Koi Pond Design

koi pond design
Koi love to eat plants so plan foliage with this in mind

Koi fish are more expensive to buy than other pond fish and you can avoid disappointment for them and you, by building their new habitat properly.

5 koi facts

  1. Koi is from the carp family so they’re considered a rather large pond fish
  2. The size of your pond plays a large part in how big your koi will grow
  3. They do draw predators and their main threat is Heron, but neighborhood cats find them appealing, as do racoons
  4. They’re good eaters but 90% of what they eat ends up as expelled waste
  5. They enjoy their Koi food but they also love to eat pond plants

The best size and location for your koi pond

This depends on your circumstances. If you’re space is limited, the size and shape of the garden pond will have to conform to the space allotted. However, if you’ve several options because you have more backyard space, then you may want to think more about the size first.

  • Ideally make sure you can walk around it
  • There will be times when you’ll need to catch your Koi, and you will have to properly clean and maintain the pond. The pond size is important because you should be able to reach the center of your pond with your net from any direction. Most Koi nets will extend up to 14 feet.
  • When you have visitors enjoying your backyard you can almost bet they’ll head off to see the Koi pond. Give thought to making sure that you’ve enough space around the perimeter  to negotiate your way around it safely.


To provide the best living environment for your koi think about the sun (and shade) available.

  • While Koi need and enjoy a certain amount of sun each day, it should be no more than 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight.
  • This means your Koi pond has to receive some shade. Ideally it should come from a building or structure, or the next best thing which are trees.
  • Be aware though that there are disadvantages with shade trees as you’ll end up with more debris to clean out of the pond. You’ll get foliage and bark debris from the tree.


You’re going to need an easily accessible power source near your water feature. This is necessary to run the pumps and filtration system, and any of the other pond accessories you want for example water features or lights. You’ll want both the exterior and interior of this fish pond to look its best while being safe. You don’t want a bunch of electrical cords being run along the ground to supply the energy needed.


Now you’re ready to get down to the fun of deciding on the actual design of the pond. What appeals to you the most? Is it round, oval, square, oblong or something more unique? There are lots of choices with some being better than others. (And that’s not just the appearance.)

  • For practical reasons you should choose a shape that’s going to be ideal for prime water circulation.

Experts in Koi pond design will often tell you that the perfect oval is the best choice. However your space availability is the major factor in choosing the shape for your garden and what you can accommodate and will be visually pleasing.

The extras

So far all of the focus has been on what is the ideal Koi pond design for the fish, and what will make it easier for you to clean and maintain. You’ll need to give thought what you’ll be building it with. This will include your pond liner, and your filtration and circulation system. You may have a specific theme in mind for this new water garden feature and this can determine the shape and size of it. You can create your themes with accessories like plants, fountains, pond spitters and pond lights.

Remember Koi love to eat plants so keep this in mind when planning the foliage you want to surround the area.

Check out the video below for some inspiration. The Koi pond featured is stunning.