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Contemporary Koi Ponds

People with a passion for nature can invest in Houston landscaping plans that center around gardens consisting of indigenous plant life and water features such as bird ponds that attract native Texas and migratory birds to their yards. Birds seek out bodies of water for the same reasons humans seek them out. They use ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes as sources of food, water for drinking, bathing, and recreational play. The best way to attract birds to your back yard is to have your Houston landscaping specialist design a pond that emulates a natural lake in a number of ways. This is because birds of different sizes require different types of structure, varying degrees of water, and sources of food.

Creating a pond that pleases the eye and also caters to the interests of birds requires careful consideration of a number of details that go far beyond the installation of a simple body of water in the back of one’s yard. The ideal bird pond will vary in depth, topography, embankments, vegetation, and surrounding landscape elements. This will allow birds of different sizes to make comfortable use of the water. Smaller birds, like the English Weaver Finch, colloquially known as Sparrows, prefer to hop around in very shallow pools of water that barely cover their feet. These little birds require the equivalent of wading pools that form in rocks that touch the water’s edge.

It is not so much the style of landscaping that defines the shape and size of the pond, but the architecture of the home and surrounding outdoor buildings. The shapes, lines, and angles of contemporary koi ponds reflect compliment the styles of many different types of homes. This is why we have built them all over the Houston area in neighborhoods like Oaks, Rice Village, Memorial, and Bellaire near homes that feature all sorts of architectural themes, but have one thing in common.

A contemporary koi pond is very different from a traditional one. In traditional design, we follow a more freeform movement that mimics natural ponds and lakes. Typically, such ponds are constructed near trees or gardens in order to add a park-like or even wilderness theme to the landscape design. This is not so with contemporary koi ponds. As with any contemporary style, organic presence is minimized and abstract conceptualization is elevated through preeminent geometry. Rectangles, squares, triangles, and radiuses are the shapes that our landscape architects prefer to work with.

The minimal presence of vegetation does not mean that the contemporary koi pond lacks all feeling of life. The truth is something else here. Life is not absent; it is simply expressed in a more subtle manner within the stark boundaries of the geometric form. Rather than creating an abundance of organic life, we go back to the basic element of organic life by placing special emphasis on the relationship between the water within the pond and the design of the structure that contains it.


The soft fluidity of clear essence conjoined with the rugged absolutes of structure lends a calming, comforting aesthetic to the abstract sense of mind. Rather than planting trees and shrubs lining along its banks, we ornament its edges with copings made from high grade materials. Instead of planting colorful flowers that hang over the edge of the water, we let the fish bring the color to the surface. This adds even more dimension to the pond, and sometimes even brings gifts of attention. Koi have been known to let people feed them by hand.

Some contemporary koi ponds are built like swimming pools as unique, individual elements of landscape design. When we construct them in this fashion, we can build a walkway across the water that will allow guests to walk across its surface and feed the fish. In other landscape master plans, we may design the pond as an element within a modern garden. We often blend the two forms by building a radius into the coping that actually pushes the water into the vegetation. This works particularly well with modern tropical gardens, where exotic plants appear more vibrant in the presence of water, and hardscape design is magnified and blended into semi-organic space.

Still other clients of Exterior Worlds love water and fish so much that they want their contemporary koi ponds to be the center of attention and activity. For these individuals, we can design the pool as a quadrilateral element with a radius arc on one side. This minor aspect of freeform designed introduced into linearity and angularity adds a softening touch to the hardscape design and custom patio work. It helps make contemporary form more inviting, relaxed, and amenable to special occasions. A fountain or waterfall can then be added at the opposite end that will even further magnify calming presence of water and mind, and lighting can be placed under the water to extend the sense of living presence into open space, beyond the rigidity and perceived absolutes of form.