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Water Gardens: Instant Tranquility Building the Fastest Water Garden

by Nellie Neal

A shallow clay or ceramic bowl, a half barrel or anything that holds a few inches of water and a pump, a few rocks and some aquatic plants can become a water garden in an afternoon. Follow these simple steps to bring the pleasant sound of water to any part of your garden or patio.  

1.       Choose the location for your water garden where you will hear it daily, with ready access to the electric outlet needed for the pump. Patios and decks make ideal locations closely followed by breezeways and porches – anywhere you can provide electricity and would like to change the mood, muffle exterior sounds and create a relaxing space.

2.       Put a small submersible pond pump in the container with its bubbler or simple plastic tube rising above water level to make a fountain or dribble over rocks placed for that purpose.

3.       Set the pump to its lowest flow, then hold it down temporarily and plug it in. Adjust the flow to suit your needs and anchor well with rocks. If you must use an extension cord to supply electricity, be certain it’s rated for outdoor use.

4.       Sink a pot or two of plants into a barrel pond, or fill a shallow bowl pond with shells, rocks and a few floating plants. Fill with water, turn on and enjoy!

Try this!

Be innovative when choosing containers – terracotta garden planters, heavy plastic pond pots, decorative porcelain ‘fishbowls'-even a recycled sink or aquarium can be a pond.

Show off your collection of petrified wood and rocks, lava pieces, driftwood and shells in a shallow bowl garden. They all look better under water than in that glass vase indoors on a shelf. Or give a goldfish a home in your barrel pond – it will grow to fit the space and eat insects if you don’t overfeed it.

Pick plants that are easy to grow: water lettuce or pickerel to float, hardy lilies to live below and float on the surface. Don’t overcrowd the pond – cover only 1/3 of the surface with plants. 

Keep the pond clean of leaves and refill shallow ponds as water evaporates.

Make your pond pot a focal point – surround it with containers of colorful tropical plants or stand it alone against a painted wall. Either way, the pond will draw eyes as well as ears.


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