Landscaper Advice

What type of pond?

How to plant up a pond – A guide for Landscapers.

Wildlife – Shallower, shelved with many native plants, with graduated access in and out for wildlife.

Ornamental – Lined or pre-formed. Fewer but more colourful plants, not always native. Steeper sides, waterfalls and statues, often contain fish.

Areas to Plant

Damp Ground: Plants for this area thrive in damp (not wet) soil, but must not dry out.

Water’s Edge: Known as the margin, (hence ‘’marginal’’ plants). These plants live in shallow water up to 30cm in depth. (Some mature reeds will tolerate 60cms).

Deeper Water: Water lilies (Nymphaea)

Water surface: Floating plants to create shade, reduce nitrogen and cloudiness of the water, whilst providing pond inhabitants with cover from predators.

Oxygenating plants: help aerate and clarify the water.

Popular plants

Popular plants Native

Damp Ground: Fritillaria, Trollius, Athyrium, Dryopteris.

Water’s Edge: Butomus, Caltha Palustris, Carex, Equisetum, Iris Pseudacorus, Juncus, Lysimachia, Mentha, Myosotis, Rorippa, Sagittaria Sagittifolia, Veronica beccabunga.

Deeper Water: Nymphaea Alba, Nuphar lutea

Water surface: Hydrocharis, Stratiotes.

Oxygenators: Ceratophyllum demersum, Fontinalis antipyretica, Myriophyllum spicatum or verticillatum, Ranunclulus aquatilis.

Popular plants


Damp Ground: Astilbe, Gunnera, Hosta’s, Rheum

Water’s Edge: Acorus, Canna’s, Iris’,Lobelia, Lychnis, Pontederia, Zantedeschia.

Deeper Water: Lilies, (Various in all sizes and colours) Aponogeton.

Water surface: Pistia, Salvinia.

Oxygenators: None. Care should be taken as non-native may be invasive


Planting for all year round colour

Aquatics are no different to other plants flower at different times, so, if you are looking for year round colour, consider what flowers and when. The year starts with the Caltha palustris varieties in March, continues through Iris, Lobelia and similar until late summer, where Butomus, Geum, Lythrum and Pontederia come into their own. This gives a flowering season from March until October. Few aquatics are evergreen, although Equisetum hyemale looks good all year and (whilst native) is a perfect architectural plant for formal ponds. Lilies, of course, flower for a long period, generally from June to September. For flowers outside this window, we suggest planting Aponogeton distachyos, which flowers from March through to June and then again from September to December.

Tall Or Small

Some plants are tall and statuesque, whilst others spread in a carpet effect or form small clumps. Here’s a brief guide as to which popular native plants do which:

Tall (Over 30cms) Short. (Up to 30cms)
Alisma plantago aquaticumAllium
Baldelia ranunculoides Anagallis
Butomus Baldelia
Carex Caltha
Equisetum hyemaleMyosotis scorpioides
Iris Persicaria amphibia
Lychnis Ranunculus flammula
Mentha aquaticVeronica beccabunga

Plants for filtration

Certain pond plants may be used to clarify water and can be used in conjunction with pumps to continually purify water.
Phragmites australis and Phragmites australis ‘variegatus’ are both excellent for use in filtration and are often used in sewage treatment beds.


If your customer wishes to add koi to their ‘’wildlife’’ pond, consider building a barrier just under the water level to keep the fish away from the plants.

Carefully Consider Plant Sizes

Many landscapers prefer planting ‘’clumps’’ of smaller plants, i.e. 9cm or plugs. However, be aware of the wildlife that frequents the area. Larger birds such as geese have been known to decimate smaller plants overnight. They don’t only eat the tops, but are able to pull these small plants out from the roots. Larger plants might therefore be a far better and more cost-effective option in the long run and will give more of a wow now. But this obviously depends on the area to be planted, number of plants required and budget.

A Guide To Planting Quantities

SizePond under 15 m2 Quantity per linear mPond over 15 m2 Quantity per linear mLarge ponds - per m2
Plugs20 Iris more,
16 Myosco less
1 ltr4-54-57
3 ltr335
5 ltr223
3 ltr lilies1 per 2m21 per 3m2
10 ltr lilies1 per 2-3m21 per 3-4m2
30 ltr lilies1 per 4m2
Floating plants2-3