How to Design the Perfect Koi Pond

Welcome to River Rock Water Gardens, your go-to koi pond contractor in Northwest Arkansas, proudly serving Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale, and beyond. As Certified Aquascape Contractors, we are passionate about creating stunning water features and transforming outdoor spaces into tranquil havens. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of koi pond design, exploring the essential elements, considerations, and techniques that will help you achieve the perfect koi pond. So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to designing a breathtaking aquatic paradise.

1. Understanding the Aquascape Method:

At River Rock Water Gardens, we are firm believers in the Aquascape method of designing and building koi ponds. This innovative approach emphasizes creating a balanced ecosystem that mimics nature, ensuring the health and happiness of both your koi fish and the overall environment. We will quickly walk you through the key principles of the Aquascape method koi pond design, including biological and mechanical filtration, rocks and gravel, plants and fish, to help you achieve optimal water quality and ecosystem stability.


  • Biological Filtration: Utilizes beneficial bacteria to break down organic waste and maintain water quality.
  • Mechanical Filtration: Removes debris and particulate matter from the water, promoting clarity and reducing maintenance.
  • Rocks and Gravel: Mimic natural riverbeds, provide hiding places for fish, and aid in biological filtration.
  • Plants: Aquatic plants absorb excess nutrients, provide oxygen, and enhance the overall aesthetics of the pond.
  • Fish: Koi and other fish species add vibrancy to the pond, contribute to the ecosystem, and create a captivating focal point.
To create a truly captivating koi pond, certain elements must be considered. We will discuss the importance of filtration systems, waterfalls, rocks and gravel, aquatic plants, and suitable lighting options. Our goal is to help you strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and functionality while providing a healthy and comfortable environment for your koi fish to thrive.

2. Location, Location, Location:

Choosing the right location for your koi pond design is paramount. Factors such as sunlight exposure, proximity to trees, and the existing landscape should be carefully considered. We will guide you through the process of selecting an ideal spot, ensuring the longevity and beauty of your pond. As Northwest Arkansas pond contractors, we understand the unique characteristics of the local environment, and our expertise will help you make informed decisions.


  • Sunlight Exposure: Choose a spot that receives the appropriate amount of sunlight for your koi pond and any accompanying aquatic plants.
  • Proximity to Trees: Avoid placing the pond too close to trees to minimize falling leaves and debris that can affect water quality.
  • Landscape Integration: Consider how the pond will fit into the overall landscape design and ensure it complements the surrounding elements.
  • Accessibility: Select a location that allows for easy access for maintenance and enjoyment, while considering factors like proximity to utilities for electrical connections if needed.
  • Ground Stability: Ensure that the chosen spot has stable ground and is not prone to excessive water runoff or flooding that could impact the pond’s stability.
  • Views and Privacy: Take into account the desired views from both inside and outside your property, as well as privacy considerations, when determining the pond’s placement.
  • Safety: Keep safety in mind by avoiding areas with steep slopes or locations near high-traffic areas or play areas for children.
  • Local Climate: Consider the local climate and how it may impact the pond, such as extreme temperature fluctuations, strong winds, or potential exposure to harsh weather conditions.
  • Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with any local regulations or permits required for pond construction, such as setbacks from property lines or guidelines for pond depth and fencing requirements if applicable.
  • Consultation: When in doubt, consult with a professional pond contractor like River Rock Water Gardens to evaluate your property and provide expert advice on the best location for your koi pond.
We often even don’t provide koi pond design drawings to our clients. The best way to visualize the koi pond that we have found is with a garden hose or landscape spray paint. 
koi pond with koi fish swimming and waterfall by river rock water gardens, koi pond builder, NWA, expert koi pond design

3. Size and Shape:

The size and shape of your koi pond design play a crucial role in its overall aesthetics and functionality. In our experience, people generally wish their pond was bigger after being built. However we realize cost is a deciding factor when installing a koi pond. With our experience in water feature construction, we will help you strike the perfect balance between visual appeal, space availability, and the needs of your koi fish. If you are installing a koi pond yourself, be sure to start small. Trying to take on a professional size koi pond design often results in frustration, inadequate building, and a big headache for you. 

