Last week I talked about pond-less water features, one of the many options available out there. There are dozens of possible looks available, so if this option appeals to you, look around and find something that fits your needs. If you prefer to have a pond and/or stream in your yard, there are a number of considerations.

First is size—how big do you want the pond to be? Most experts agree that people generally wish they could have made their ponds slightly larger than they turned out, so consider making it a bit larger than you had originally planned.

Are you planning on growing plants and fish, do you want to attract frogs? The general rule if you want to grow plants is that you need to put it in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. My pond is against to the north side of the house, which barely squeaks by with the six-hour requirement during the summer. The plants do all right, but they would thrive somewhere a bit more sunny.

I also have three goldfish in the pond—I can’t seem to keep more than that alive in the space, so I think I’m going to give up putting more in yet again. Fish need places to hide, so some kind of plant cover is necessary for them to keep away from predators.

Hand in hand with the issue of sunlight is the problem that leaves and falling debris from a tree can cause. Leaves and seeds will need to be cleaned out of the pond periodically so they don’t disintegrate and cause problems in your water, so you will want to consider how much time you want to put into maintaining the pond.

My pond is nowhere around any trees, but I still get dirt and debris blowing into it when a good storm comes through. You can see here that I haven’t quite finished off the landscaping around the pond–I plant to add a flagstone patio on the far side, hopefully next year. We’ll have to see how soon I can put it in.

If you want to draw frogs (and most places this can be done, even if you live a good ways from a body of water), you need to have one side of the pond slope gently so they can get in and out easily. If you want to draw birds, consider putting a feeder in that area. I didn’t have to worry about drawing birds—my geese and ducks had to be fenced out of the pond because they thought it was the coolest place ever even though it’s tiny.

They have a 300 gallon cattle trough that I fill specifically for them to swim in, but they seem more interested in my fish pond. They’re rather attracted to the plants I’m growing in there too. It’s a good idea to place the pond somewhere that you can see a lot of it. Near a seating area, in part of the view from your family room or kitchen, or near the edge of your patio are some ideas.

Ponds take some time to maintain even after you have them up and running, so putting them somewhere that you can enjoy them a lot, and will notice when they need cleaning out is an advantage.