A formal pool in the garden usually means a strictly geometric shaped pool, water container or channel. Sharply defined detail of edging and even steps which might run through such elements is imperative in formal ponds. Edgings should normally overhang the water by at least 50mm so that any variance in the water’s height due to evaporation is hidden in the shadow of the overhang. Also without an overhang the green line which stains the rim of the pond can be easily seen.

Stepping stones are a great feature to include and should look as though they appear to float on the surface of the water. Formal pools are often constructed in waterproofed and reinforced concrete or with concrete blocks or even bricks which are then rendered with a proper waterproof facing.

The first method is the stronger but another alternative is to use a fibreglass pre-formed pond as these are available in many shapes and sizes, but these do not have an outlet or overflow facilities. However the convenience of these ponds make them a highly popular choice for the amateur pond builder.

A formal pool should be still and reflective with its surface broken only by the occasional waterside iris or clump of rushes; another option is to install a fountain. It is best however to avoid a large fountain in a small pool as it can be overpowering and you might also want to bear in mind that the height of the water jet should not be more than the distance from the source of the jet to the edge of the pool.

Formal pools can be most attractive when constructed above ground as a raised pond. There is a great appeal associated with sitting on the edge of a raised pool dabbling your fingers in the clear water on a summer’s day.