard with a short-cut lawn could become a beautiful water garden without spending a fortune or using aquatic plants. 

7. Running Waterfall 

Running Waterfall

The easiest and still most rewarding way to make a water garden feel like a paradise is by adding a waterfall. As long as there’s always some water flowing, the place will look attractive enough to gather everyone’s attention.

Waterfalls never go out of fashion, which is more important. And if you have koi fish or plants that depend on flowing water, you’ll realize a waterfall is much more than just an ornamental choice.

We recommend using landscaping rocks and slabs instead of concrete or other alternatives for an easy time building the waterfall. This will make the whole process less tiring and save you a lot of time and money.  

8. Japanese Style Water Garden

Japanese Style Water Garden

If there’s something undeniable about the Japanese is their ability to make gorgeous gardens. Ever heard of koi ponds? They come from Japan. Just like the fish do. There’s no doubt as to why striving for a Japanese-themed water garden can be such a worthwhile endeavor.

For the best results, try to add a few shrubby plants, big rocks and slabs in the borders, and probably even some sculptures around. This could add some personality to the place.

As an ultimate addition that could set the garden apart from everyone else’s, bring a bonsai. The most obvious sign that your garden boasts a Japanese theme could be a beautiful and always-interesting tiny tree. 

9. A Full-Fledged Lily Pond

A Full-Fledged Lily Pond

Want to impress visitors every time they enter the garden? Build a garden pond with lilies. There’s no way this can go wrong.

Even in the smallest of ponds, lilies tend to survive without problems. And when they flourish, the place becomes a colorful and subtly appeasing area to be at.

You could then use the water garden as a place to add some beauty to your house and as a complete change of scenery. Whether it is for meditating or spending some time with your loved ones, lily ponds can change the place for the better. 

10. The Rocky Fountain

The Rocky Fountain

Some gardens have fountains that feel dull and unattractive, bordering on the useless. It doesn’t have to be that way. 

If the place lacks some color, add plants to the border. Surround with flowers and perennials that are always colorful and exciting to look at.

For fountains with no sculptures in the center, you can always pair up a bunch of rocks together and build your own. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult in the slightest. And if you add a pump in the center, the place may even achieve some movement, making it even more appealing. 

11. A Flower Border Water Garden

A Flower Border Water Garden

Let’s say you already have a small pond or water area built in your garden, but you want to make it a lot more alluring. In that case, nothing beats a flower border that surrounds the whole water area.

As simple as it sounds, you will only need to plant desirable and dense flowering plants like sunflowers and roses for the best results. Calendulas and alyssums can also get the job done, especially as the first layer.

No matter how you proceed, make sure the border is as dense as possible with as many flowering species you can add (preferably annuals and perennials for consistent blooms).

12. Garden Fantasy with Trees & Shrubs

Garden Fantasy with Trees & Shrubs

For those who have extensive gardens ready for a bit of makeup, the solution is always to go full-crazy with additions. Yes, you read that ring.

Water gardens don’t have to be wholly organized with every place bordering or stylishly located. Just give your best to add some shrubs, pebbles, rocks, mosh, trees, flowers, and some gravel to make it walkable. In the end, disorganized gardens are the most alluring.

This is especially true if you want to resemble fantasy worlds from your favorite movies, videogames, or fiction books. Get crazy and creative. You won’t regret it!

13. A Simple Pond & Stream Garden

A Simple Pond & Stream Garden

Once again, streams and small waterfalls never disappoint. Even the dullest of them can be attractive enough to boost your garden’s loveliness exponentially.

The best of these types of gardens is how easy they’re to build. Even an inexperienced gardener can make one with a few rocks, pebbles, or slabs. Even concrete and ceramic can help you build a tiny yet attractive waterfall in a garden.

If you’re going the extra mile, add a few bordering flowers, some moss, a few sculptures, and maybe even some lilies. The stream water garden will look as good as it can be without overdoing it.

14. The Pond Monster

The Pond Monster

Want to give your water garden some personality? Add a pond monster into the mix. 

Like a pond pirate, the monster would be a small stone sculpture that can withstand the place’s humidity. More importantly, it is big enough to look exciting and slightly scary – ideal for keeping children away.

You will obviously need some carving skills for the job. Or eventually, buy the sculpture somewhere for a few bucks. Either way, it doesn’t have to be too much work or money to make that seemingly unattractive water garden a bit more stimulating. 

15. Turtle Pond with Lilies

Turtle Pond with Lilies

Few people will consider adding animals to their water gardens. But that’s always a great idea, especially if it is large enough to host several species at once.

One of those species is the turtle. For example, river turtles can live for over a decade and grow modestly over that span, making for an almost perfect addition to any water garden.

This adds a lively touch to the place, making it a lot more appealing to everyone who stands around. More importantly, it gives you a reason to attend the water garden – you won’t like to give your new pets a bad time!

Lastly, you can also consider adding koi fish as an obvious alternative, frogs, toads, or even ducks. Be careful, though. Some of these species can quickly become pests

16. Pond Besides Patio Deck

Pond Besides Patio Deck

Ponds are irrefutably attractive, adding a calming feel to any area. This could be something as simple as a two-by-two pond, and it will still make any place a lot better.

Wooden patio decks alongside ponds, for example, can become immensely exciting to be at. The calmness and overall feel of the place could take you somewhere entirely separate from your house. If you need a place to release stress and relax – this could be a fantastic idea.

It could still be a water garden, even if the pond is tiny. And more interestingly, you can always add different kinds of plants around, going from shrubs to flowers, succulents, and more. 

17. A Step Walk Over the Pond

A Step Walk Over the Pond

If you’re willing to spend a few bucks and make a classier change in your water garden, then consider walking stones, a fountain, and floating pots. 

It doesn’t have to be exactly like that, as you can add practically anything you want. The focus should be on making the place feel more elegant and up-to-date while still spending little to no time, effort, or money.

With a bit of creativity and willingness to put in the work, you can transform any water garden into a modern oasis impossible to dismiss.


Feel inspired yet? We hope so! All the water garden ideas we chose for the article are entirely attainable, decently affordable, and likely to boost any water garden’s beauty to the next level.

As long as you’re willing to put in the work and get wet, transforming even the most unattractive water gardens won’t be much of a problem. 

So, what are you waiting for? That water garden won’t materialize itself!

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