If you’re new to the world of water gardening, creating your own aquatic garden can seem a little intimidating. This is because so many factors go into creating an aquatic garden, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes.
Aquascaping involves water features that add a touch of calmness to the space while also adding an element of interest. To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide on creating an aquatic garden. We’ll cover some general tips for beginners and give more specific information about plants, containers, and layout.
Tips for Creating An Aquatic Garden
Making the Pond
The first thing you’ll need to do is dig a hole for your pond. It should be about 12″ deep and at least as wide as the amount of water it will hold (a rule of thumb says 100 gallons per foot). When digging, make sure to leave some extra space on all sides in case you want to modify things later or add more features.
There are many different options for containers, but here we’ll explore three of our favorites: clay pots, plastic tubs, and cement pavers. We’ll start with clay pots because they’re the most popular.
- Clay Pots – Clay pots are our favorite because they come in various sizes and shapes, which also means you can find one that fits your design perfectly. You just have to make sure it’s waterproofed (you could line it with plastic or place rocks on top), but other than that, there isn’t much else to worry about.
- Plastic Tubs – Plastic tubs may not be as aesthetically pleasing as clay pots, but their versatility is unmatched. They can serve both as water gardens for plants and fish tanks at the same time.
- Cement Pavers – Cement pavers are perfect if you want to add some permanent features like a water fountain or pond pump. They’re also good if your garden will be in an area with more harsh conditions as they can withstand higher levels of sun and wind exposure than other materials so long as the surface is sealed properly.
Water Garden Plants
Now that we’ve covered general information like layout and container types, let’s take a look at plants. There are many different kinds of aquatic garden plants out there, but here are our favorites:
- Aquatic Ferns – These ferns grow well submerged underwater, with their roots just barely sticking above the surface. They’re perfect if you don’t want much of a plant to take up space in your pond.
- Water Lilies – These plants grow best when planted at the pond’s bottom, with their roots dangling into the water below. However, some varieties can also be grown on land with small pots or even floating around in a pool. They make for an elegant focal point and come in many different colors!
- Floating Plants – These plants float on top of the surface instead of sinking to the bottom as other aquatic garden plants do. This is great if you don’t want any more green things taking up all your real estate (we’re looking at you algae!) You should note that not all types will work well submerged underwater no matter what, so be sure to research before you buy.
Fish for Your Pond
Goldfish are the quintessential pond friends, and they’re also surprisingly easy to care for. Just make sure that your container is built with a mesh cover or has strong screens, as some goldfish can survive outside of water if given enough time. If you don’t want them jumping out, it’s best to have something over the top, such as a screen lid lined with rocks and foam insulation on the inside (this ensures there won’t be any gaps).
Layouts for Your Pond
Now that we’ve covered what plants and containers to use, let’s talk about how to lay everything out. The first step is deciding where on your property the water garden will go since you’ll need to consider the sun’s path, wind direction, and many other factors.
- The water garden should be placed in an area with partial sun.
- The water garden should not be directly next to a busy street or walkway, nor should it be near plants that dry out quickly like lawns and flowers.
- It’s crucial for the pond to have good drainage, so make sure there is enough space around the edges of your property for water to flow.
- The ground should be at least three feet higher than the pond, so there is enough space for drainage and evaporation.
- A good rule of thumb when it comes to layout is that you want your plants, fish, and other features in a straight line with one another. This will make sure everything feels cohesive and in order.
The water garden (or pond) is an excellent option for people who want to enjoy the benefits of gardening but don’t have much space or those that live in regions with harsh weather conditions. They’re also perfect for watching your favorite animals while still having access to plants and other outdoor elements.