How to Build a Water Garden?
Following these simple steps will result in a lovely water garden in no time at all.
First, consider what type of water garden you would like
Are you more interested in plants or fish? Perhaps you would like a waterfall. Or maybe you plan to enjoy your pond at night under soft illumination. All of these factors can contribute to the dimensions and shape of the pool. Making a sketch can help you decide what you’d like your water garden to look like.
Then, you’ll need to select a proper location
Select an area that is close to home (ideally, it should be seen from your home), away from runoff and trees, receives full sun a large portion of the day, and is without a short distance of electrical outlets. Once you have selected the right location, you can decide on the size and exact dimensions. The biggest mistake that many people make is building a water garden that is too small. Plan accordingly.
Next, you’ll prepare the location
This is probably the most difficult and time-consuming step. First, outline the pond shape with a heavy rope, using stakes to avoid movement. If you are using a prefabricated pool, place it on the ground and allow an extra 2 inches in all areas. You can also spray paint around the area.
It’s time to dig
Dig out the area inside the rope or spray paint, adding several inches to the depth to allow for sand. Allow for a shelf area for bog plants 9-12 inches along the perimeter. The deepest point of the pond should be no less than 2 feet. Clear out all rocks, smoothing the soil. Make sure you have dug evenly by placing a 2 x 4 board over the area in several locations and using a carpenter level. If the soil is particularly rocky, you can line the excavation with a few inches of damp soil.
Put any pond filters or skimmers in place
Skimmers are usually buried beside the pond. A ditch should connect the external pond pump to the filter or skimmer. If you choose to use a submersible pump in the pond skimmer, then the ditch will connect the skimmer to the external pond filter.
Then, put the liner or prefabricated pool in place
Taking care not to puncture the liner in any place, drop it into the hole. Spread it out carefully, pushing outwards to the edges. It can be anchored in corners with bricks or stones. Smooth out any folds or wrinkles. If using a prefabricated shell, please keep in mind that it may have to be lowered into the hole several times before it is even at the edges.
Fill the pond with water
Watch your pool carefully during this step to make sure there are no leaks. Shut the water off when it is level with the liner on all sides. You can add a de-chlorinator to remove any chlorine.
At this time, remove any surplus liner
but make sure to leave at least 6 inches around the edge. Cover the edge of your water garden with stones, bricks or other sturdy materials.
Next, add aquatic plants to your water garden
Plants should be added as soon as possible after your pond is filled with water. Anchors is the most important plant to establish at the beginning because it eats the nutrients that otherwise feed algae.
Finally, add fish and other wildlife
Goldfish and Koi should be added somewhat slowly over several weeks. Add only a few at a time to allow time for the bacteria levels to become established in your water garden.
About Water Gardening
One of the wonderful things about water gardens that make them different than traditional gardens is, of course, the addition of water. But with that water comes a whole variety of plants, animals, and other water-related items. Water gardens provide a living, thriving ecosystem that coexists with the landscape around them. They are educational for children and provide a relaxing atmosphere for adults.
Beneficial to all
There are numerous benefits to having a water garden or pond. Other than proving aesthetically pleasing and soothing, they also add value to homes. More importantly, however, they encourage plant and animal life. With the addition of water, you’ll be surprised at the number of birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and other creatures that become interested in your home!
First things first
If you are considering building a water garden or having one professionally built, there are a number of things to consider before you start digging. Here is a list of important questions to ask yourself when choosing the proper location.
- How much sunlight will the water garden get? Most water plants prefer full sun, at least 5 hours a day. If you choose a spot that is in the shade, be aware that it limits your choice of aquatic plants.
- What is the condition of the soil around the pool? Wet soil can cause the shape of an artificial pool to become distorted or cracked. If your soil is sandy, it will need to be carefully prepared so that the sides and bottom do not shift. Areas that receive a large amount of runoff are not suitable for water gardens.
- How close is the water garden to trees? If at all possible, place the pool in a location that is not surrounded by trees, as falling leaves can cause pond decay. Not only will pumps and filters become clogged, but fish and plants can be harmed.
