Water is the essence of life.
Fountains, waterfalls, ponds, and streams – water entices us with its rippling reflections and musical voice. Design your water garden with people, wildlife, and plant life in mind. Although we humans are drawn to the water, adding a water garden to your landscape encourages birds, butterflies, and nature's small creatures to frequent and interact with you and your garden. In fact, depending on space, you can build a complete natural and enjoyable environment around the simplicity of a water garden.
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A water garden can be as simple or as complex as space, finances, and desire allow. A container as small as a wooden barrel can host water plants and/or provide you with the sound of water cascading from a fountain. If you have the space, a shovel and a pair of gardening gloves handy, you can build an in-ground water garden for less money than you might imagine.
The type of water garden you choose and the method you choose to build it depends chiefly on the space you want your water garden to occupy.
Although you might be tempted to start small, creating a smaller than average water garden is often as much work or more than designing a large pond or stream. You'll need enough space in a small water garden to accommodate the same equipment and materials you'd use in a larger water feature.
The simplest and most cost efficient small water gardens come in kits that provide nearly everything you'll need to create a successful water garden.
See for example:EarthBox RB-EB-TRC-PBB Garden Kit, Terra Cotta or
If you're planning a large water feature such as a pond, complete with fountain, or a stream that cascades from a waterfall, you'll probably want to consult with a landscape professional that specializes in water garden design.
However, if you prefer to design your own water garden, before you start, take some time to research garden design magazines, Internet free garden plans, and other water gardening
resources. You might also consider purchasing some garden design software to help you in this first, very important stage of water garden planning.
In deciding on the space your water garden will occupy, consider the location of your water garden. Will your water garden be a secluded retreat at the end of your garden path or would you enjoy it more from your kitchen window, or a seat on your patio or deck?
Water garden streams are the most versatile of water features. If you have the space, you can design one to flow from a waterfall in one area into a pond that's located in another spot. A water garden stream can ripple along a garden path or cut under a bridge that leads to your garden.
One idea for creating a stream is to design your water garden to run under your deck. Interestingly enough, liners and proper planning keep your home secure from overflow, so your water garden can be positioned as close to your home as you desire.
Plant water garden plants from the inside out and from bottom to top. Water garden plants take several shapes and forms and are as useful to your water feature as they are lovely.
Submerged plants like rushes and reeds oxygenate your water garden and provide hiding places and nutrition for wildlife you might add to your water garden. In addition, they help you keep algae at bay. As well as beauty, floating plants like water lilies provide shade for pond denizens and seating for animals like birds, butterflies, and amphibians.
Bog plants like cattails make a natural transition from water plants to favorite flowers and foliage planted along your water garden shore.
Adding life to your water garden needn't stop with plants. Adding the flash of Comets or the graceful sway of Koi to your water garden creates true living movement and completes your water garden environment. Aside form several varieties of fish, other pond occupants that bear consideration include turtles, frogs, and snails.
Water gardens are a celebration of nature in motion. Although water garden design entails a fair amount of grunt work, if you take the time to plan your garden and use quality materials, your water garden will provide you with years of relaxation and pleasure.