Natural stone is one of the most versatile and beautiful elements you can add to your landscape. In addition to being low maintenance, it’s incredibly durable and can be both functional – preventing soil erosion, providing strong, non-slip surfaces for walking – and aesthetic – adding panache to gardens, and even *becoming* the garden! From large boulders to tiny gravel, you’re only limited by imagination.
We’ve shown you how stone can be used effectively and gorgeously in your landscape and we’ve given you plenty of reasons why it’s a good choice. Today we’re going to share ways to use it in your pond. While lilies and koi may get all the credit, a pond would not be nearly as beautiful and would likely even collapse into itself without stone.
Here’s how this unsung hero of ponds can be used to strengthen and beautify. You may never look at stone the same way again!
Stone Creates The Foundation
A properly built pond is more than just a water-filled hole in your yard! Before a single drop of water is poured or a Cardinal flower planted, the pond must be properly excavated. Part of that includes ledges along the perimeter so that the pond slopes gracefully to its deepest point rather than dropping off steeply in any one place.
Ledges provide a safety component, in the event that someone steps (purposefully or accidentally!) off the edge. They provide structural integrity, making a pond more stable and far less likely to collapse. And of course they improve aesthetics, giving plants a place to grow, and fish spaces to hide and play.
In a healthy, well-balanced ecosystem pond the water will be clear enough for you to see right down to the floor, which means aesthetics is just as important as function.
If you can’t guess by now where stone fits in, it’s what creates the foundation of your pond – for both strength and beauty.
Boulders, including Pennsylvania Field Stone, can be used to define ledges and the pond perimeter. Vertical walls will also be lined with larger stones or boulders for stability. Gravel can be used along ledge surfaces for soil stability and to anchor plants.
Gravel or river rock can also be placed at the bottom not only because it looks great, but it can help to anchor the pond liner. Perhaps more importantly, it provides surface area for colonization of beneficial bacteria, as well as a habitat for smaller pond life.
Different sizes and even types of stone can be interspersed depending on the size, shape and style of your pond. Smaller rocks and stones can be used to fill gaps between larger ones. Flagstone may be used to create walking surfaces along edges, where Fieldstone can provide strength and structure.
By now you can see not only why stone is prized for its beauty, but how a pond simply wouldn’t function without it.
Stone Keeps Your Pond Clean
While it technically may not clean the water or vacuum up sludge, your pond would be much worse off without it. Remember that we mentioned how stone and gravel provide a place for beneficial bacteria to colonize? Well, without the stone you’d have a hard time cultivating that bacteria, and without bacteria you’d have a hard time keeping your pond clean and balanced.
Beneficial bacteria consume excess nutrients and break down organic debris. Basically, they “eat” the leftover fish food, fish waste, grass clippings, dead leaves and other organic material that falls to the bottom of your pond. Otherwise your pond really would accumulate sludge at the bottom, and that doesn’t look pretty or make for a very healthy environment.
Without the bacteria – and the stone it thrives on – you’d have a heck of a lot more maintenance to do, and not nearly as healthy, or lovely, a pond.
Stone Is An Essential Component Of A Waterfall
When you picture a waterfall, you picture the water cascading from some higher plane into your pond. But that waterfall has to cascade *over* something. Otherwise it’s more like a water *faucet* than a water*fall*!
The truth is, a waterfall isn’t really a waterfall without stone – not in nature, and not in your back yard, either. Larger stones typically frame a waterfall, with flat stones in between that define the water’s path. Small stones and gravel fill in gaps.
Delaware River Rock is a favorite in ponds and waterfalls. These are the traditional stones you might picture when you think of a woodland waterfall or imagine your new back yard water feature. They tend to be rounded and smoothed from years in a water current, with varying sizes and shapes that give them a unique visual appeal.
Their smooth finish creates a lovely aesthetic as water flows over, around and between them, and actually makes the perfect acoustic surface for creating the soothing, splashing sound that makes waterfalls so desirable.
They look great in a stream bed, if you have water flowing through your yard. They can even be used in bubbling fountains and container water gardens as a complement to your pond. Larger ones can be used decoratively around your waterfall and pond’s edge, and smaller pebbles can be used in place of gravel.
With strategically placed and stacked stone, you can create a small waterfall, or one that is multi-tiered. You can use it to create sitting and standing areas from which you can enjoy your waterfall from any angle or height. Use it along edges as décor and to contain the flow of water. Include it at the top to “cap” your waterfall and to hide equipment like pumps and hoses. And of course, use stones as anchor points along the edges for plants to grow amidst and butterflies to alight.
As you can see, natural stone is essentially what supports the structure, current, beauty and health of your waterfall.
From stepping stones and pathways around your pond, to decorative touches at the edges, natural stone can be used in myriad ways to enhance your pond. There’s hardly a better match than ponds and stone, so if you’re thinking about adding one to your yard, let us know and we’ll help you plan one that will be a true gem.
We’ll design the perfect pond for your space, recommend the right kinds of stone, and show you just how incredible pond ownership can be!