Other Factors:

Pond Construction:

From excavation to water feature installation, constructing a koi pond requires careful planning and execution. As pond contractors in Northwest Arkansas, we have mastered the art of pond construction, employing industry-leading techniques and materials. We will guide you through each step of the process, ensuring that your koi pond design is built to last, with proper structural integrity and efficient water circulation. Keeping these factors in mind during the koi pond design phase will ensure a properly functioning koi pond. 

  • Excavation: Begin by excavating the designated area according to the dimensions and shape outlined in the koi pond design plan.
  • Pond Foundation: Ensure a solid foundation by leveling the excavated area and compacting the soil.
  • Underlayment and Liner Installation: Lay down a protective underlayment and durable pond liner to prevent leaks and ensure long-term durability.
  • Filtration and Plumbing: Install the necessary filtration system, including biological and mechanical filters, as well as plumbing connections for water circulation and aeration.
  • Rock and Gravel Placement: Arrange rocks and gravel around the perimeter and within the pond, creating a naturalistic environment while providing beneficial surface area for bacteria colonization.
  • Water Feature Construction: If desired, incorporate waterfalls, streams, or other water features into the pond design to enhance visual appeal and aeration.
  • Plant and Aquatic Life Integration: Introduce aquatic plants, such as water lilies and marginal plants, as well as koi fish or other desired aquatic species, into the pond to establish a balanced ecosystem.
  • Pond Edging and Surroundings: Finish the project by adding edging materials, such as stones or decorative borders, to create a seamless transition between the pond and the surrounding landscape.
  • Start-up and Maintenance: Fill the pond with water, start the filtration system, and closely monitor water quality parameters. Establish a routine maintenance plan, including regular cleaning, water testing, and plant/fish care, to ensure the health and longevity of the koi pond design.
Maintenance and Care:

Designing a koi pond is just the beginning. Proper maintenance and care are essential for the long-term health and beauty of your aquatic oasis. We will provide you with valuable tips and insights into pond cleaning, water quality management, fish care, and seasonal adjustments. Our expert advice will ensure that your koi pond remains a source of joy and tranquility throughout the year.

  • Filtration Maintenance: Clean and maintain your filtration system according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, including backwashing or replacing filter media as needed.
  • Skimming and Debris Removal: Use a skimmer net or pond vacuum to remove leaves, debris, and excess organic matter from the surface and bottom of the pond.
  • Water Changes: Perform periodic partial water changes to help maintain water quality and dilute any accumulated pollutants or excess nutrients.
  • Algae Control: Control excessive algae growth by balancing sunlight exposure, minimizing nutrient levels, and considering the use of algae-control products or beneficial aquatic plants.
  • Plant Care: Prune and thin out aquatic plants as needed to maintain their growth and prevent overcrowding, ensuring proper oxygenation and water circulation.
  • Fish Health Monitoring: Regularly observe your koi for any signs of illness, abnormal behavior, or physical injuries. 
  • Feeding Regimen: Feed your koi a high-quality, nutritionally balanced diet suitable for their specific needs and adjust feeding amounts based on water temperature and fish activity.
  • Winterization: Prepare your koi pond for winter by removing debris, installing a pond heater or de-icer to prevent freezing, and reducing feedings as the water temperature drops.
  • Professional Maintenance: Consider scheduling periodic professional pond maintenance visits from experts like River Rock Water Gardens to ensure comprehensive care and address any specific needs or challenges.
koi pond with white water lily growing and flowering with koi fish by koi pond builder River Rock Water Gardens, Bentonville, Ar, expert koi pond design

The perfect koi pond design requires a blend of creativity, technical expertise, and a deep understanding of aquatic ecosystems. At River Rock Water Gardens, we take pride in being your trusted pond contractors in Northwest Arkansas. Whether you are in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale, or any other surrounding area, our Certified Aquascape Contractors are here to bring your koi pond dreams to life. So, let us guide you on this enchanting journey, as we create a breathtaking aquatic sanctuary in your own backyard. Contact us today and embark on a transformation that will mesmerize both you and your guests.

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