In spite of the glossy magazine spreads with large and complex water gardens, you can learn how to water the garden easily. The trick is planning and customizing your pond to your taste, abilities, budget, helpers, and property. Within these guidelines, you can build anything from a charming container garden on your patio to a complex series of streams and interconnected koi ponds.
This article is mostly concerned with the easier, smaller water garden. The smaller your water garden is, the less expensive and time-consuming its installation and maintenance will be. Please do not feel that you are choosing the second best if you go this route. If you build and love your water garden, then you can always enrich it with additional water features, plants, and fish.
You can even add a second pond with feeder streams, or expand the original pond. If you suspect you really do want a larger pond, then consider experimenting first with a container water garden or a small pre-formed liner. Both are easily completed and take up little room, allowing you to see how often you will really make use of and enjoy a water garden.
A couple of items to consider are where to place the pond, your yard’s climate and water patterns, and the border and planting styles that interest you the most.
1. Water Garden placement
You will want to site the pond where you can easily enjoy it, and also be aware of safety and lighting concerns. You might want to place your water garden in a secluded area of your yard where it forms a romantic garden room.
However, be aware that you have cats, dogs, and small children about — not to mention the occasional predator like owls and raccoons — you may need to provide for pond protection. Where small children are concerned you should protect them from the pond regardless, even if it is the plain sight from the house. Consider netting to discourage predators, AquaPro solar pump kit for efficiency, and fencing to discourage inquisitive toddlers.
2. Yard micro-climate
Your yard will have its own temperature and moisture patterns. The fact that you get snow in the winter will be obvious to a Montanan, but your yard will have warmer and cooler spots. (By the way, water gardens can overwinter just fine.) You should also be aware of how water runs in your yard.
At first glance, it might seem like a lovely idea to build your water garden as a catch basin for a natural stream. But your koi might not appreciate the fact that the stream is picking up fertilizer from your up-hill neighbors’ lawn. Also, be aware of natural light.
I personally love shade plants and woodland ponds, but many common water and bog plants need at least 4-6 hours of sunlight a day. You also probably do not want to skim leaves and branches from your water garden every single day.
3. Water garden style
Picking your style is pure fun. You might go for a formal water garden shape ringed by box hedges and slightly curved benches with a border of half bricks. You might choose an English country garden style with a free form shape, water lilies, bog plants nodding at the shallow edges, and a natural rock border. Or you might choose a serene Japanese style with bamboo edgings, planting, and water features. Look through water garden magazines and online water garden stores to get an idea of styles.
Above all, take it slowly and don’t get overwhelmed. Building a water garden isn’t rocket science. I promise.
Christine Taylor is a happy amateur water gardener. She shares her experience and insights about building the simple water garden at [http://yourhomewatergarden.com].