Japanese Pond

Japanese Pond before

I was engaged by these clients for a larger estate development, but for this article I’ll be focussing on the development of a Japanese-inspired formal, simple pond. There was already a pond in place, but there were very few fish and what there were, were small. The clients were new to the property and realised that a dramatic improvement was required. The overall theme for the estate will be Japanese inspired, and, as this pond sits alongside their entrance courtyard, they felt that it would be a welcoming addition for approaching guests.

I love the formality of minimalist Japanese ponds, and wanted to create a quiet, contemplative space, where the sounds of the trickling water and the rustling of the breeze in the Hakon Grass is the only sound.

The concept shows the design intent, with some simple planting. The bench and screen are key, as is the placement of the trees either side. The final choices were a Black Elder and a weeping Acer. A bright yellow Hamamelis will provide colour in the late winter, as well as being a sculptural element positioned slightly in front of the screen.

I used Japanese-inspired plants such as the Hakon grass, and the different ferns (tall, sculptural Dryopteris, and delicate Athyrium), blended with tall Miscanthus grasses and Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). Anemones and Hostas provide variety and interest.

The Mood board shows the plants for the pond on the right-hand side, along with plants for a raised bed to the side (more on that in the coming weeks). There is a limited colour palette of purples, greens, and whites, with occasional bright spots of yellow.

This pond will be a soothing, peaceful place to sit and watch the fish for many years to come. There’s a full list of the plants below. Not all of them are on the plan, to avoid it becoming crowded.