How to Create a Water Garden

If the idea of a tranquil, relaxing, and soothing scene doesn’t inspire you to wind down, think how wonderful it might be to enjoy it in your own back yard. A water garden or pond can bring you the benefits of natural relaxation, a place to defuse and de-stress, and an area of your home to pause and reflect. A water garden can be as simple as a small 6-ft wide pond, to a full-size lush pond filled with lilies, fish, and paradise-like ferns and plants.

Water gardens are a natural part of Japanese and Asian cultures, cultivating the Zen lifestyle and turning towards nature to experience peace. Water gardens are easily maintained with today’s user-friendly pumps, cleaning and filtrations systems, and variety of plants and decorative features available. The soothing nature of a decorated water garden can bring you a sense of serenity and calm after a busy day. Your choices are almost endless; the many varieties of lilies and plants thrive in both shade, direct sunlight, humid, and dry climates.

Koi gardens are particularly popular in Europe, as the Koi fish are a unique and attractive species that look beautiful in water gardens. The bright orange and white fish create exotic scenes for many water garden enthusiasts, and are also easy to maintain. However, Koi do eat many aquatic plants and flowers, so Koi gardens will vary considerably from other natural gardens and setups.

You can easily create a water garden for your back yard in a few easy steps. The key things to remember are to maintain consistency with your plant selections and varieties, plan for each type and tend to them accordingly, select the best location, line the pond appropriately, and use the necessary dechlorinators and filtrations systems.

You will begin creating your water garden by making the selection on themes and corresponding plants. The most important plant for all water gardens is named Anachris. This is a very nutritious plant, and will thrive and help keep your water garden healthy. Just one bunch is enough for water gardens under 25-sq feet. Water lilies are also vital water garden plants, and can provide shade and protection from the sun for the aquatic life below. Lilies are beautiful enhancements to any pond, and will encourage other small animals and aquatic life to prosper. Other aquatic plants such as larger ferns and brushes may need potting and extra growing space; read and research each plant’s essential care, and plan your building site accordingly!

Selecting the best location is the next step; you will want something close to your home, but far enough to attract different types of wildlife, birds, and insects. You do not want any dirt, chemicals, or toxic substances near your pond, so do take care in your selecting the site. Keep in mind the effects of falling leaves from trees, ‘traffic’ from passersby, children, or animals, and if you might consider a waterfall. The addition of a waterfall can be particularly effective to encourage a calming and soothing area. As a result, it may be beneficially placed very near your home.

The dig is your next step; you will need to zone in on the depth, shape, and overall size of your water garden. Most people make their water gardens too small, so do be sure to take into consideration that the finished water garden will be full of many different plants and animals. Add approximately 2 feet to your estimate, just to be safe! When digging, it’s important to level it with slopes and steps building down; this will create a graduated ‘U’ effect if you were to create a cross-section. A standard water garden may have a shallow end of 12-18″, followed by a mid-level at 18-24″, and the deepest with a base of 24″ or more. This type of dig will create the best natural environment and setup for your water garden.

Lining the pond is easy with stones, pebbles, and other edging enhancements. It’s important to not only use a tarp-style, rubber liner that will hold for a few years, but also to line and edge the water garden with rocks and stones. You can purchase these especially for lining purposes, and these will hold down the liner, as well as provide a visual enhancement.

To keep your pond clean and natural, it’s a good idea to introduce packaged bacteria. This can take several days to diffuse into your water garden, but will provide a healthy environment and natural space for your pond wildlife to thrive. Dechlorinators and various water purifying systems are also available; depending on the type and size of your pond, you will find the best cleaning system for you. Overlapping various stones, rocks, and sand can give you a great creative opportunity!

Since different plants and aquatic wildlife require different levels of attention and care, it’s essential to learn about each species and addition. Jade water can also be purchased in today’s market, and serves to bring a great enhancement to any water garden or pond. Jade water is the ‘fancier’ water that is tinted a light green color; it can greatly enhance and showcase your water garden, and is used in most Japanese-inspired ponds and water gardens.

Once your water garden is populated and growing, make sure to monitor it and look for patterns of growth and decay. A water garden is just as lively as a regular plant-based garden, and paying attention to the wildlife and growth patterns will help you develop a true paradise! Enjoy the benefits of a lush and vibrant area of your home with the addition of a homemade water garden; you’ll experience relaxation, a natural source of vibrant life, and an opportunity to sit back and reflect in a natural setting.

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