Top 4 Tips for Building Your Own Water Garden
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
A water garden enchants and delights. It reflects the blue of the sky and the sparkle of the morning sunlight. On the hottest of summer days, its lazy ripples and splashes cool down the whole atmosphere of a garden. In fact, water in one form or another has become an essential ingredient in our contemporary outdoor spaces. Ponds also add a whole new layer to a garden. They support all sorts of aquatic plants and fish and prove a magnet for natural wildlife such as frogs and tadpoles, as well as a handy water source for native birds.
Confusion over pumps and filters (the equipment side of a pond) often intimidates first-timers. But the process is quite straightforward and, in any case, you don’t need to build something that's complex. Many beautiful still-water features have neither a pump nor a filter. To start, there are some great looking prefabricated ponds available, and if you’re thinking of something more simple, there’s always the ‘water feature in a pot’ option and these can look fabulous.
Dig your hole.
When it comes to building a garden pond, you can have a choice. You can install a ready-made pond (prefabricated) or design your own pond (of any size or shape) by excavating a hole and laying a pond liner.
Ready-made ponds are available in a range of materials including fibreglass, plastic, and imitation rock — the latter can look wonderfully realistic. They’re lightweight and portable, and installation is as easy as digging the appropriately shaped hole.
Design-it-yourself ponds are created by marking out the shape you want on the ground, digging out the soil and laying pond liner material over the base and sides. The liner, which is simply cut to shape, overlaps the surrounding ground and can be held in place using rocks and stone flagging.
Determine the depth.
Depth is an important consideration when digging your own pond. If you want to keep fish, you’ll need a depth of at least 300mm so the water doesn’t heat up too much. A shaded corner will also help in this regard.
You can grow a variety of aquatic plants. It’s a good idea to include a choice of different depths in your pond. One way to achieve this is to excavate a shelf or terrace all the way around the perimetre of the pond to accommodate the species that prefer shallow water. If the pond is large enough, you can also make one end deeper than the other.
Find the right site.
Before you start buying your materials, make sure you’ve selected the perfect spot for your pond. Here’s what to consider:
- Generally speaking, a level site is best. However, if you’re planning a cascade, it’s an advantage to have an elevated area immediately beside it.
- Most flowering water plants need plenty of sunlight. Water lilies need at least 5-6 hours a day.
- Avoid positioning a pond underneath deciduous trees or eucalyptus, which shed lots of bark. Otherwise, you’ll spend every weekend fishing debris out.
Consider still ponds.
If you’re a bit daunted by fountains and spouts and the various pumps involved, there's a simple solution — don’t use them. Still ponds are delightfully tranquil water features that reflect the sky and garden around them but still allow you to keep plants and fish.
However, there's a trick to keeping the water clean in still ponds, and that means setting up the right ecological balance. A balanced pond environment needs to have a population of submerged aquatic plants, as well as the species that have their leaves above the water. Submerged plants grow entirely beneath the water and include species like curled pondweed and ribbon grass. They play a vital role in the health of a pond by absorbing nutrients from fish waste and oxygenating the water. Without them, algae will soon get a hold and turn the water cloudy green. To work out how many submerged plants you’ll need for the size of your pond and how many fish you can keep, discuss your ideas with a water garden specialist.
Take good care of your garden with the help of the top gardening professionals in Australia today.