Large Ponds - Lakes & Dams

Escape....in your own private Oasis

A large pond is an investment in the creation of an oasis or paradise in your own garden.

A place to relax and recoup. To escape from the pressures of the world that surrounds you.

Consider the cost of your last holiday. What did you get from it?

The opportunity to unwind and relax.

Invite this experience into your own backyard.

The 3 most important decisions, before building large ponds....

Before building large ponds you need to decide on the style, location and size.

Pond style...Life style

This decision should be based on your life style and how your water garden will complement it. As well as your dreams or vision of the landscape that surrounds you.

Location, location....

Location will often be dictated by the buildings and other structures in the landscape. It is also far easier to work with the natural fall in the land than to work against it. Use what you have available and then plan the water garden so that it complements your style.

What is the best size?

Most people start out small. As they gain the experience and joy of choosing new plants, or adding new fish to their hobby, it seems that it is never enough. They end up replacing their original pond with one or more large ponds.

As a rule of thumb, a 3 x 4m pond is a good starter size to create a balanced ecosystem. Lay out a length of garden hose on the ground and try out various shapes and sizes, so that you can visualise your pond more easily.

When planning a pond to complement your landscape, you should consider building the biggest water feature that will fit your landscape and your budget.

Extending or adding to a pond in the future is a real challenge.

What are the benefits of large ponds?

  • More appealing to look at. The scale of any design affects the WOW factor.
  • A more stable temperature. The larger the volume of water, the longer that it takes to heat up and cool down. All aquatic life vary in their ability to tolerate the changes. Sudden changes in temperatures can even kill.
  • Improved water quality. In large ponds, the volume of water is better able to buffer any changes to the water chemistry.
  • Balanced ecosystem. A greater amount of life can be sustained in large ponds. There is also the opportunity for greater biodiversity and this in turn helps to support the environment both within and outside the pond.
  • Low maintenance. Relative to their size, large ponds take less work to maintain than smaller ones. That is to say, that if you doubled the size of your pond, you would not double your work load to maintain them. Large ponds tend to be more self-sustaining because they are less susceptible to minor changes in their environment.
  • Greater tolerance to water loss. Large ponds do not heat up as quickly and so evapouration is reduced. The other advantages are that if the water levels did drop a few centimetres, then it is not only less noticeable, but also has less impact on the pond life. A smaller pond may become significantly reduced in size, plants may become exposed and the fish may become concentrated in a smaller pond volume. This could lead to poor water quality and unhealthy pond conditions.

I want to build my own pond, but large ponds seem too hard....

Most people can build a small pond with relative ease. The trick building large ponds is to pay someone else to do the hard work. Many landscape contractors are willing to do the digging for you and then (if you wish) allow you to finish off. A mini excavator is the solution to the back breaking hand shovelling in many pond constructions. The time that is saved, can easily make up for the cost.

Once the overall shape has been established. The more satisfying tasks like sculpting the plant ledges, finishing off the pond edges and levelling out the pond base can be tackled by shovel. So you won’t miss out.

Large ponds can replace rain water tanks.

Large ponds can also serve as water storages for the rest of the garden. Why try to store water in ugly water tanks when you could store it in a beautifully landscaped pond? In urban landscapes, the rain water can be collected from the roof and diverted into lovely rain gardens that can filter the water and then flow into large ponds. These water storages can help support the other plants in your garden and can also serve as your own backup water supply in case of fire.

Farm dams benefit from water plants

Dams can be landscaped, while still maintaining their intended purpose, to store water. They can become habitats for wildlife, a haven for fish stocks or even be used to produce food crops.

Plants play an important role in improving the health in the dam, through filtration, improving clarity and reducing algae. Water loss through evapouration can be reduced through introducing plants to shade the water, reducing the water temperature, and by slowing the air flow/wind over the surface.

Fencing off farm dams to prevent stock access can actually help to improve the precious water resource. The stock benefit from the pristine waters being pumped away, through pipes to clean drinking troughs, away from where they could pollute the waters.

A dam is no different to any other pond or wetland. If you upset the ecological balance, you affect the lives of all that relies upon it.


  1. To choose your own selection of plants refer our Zone Map page
  2. For plant selection lists suitable for habitats, refer to our Australian Native Plants page
  3. For information on the plant care and maintenance of aquatic plants, go to our Tips & Hints page.

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Baumea articulata

Baloskion tetraphyllum

Baumea rubiginosa

Eleocharis acuta

Iris ensata Assorted

Iris laevigata Albopurpurea

Iris laevigata Royal Cartwheel

Iris laevigata Snowdrift

Iris hexagona Assorted

Eleocharis sphacelata

Leperonia articulata

Myriophyllum crispatum

Myriophyllum papillosum

Myriophyllum varifolium

Nelumbo nucifera

Nymphaea Assorted

Nymphaea Darwin (syn Hollandia)

Pontederia cordata

Pontederia cordata Alba

Ranunculus inundatus

Ranunculus lingua

Rotala rotundifolia

Saururus cernuus

Schoenoplectus lacustris Albescens

Schoenoplectus lacustris Zebrinus

Selliera radicans

Thalia dealbata

Thalia geniculata

Cycnogeton procerum (syn Triglochin)

Triglochin striata

Typha latifolia

Villarsia reniformis