Using Rocks In Pond Design

How to choose the best rocks and stones for your pond

Decorative rocks are great for beautifying a garden pond and helping the pond to blend into the surrounding landscape.

Placing rocks around your pond also helps to hide the pond liner and encourages wildlife to visit your pond.

Installing pond rocks is a tiresome job, so it’s important to choose the right rocks and stones.

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rocks around a pond

Before purchasing your rocks, it’s a good idea to sketch out a design so you’ll have an idea of how many rocks you need.

When choosing your rocks, consider the color of your brickwork and paving to ensure that the colors blend in to the surroundings.

Do you want a natural looking pond with different shaped rocks or a formal looking pond with rocks of a similar shape and size?

large rocks around a pond

Do you prefer smooth rocks or jagged rocks? There are so many options to consider!

You also need to think about how the pond will look from the house.

Too many large rocks and boulders can block your view of the pond from indoors.

waterfall with pond rocks

Best rocks for ponds

There are many different types of pond rocks to choose from including:


Granite is commonly used as an edging stone around ponds and it can also be used as stepping stones to create an attractive pathway in the backyard.


Flagstone is another type of stone that can be used around the edge of a pond. It makes good paving stones as well.


Sandstone is one of the softest rocks and it absorbs water, so it’s not the best choice for wet areas like waterfalls.

In cold climates, sandstone can easily crack as the absorbed water freezes and thaws.


Slate is a durable stone that is a good choice for water features.

You can stack several flat pieces of slate to create a beautiful waterfall in your pond.


Limestone can crumble easily, so it’s not a good choice to use near a pond.

If small pieces of limestone enter the pond, it can make the water too alkaline, which is harmful for fish and other wildlife that visit the pond. [1]

Artificial rocks

Artificial rocks are another option for pond edging. You can make them yourself in your backyard or buy them pre-made.

Using artificial rocks means that you can create the exact shaped rocks that you want, while also saving on transport costs.

Installing pond rocks

Handling rocks is a laborious job with lots of heavy lifting and re-positioning the rocks to get the right look.

Wear thick garden gloves and use a garden cart to help move the rocks around if you haven’t got anyone to help you.

Flat rocks can be placed around the edge of the pond to create an overhanging shelf. This will provide shade for the fish and a place for them to hide from predators.

Rounded rocks with a smooth surface also look great placed around the edge of the pond and they’re ideal for lizards to sun themselves on.

rocks edging a large pond

You can also place a few large rocks in shallow areas of the pond for birds and small insects to land and take a drink.

Use gravel or small pebbles to fill the gaps between rocks or create a beach leading into a shallow area of the pond.

Pavers can be extended out to be used as a border around the pond and you can create a seating area to sit and enjoy the pond.

pavers around pond

You can place a few large rocks or boulders on one side of the pond and plant marginal or bog plants on the other side.

Once you’re happy with the position of your rocks, you can cement any large boulders and rocks into place to keep them sturdy.

So there are my tips for using rocks and stones in your pond design.

Pond rocks not only give your pond a natural look, they’re also beneficial for visiting wildlife.

edging a pond with large rocks


What type of rocks do you use for your pond? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Backyard Ponds and Water Gardens that you may find helpful.

rocks around a backyard pond
rocks for pond edging

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener with a special interest in ponds and water gardens. For over a decade, I've been designing and creating beautiful gardens that feature stunning water features, from small garden ponds to large water gardens. Read more