How To: Water Garden
Water gardens are beautiful and easy to do projects that will
add tranquility to any home landscape. These gardens usually consist of
a body of water with aquatic plants, fountains, waterfalls, rock
displays and sometimes fish. These bodies of water can either be man
made containers, man made ponds or natural bodies of water such as
lakes and ponds.
These displays go back as far as the 16th century with the
hydraulic work of Hero of Alexandria, an ancient Greek mathematician
who created steam powered birds and used flowing water to enhance
public image. In 1550, Italy constructed a marvelous display of
sculptures spouting water on a hill named the Villa D'Este.
Supplies needed to make your own water garden:
- Prefabricated pool, body of water, liner.
- Pick, shovel, back hoe or excavation tool.
- A board long enough to cross the pool and a level to check
- Stones or Bricks to line the pool
- Water pump, filters and access to an outlet
- Sand, carpet padding or professional pool liner for base
- Assorted plants and aquatic life to decorate
- Water treatment supplies and fish care knowledge
- Fountain/waterfall if wanted
- Lights for illumination at night if necessary
Picking the perfect spot
Its all about location! You want to pick the best place for
your water garden so it can become a focal point of your landscape and
be enjoyed from many angles. Major factors to consider when choosing a
place to start digging are:
Sunlight Exposure - You want to
make sure that the plants and aquatic life you chose will be in a spot
that gets plenty of sun daily. If you want shade for your water garden
be sure to pick plants that will thrive with little sun light and its
best to choose a smaller pond for shadier places.
Accessibility to Electricity -
Fountains, lights and pumps will all need to be kept close to an
electrical source, messy wires and long extension cords will ruin the
beauty of a water garden so make sure they are hidden as much as
Drainage - Make sure the place
you chose to dig had firm foundation. If you place your pond in soggy,
sandy or wet soil , the shape of your pool may shift causing cracks in
the liner and other runoff problems.
Landscape Ordinances - Make sure
you check with your municipality first for restrictions or guidelines
they may have for special construction.
Depth and Size - Plants and fish
and algae will thrive better deeper climates, so it is recommended that
the depth be at least 18-24 inches deep or deeper in colder climates.
- Start by creating an outline of the pond shape you like
with rope and stake it at several locations. You can chose to outline
this with spray paint so it does not move during excavation. If you
have a prefabricated pool trace it on the ground with rope or paint as
- Dig your hole to the exact shape, adding two inches to your
final depth for a layer of sand. Clear the hole of all debris, add your
2 inches of sand and level the top edges. Place your carpet padding and
- Tuck the outward edge into all of the corners carefully so
it doesn't become torn. Anchor the corners with stones or bricks and
create a rock design or bury the outer edges to hold down the liner.
- Start to add water and once filled start to dechlorinate.
Trim away all excess liner leaving at least 6 inches around the edge.
Shape of Pond
Surface Area Equation Sq
depth x length x width x 7.5 =
length x width/9 =
diameter x diameter x depth x 5.9=
1/2 diameter squared x 3.14/9 =
width x length x depth x 5.9 =
3.14 x length x width/9=
There are four types of plants you can chose from for your
water garden. These are deep water plants, bog plants,
oxygenates and floating plants. The following resources
can help you decide which plants are right for you.
Excess algae can easily become a problem in many water
gardens, clouding the water and throwing off the ecological balance.
Take a look at the following resources for tips on how to control and
ward off excess algae.
Stocking your water garden with fish and other aquatic animals
can and serenity and enjoyment to your landscape. Many fish are well
adapted to pond life and need very little maintenance. The resources
below will help you decided which fish will be suitable for your water
Other Important Water Garden Resources