These Koi Pond Ideas Inspire Instant Relaxation

pond with koi carp with traditional wooden pergola seating area, situated at luxury resort
15 Koi Pond Ideas to Inspire Your Outdoor OasisMartin Puddy - Getty Images

Koi ponds are a fixture of most botanical gardens, adding a tranquil touch to the surrounding landscape. Watching the fish swim is so relaxing, it might inspire you to install a koi pond in your own backyard. If you’re looking to improve your mental health through your home’s design, you’ll be happy to know that according to recent research, waterscapes, which include koi ponds, can promote mental wellness. Plus, they're also a way to introduce biodiversity to your backyard. You can make your koi pond dreams a reality either with DIY ingenuity or by hiring a professional landscape designer—just be sure to educate yourself on how to care for koi fish and purchase them through a reputable source.

Although koi originated in China and Japan many centuries ago, they arrived in the United States in the 1910s and have remained popular ever since. Backyards with these ponds traditionally display features like stone edging, water lilies, and architectural details that allow them to blend into surrounding structures. These 15 koi pond ideas demonstrate that this water feature will enhance the natural beauty of your area, no matter where you live.

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Make It Part of Your Garden

A koi pond feels particularly natural and organic when you integrate it into your existing garden. Flank the koi pond with bushes and grasses, and punctuate the area with colorful flowers, as seen through this romantic koi pond idea.

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a pumped stream, edged in astilbes, hostas, ferns and primulas, tumbles down into a lily pond
Nicola Stocken

Choose Black Stone

For a decidedly cool look, consider surrounding your koi pond with black stone. Polished into modern shapes, dark stones like granite, slate, and black limestone will achieve a moody feel.

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japanese variegated carps swimming in garden pond
Lawren - Getty Images

Build an Accompanying Deck

Part of the charm of having a koi pond in your backyard is to enjoy a serene moment, or an entire afternoon, gazing peacefully at the fish. Building a deck that overlooks your koi pond will encourage you to spend more time in your happy place. Complete the atmosphere with cozy patio furniture and eye-pleasing plants.

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outdoor lounging area with koi pond
mtreasure - Getty Images

Create a Waterfall

One of the nice things about a koi pond is that if you dream big, it doesn’t have to be just a koi pond—it can also be an opportunity to add a head-turning water feature. This koi pond idea features a rushing waterfall that offers visual appeal and makes soothing sounds in the background.

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landscape waterfall
TimAbramowitz - Getty Images

Use a Fountain

If you don’t have a lot of room for a koi pond in your backyard, or if you’d prefer not to dig into the ground, you can transform an old fountain into a mini koi pond. You can find beautiful stone fountains at garden shops, antique stores, or even on Facebook Marketplace.

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fountain with golden fishes in parque terra nostra, furnas, sao miguel, azores
Photo by Alex Tihonov - Getty Images

Make It Part of the Architecture

If you’re designing a home from scratch or searching for a creative way to fill a space that’s nestled within the design, take a cue from this koi pond idea. Even with very little extra space to spare, you can build a koi pond into your existing architecture.

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water feature with koi carp and papyrus in patio of contemporary house
Andy Sotiriou - Getty Images

Opt for a Modern Look

Although it’s especially pretty when a koi pond is surrounded by wild, lush greenery, we also adore it when it’s placed right alongside a modern home. For example, this home by Blueberry Jones Design showcases current-day inspiration for a koi pond with an infinity-style pool emptying into the accompanying stone feature.

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a white house with a fountain in front of it
Avery Nicole

Plant Bamboo

To add lush greenery to your koi pond, try planting bamboo along the perimeter. It'll add a distinctive, natural ambiance, and there are other added benefits: the trees provide shade to regulate the water temperature and the roots act as a natural filtration system.

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garden pond
ViewStock - Getty Images

Raise the Pond

Maybe you’re not keen on the idea of digging a hole in your yard for a koi pond. In this case, opt to create a raised koi pond instead, like this one rendered in stone. You can sit right on the edge and watch the fish for hours.

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landscaped garden with koi pond
Mint Images - Getty Images

Install a Bridge

A koi pond doesn’t need to be very large for you to build a bridge that stretches over it. It serves a practical purpose since it will allow you to get from one side of your yard to the other, but it also lends visual interest.

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best, netherlands
Wicher Bos - Getty Images

Embrace Natural Elements

Your koi pond may be manmade, but you can blend it into the natural scenery by surrounding it with plants, stones, and flowers—particularly those that are used elsewhere on your property!

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garden scene
fotolinchen - Getty Images

Create a Relaxing Retreat

A koi pond is the idea place to meditate or enjoy an afternoon catnap. If you have the space, add a cabana to your koi pond area, outfit it with a luxurious cushion and pillows, and you’ll be feeling chill in no time.

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pond with koi carp with traditional wooden pergola seating area, situated at luxury resort
Martin Puddy - Getty Images

Add a Small Fountain

You don’t need to break the bank to make your koi pond even better. For aesthetic value, and to help aerate the water, add a small, inexpensive fountain to your pond.

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aquatic garden
Bouillante - Getty Images

Go Green

If you prefer your outdoor space to be as minimalist and low-maintenance as possible, choose shrubs and bushes to border your koi pond. There’s something so soothing about this look, and it’s ideal if your backyard is mostly shaded.

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japanese garden
Simon McGill - Getty Images

Include a Statue

A koi pond will look even more stately (and match your outdoor decor) with the help of a well-chosen statue. Place it directly in the water and watch the fish swim around it, something that designer Arne Jensen embraced in this garden.

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statue in koi pond
Lara Kimmerer

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