Choosing the Perfect Stones for an Outdoor Pond

Last Updated: 28th Feb 2024

Creating a pond is a rewarding project that introduces beautiful wildlife to your backyard. However knowing which stones to use for maximum beauty, ecology, and durability can be confusing. 

As a premier retailer of decorative stones for gardens and ponds, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on selecting the best materials for a healthy, visually stunning water feature. Read on for tips from our experts on pairing stones with your pond’s style and needs.

Aesthetic Factors

The color, texture, shape and size of stones all contribute to the overall look of your pond. Consider complementing other features in your landscape. Neutral earth tones like tans, browns and grays blend in naturally while vivid mosaic stones make a bold accent. Smooth pebbles have a refined appearance compared to the rustic look of bumpy, uneven stones. 

Larger stones can anchor corners or line the perimeter to make a statement. Using smaller pebbles along the bottom and edges softens the look. Aim for a pleasing visual balance and mix stones in patterns for added interest.

For a clean, classic look, consider using white stones for garden accents and edges. The neutral white will let the water and plant colors pop. For a more understated look, consider using grey stones for gardens that blend in with natural stone colors. Greys provide a subtle accent that won’t clash.

garden pond

Durability Concerns

Some stones stand up to the elements and impact better than others. Granite is one of the hardest stones, resisting weathering for up to 100 years. Sedimentary rocks like limestone and sandstone deteriorate more rapidly. 

Thicker stones with few cracks or crevices help prevent breaking. A stone’s origin also affects durability. Quarried and cut stones tend to be more durable than river rocks smoothed by water over time.

Ecological Factors

Consider the chemical properties of stones to avoid unintended consequences. Limestone raises pH, which can limit plants. Sandstone contains iron that can leach into water, altering conditions. Porous rocks provide better microhabitat for beneficial bacteria and microorganisms.

Recycled ecoaggregates made from waste materials have minimal ecological impact compared to quarried stones.

With some careful planning, you can select pond stones that are visually striking, ecologically sound, and built to last. Paying attention to the aesthetic appeal, durability, and environmental properties will lead to a healthy habitat and stunning focal point for your backyard.

outdoor pond

There are a few key areas in a pond design where different types of stones may be utilized:


The pond liner contains the water. Large, flat stones can be used to line the bottom and sides of the pond, creating a sturdy barrier. Smooth stone slabs, flagstone, or riprap rocks work well.


Decorative aggregates help blend the pond edge into the surrounding landscape. Cobblestones, pebbles, or rounded rocks camouflage the liner and give a natural look. Larger rocks can be used to create a rock wall perimeter.


Smaller gravel, pea pebbles or crushed stone create a pond bottom substrate. This should be at least 2 inches thick to protect the liner and provide habitat for microorganisms. 

Bog Area

In a shallow bog zone for marginal plants, porous lava rock or river rock supports vegetation. The spaces between provide oxygenation.


Tumbled stones ranging from small to large make an attractive waterfall façade or line an inflowing stream. A mix of colors and shapes provides visual interest.


Standing stones, boulders and rock clusters create small islands within the pond for plants or wildlife perches.

Placing appropriate stones in each area contributes to a healthy, aesthetically pleasing pond design that mimics nature. Consider function, stability, shape and size when selecting stones for the different zones.

rocks around pond

Installation Best Practices

After collecting stones for your pond, proper installation techniques ensure they stay securely in place. Here are some best practices when placing stones:

– Level and tamp down soil along perimeter before lining with stones

– Stagger and overlap stones, leaving no gaps between

– Bury edges at least 8 inches deep to prevent shifting

– Use larger anchor stones at corners for stability  

– Fill gaps between stones with packed gravel

– Arrange most colorful and desirable stones along edges and front

– Set some stones at angles for a natural look

– Add water slowly to avoid displacing unsettled stones

Take care to position and secure stones for maximum longevity. With some thoughtful prepwork, they will maintain their beauty and function for many years in your pond habitat.

Make your dream pond a reality with Garden Hub’s stunning selection of pond-perfect stones.

Choosing the right stones to complement your pond and thrive in your climate is key to creating a stunning yet natural space. With Garden Hub’s vast selection of stone styles, colors, shapes and textures, you’re sure to find the perfect materials to bring your vision to life.

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