Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens, add beauty and tranquility to an outdoor space. If you’re just starting out, consider building a mini-aquatic garden in a pot or container. If you prefer something larger, outdoor water gardens can include small ponds, waterfalls, fountains, and other water features. To make a water garden appear natural in its environment, I also like to add rocks, plants, and even live fish, snails, or other creatures. With so many types to choose from, it’s easy to create a whimsical water garden in your own backyard that suits your style, property, and budget.
Types of Water Gardens
Water gardens are either active or still. Active gardens typically have fountains or other water features that disturb the water. Many aquatic plants prefer calm water, making an active water garden not as good of a choice for supporting plants. Still water features, such as a simple pond, generally do not have any moving water. In addition to choosing an active or still garden type, you’ll also want to pinpoint your desired style of garden. Container gardens are portable and are easy to start and maintain, while sunken ponds require more work, as they’re built directly in the ground.
Best Plants for Water Gardens
Aquatic plants offer more than just aesthetic beauty. They can also help oxygenate the water, prevent a buildup of algae, and absorb nitrogen to help balance the water’s delicate ecosystem. There are several types of water plants that grow well in outdoor garden environments. Floating plants like water lettuce and water hyacinth can be used in all areas of a pond and require only the occasional thinning. Surface plants like yellow floating heart and lotus have their roots in the soil and leaves on the water’s surface. You can also choose submerged plants, such as hornwort and anacharis, which remain completely underwater.
Adding Living Creatures
Fish, snails, and various crustaceans can be added to a backyard water garden to help keep the water clean and provide a source of entertainment. Goldfish and koi are some of the most popular options for ponds as well as some of the most resistant to disease. Freshwater snails are often added to ponds to help clean the algae from the sides. It’s wise to choose a snail species that won’t eat your live pond plants, such as Japanese trapdoor.
Top Benefits of Water Gardens
There are numerous reasons why homeowners choose to buy or build a water garden. One of the biggest reasons is to improve the look of their property. Water features combined with plant life can provide aesthetic appeal to a dull backyard. For many, running water can also be relaxing. Getting away from the noise of everyday life and simply listening to the soothing flow of water can have stress-relieving qualities. For avid gardeners like myself, adding a water source to my backyard garden was a fun challenge that allowed me to experiment with new plants, rockwork, and interactive designs. Why not try it yourself?