Rock Features for Backyard Ponds

Rocks and water. These two simple elements are integral to the design and feel of a water garden. In fact, they are so important that they are the focal point of many gardens. Whether garden rocks are part of a natural rock waterfall, a fountain, or simply decorative and structural elements around the small pond, rocks are a beautiful and functional part of the water garden.

Garden Rocks as an Element in Pond Design

Large rocks that are flat on top can act as seats around the garden pond. Jagged landscaping boulders can become a feature beside the pond, or a face for water to trickle down. Building a water feature in the amazing backyard pond? Water fountains created out of a single rock or a cascade fit well into the water garden, adding moving water while remaining a subtle part of the landscape.

garden rocks waterfall in a no grass backyard

Water and Rocks Combine In Chinese Gardens

Water and rocks can be the dominant structural elements in a garden. Chinese gardens often feature a pond surrounded by rocks. The gardens of the Chinese city of Suzhou are especially noted for their Taihu rock or scholar’s rocks. These elaborate, sculptured rocks look like animals, mountains, or people. The water and the rocks are opposites, playing off each other to add dimensions of flow and durability to the garden.

Creating a Rock Garden Around the Pond

Rock gardens come in many forms – another option for no grass backyard ideas. If the rocks are in a very warm location, plants like sedums and Hen and Chicks (Sepervivum) are a good choice.

Garden rocks for a backyard pond

A sheltered, shady area under a tree is a perfect place to grow moss and liverworts and presents an opportunity to cultivate these lovely and often-neglected plants. Create a natural rock wall by placing a large, flat landscaping boulder in a shady place. Rain water can move down the rock to plants like maidenhair fern (Adiantum spp.) that grow at the base.

Well-Placed Rocks are Homes for Pond Wildlife

Rocks in the garden can be an excellent home for local wildlife. Frogs and salamanders love these water, dark homes. They may come for the pond, but once the babies go through metamorphosis, they will stay for the plants and hiding places provided by around the outskirts of the pond. Lean small rocks against each other to create small caves for wildlife.

Mixing Rocks and Fish

While rocks placed around the pond can be beautiful, gravel placed at the bottom of a pond can interfere with pond filtration. This is an important fact if the pond is stocked with fish such as koi. In a pond, the filter is designed to remove waste from the fish.

Rocks can capture waste materials, and the water in a small pond rarely moves quickly enough to remove waste.

Removing part of the filtration capacity of the pond means that anaerobic bacteria can breed, so pond gravel is not always a good choice when fish are involved.

Pond rocks are an important part of pond landscaping. They are not simply the backdrop for a garden pond. In fact, garden rocks can be a feature of the pond. Rocks also provide a new place to garden beside the pond and a home for wildlife that live in and around the water garden.