- Does the pond have access to electricity and water supply? You will probably have to refill your pool or add smaller amounts of water at some point. If your garden includes waterfalls or circulating water, you will need access to a normal household circuit, which should be no farther than 6 feet from the pond.
Keeping a good stock
Once you have chosen an exact location, you can consider the dimensions and what you would like your water garden to include. Some popular choices for fish include Japanese Koi, which are colorful and can grow to 2 or 3 feet in length, and different kinds of goldfish, including Calicoes, Fantails, and Orandas, and Golden Orfe.
Of course, you’ll be adding water plants to the pond as well. There are three types of plants you can include (submerged, marginal, and floating) and you should include a combination of all three to create a uniform and self-sustaining pond. Submerged plants include Anacharis and Water Milfoil, marginal, or bog plants, include Arrowhead and Cattails, and floating plants include Duckweed and Water Hyacinth.
Keep it clean
Cleaning and maintaining a water garden should be easy if you follow a few important rules.
- Remove dead foliage, such as leaves, weekly: You can use a skimming net or a water vacuum to get this done.
- Maintain an even water level: This helps to protect the pool and the liner and should be kept even with the top of the pool. In hot weather, small amounts of water may be added every day.
- Winterize accordingly: If you live in a cold climate area, you may need to move some of the fish and plants indoors during the winter months. Submergible heaters can be used to keep outdoor plants and fish alive as well.
Water Garden Supplies Guide
In order to maintain a healthy water garden, there are a number of supplies you’ll need. While some opt for a more basic pool, others prefer an elaborate landscape that includes waterfalls, fountains, and a full lighting system. With this in mind, there are some items on this list that you may choose not to include in your water garden.
- A liner or prefabricated pool: Before beginning construction on your pool, you’ll need to purchase a liner. It should be large enough to fit the excavation site, overlapping the edges of the dug area. You can figure out the size of the liner you’ll need by multiplying the depth by two and adding a foot in each direction to the length and width of the area.
- Border materials: This is a matter of personal taste. Some popular choices include stone or brick. Since this material will frame your water garden, you’ll want to choose a heavy substance that is not damaged when wet.
- Shovel, backhoe, and stakes for excavation: If you are building the pond yourself, you’ll need these tools to dig the soil out of the site. If you’re having a professional do it, you don’t have to worry about these items.
- Water pump: In choosing the right pump for your water garden, you’ll need to determine the required flow rate. The minimum flow rate should be at least half of the volume of the pond. If you choose to have a waterfall, you’ll need to increase the flow rate. The reason why a water pump is important to your water garden is that it ensures proper circulation, which is crucial to both plants and animals.
- Water filter: A water filter is equally as important as a pump because it provides high-quality water crucial in maintaining healthy fish. Although higher-quality filtration systems tend to be more expensive, they also require less maintenance and provide better water quality. In this case, the bigger the filter, the better.
- Aquatic plants: With so many options, choosing what kinds of plants you want for your water garden may be difficult! Just make sure that you choose a variety of plants from each plant group, which include marginal or bog plants, submerged plants, and floating plants.
- An assortment of fish: A well-stocked pond is one of the things that make your garden both beautiful and unique. There are a number of types of fish to choose from, and popular choices include goldfish and Japanese Koi. There are many varieties of goldfish, which range in color, size, and behavior. Koi are known for their beauty and large size. And an average Koi lives to be 70 years old!
- Water treatment supplies: Since even the best filter is not able to keep a water garden clean all the time, you may need to purchase water treatment supplies. For example, investing in a pH test kit will enable you to know if the pool’s pH level is optimum. And if it’s not, there are chemicals that can be added to either increase or decrease the level.
- Fish care supplies: These include fish food and fish treatment medication (in case of illness). You may also want to invest in a small net in case you’ll need to transport your fish out of the water garden if it needs to be cleaned.
- Fountains or waterfalls: Although not required, the sound of running water is pleasing. Many consider waterfalls the cherry on top.
- Nighttime illumination: Adding lights to your water garden will let you enjoy it at any time. Solar-powered and color-filtrated lights are two popular options.