I'll try and keep this quick and as simple as possible. I'm building a fairly good sized pond in the backyard (15x12). I need to start thinking of ideas [and taking suggestions] on how I want to do the landscaping of the flora. I want to get some shade on the water and some color in the planting beds. What would you guys suggest? I'm open to any and all suggestions. Here are some details of the site as well as what I ultimately am looking for. - The yard runs in an E/NE by W/SW direction, so it gets plenty of sun. I would call it more of a full-sun than a partial-sun. - Being that it's a brand new house, there is absolutely nothing planted in the yard, aside from the lawn. - The yard runs enough North and South that the pond site sees shade for a couple of hours in the morning and evening. - The yard is pretty small; 36' from patio to back fence. It does run a long length though. I haven't measured it, but it's a good distance. - I'm in the Dallas area; Zone 7b or 8a. Soil is 100% black clay with a small layer of light topsoil used by the builder (i.e. it's crap). The pond site is near the drainage plan, so soil saturation is typically moist to wet. The wife and I would love to put in a tree or two. Definitely one further away from the pond site. I personally don't want anything too close to the pond (roots through the pond liner would not be fun). I don't want a tree that is going to get large in a relatively short time period (HOA has some pretty stupid rules when it comes to tree sizes), but I would like something with a nice broad leaf and good color to it. I haven't researched typical tree growth rates, but I would guess I wouldn't want anything much faster than 1' a season. The main function (after a few years) is to shade the pond area during the day. After all the research I have done, I may be asking for too much tree in too little of a package. As for the planting beds, we want something that is going to give a lot of ground cover with color. We both tend to lean towards cooler colors, but I have times where I like warmer oranges and reds. I'm not too experienced with ground cover and flowers, so I don't even know if there is such a plant that can provide this. Lastly, we would be interested is a taller ground cover or a shorter shrub/bush to put in the area. Just as long as it is fairly broad and leafy and no so dense and crisp. We're not fond of the hedgerow type of thing (we have a holly hedge all along the side of the house. Yuck). The more leafy/soft, the better. Any suggestions? I've got a landscaping tool for the PC that I'm working with and I've got all my beds sized out, etc. I just need to make up my mind on what to put in them.