Imagine water sparkling in the sun, the sound of a small waterfall or water bubbling over rocks, the gleam of a fish as it turns to hide beneath a water lily leaf floating on the surface – now imagine all that in your own garden. Why not turn that dream into reality by installing your own water garden features?
The sounds of a water garden can range from a gentle murmur accented by birds nearby to the spray and splash from a fountain or even the loud song of tree frogs in the evening.
Your garden may be a formal pond of any shape or size and may be a pre-fab unit that rest on top of the ground or an in ground version surrounded by plants and rocks. A more formal water garden feature might be square or rectangular and designed as a reflecting pool.
Informal designs allow more creativity and are usually round or uneven in shape to resemble water features that appear naturally in nature. They may filled with fish, highlight with border plants and water lilies and even have stepping stones across the water.
There is an endless variety of water gardens to choose from. You might create a habitat for wildlife around your pond by providing food sources and plants that provide secure hiding places. These can be great teaching aids for children who can observe the environment of the habitat and watch the creatures who visit the garden.
For a homeowner concerned about the safety of small children a bog garden is the answer. Easy to maintain and natural in appearance you’ll find a wide variety of bog plants that will provide interest.
Waterfalls are often used by landscapers to provide interest to home landscapes with uneven contours. These are usually falls of small amounts of water rather than the loud roaring waterfalls often found in nature. They are designed to appear informal and often lined with rocks and river rock.
Purchased fountains are totally self-contained and an easy way to provide a water garden feature that does not require excavation or construction. From simple fountains where water falls over a slap of granite to elaborate concrete concoctions with statues and other decorations, you can spend a little or a lot and have a water feature that can be relocated in the future.
To create your personal oasis, you will need a pond liner with a good guarantee (20 years is best). Rubber is best but difficult to handle and expensive. Many homeowners opt for a heavy duty vinyl liner instead.
The depth and size of your pond is up to you. It can be deep enough to support fish or a shallow planting garden. For planting gardens a ledge is often created around the inside of the pond. About 12-15 inches below the surface, this ledge is perfect for installing potted water plants that will appear to grow out of the water yet be easy to rearrange or tend to.
Dig the pond leaving a firm edge and remove any stones that might damage the liner when the weight of water is added. You can use an underlayment or simply spread a layer of sand and newspaper to protect the bottom of the liner. Spread the liner over the hole allowing the center to drop to the bottom. Place stones around the edge to anchor the liner in place.
Fill slowly with water. The weight of the water will press the liner into place and mold it to the shape of the hole. Once the pond is filled add the edging you’ve planned – stone, rocks or pebbles to hide the edge of the liner and give a neat appearance. Test your pump and filters – pull up a chair and relax.