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Are Water Gardens Right For Your Backyard

By on July 24, 2020 in Gardening with 0 Comments

Any well used backyard, usually will have a well tended garden.  Gardening is perhaps one of the most popular hobbies in a household.  For thousands of years humans have gardened and for most of that time a major part of our diet came out of our gardens.  Read this article about how to grow pumpkins. As food production improved gardening turned more towards backyard aesthetics like water gardens.

water gardens

How water gardens can be perfect in your yard

As we’ve became better at feeding ourselves, we also gained the time to indulge in activities that weren’t directly linked to our very survival. Flowers, ornamental shrubs, decorative trees all became a part of gardening for beauty and pleasure.

Using water as a feature in your garden

Water is a source of life. We are actually composed of 50 to 70 percent water and without water we can die in hours or a few days – far faster than from lack of food.

Throughout history, water has been a necessity, even a source of warfare. We find comfort in sights and sounds associated with water, whether the source is the sea, a lake, river, stream or pond.

I believe that the sense of comfort and relaxation most of us feel around water is deeply embedded in our being.  I love going to the beach and looking at the ocean, I find it peaceful.

The History of water gardens

Water gardens of various kinds have a long history. From elaborate fountains with statuary to the simplest aquarium (yes, I include aquariums as a form of water garden despite the usual focus on the critters rather than the overall concept), water gardening is an ancient activity.

Currently, water gardening is considered a new trend in backyard landscaping.

I’d guess this has to do partly with advances in technology, the widening availability of pre-constructed ponds and pumping systems, a growing awareness of the alternative forms gardens can take, and the fact that presenting something as new and trendy often improves sales.

water gardening

Using streams and ponds in your water garden

Water gardening can be done using waterfalls and streams, ponds, fountains, and containers of various kinds some of which are as simple as a small indoor fountain with a recycling pump.

The variety goes on and on and most can be further enhanced through using rock work combinations, various types of lighting both above and below the water surface (or behind a waterfall), plants, and, of course, fish or other water dwellers.

Water gardening doesn’t require a pond or natural water source either. It can consist of just a plastic tub, basically anything that can hold water.

Many garden supply outlets can provide anything from the most basic setup to incredibly sophisticated water gardens consisting of waterfalls, pools and streams (with or without bridges).

Start with the budget and space

The very first thing to consider is your budget since that will place some limits on how ambitious a project you can undertake. Water gardening can get expensive if you decide on a big garden full of plants, rocks, fish, and lights.

Next you need to consider how much space you have available for a water garden. You probably won’t want a 15 foot waterfall with a 200 foot stream and a half acre pond in a suburban backyard.

Be reasonable in what you choose as a first project, but also keep in mind the possibility of extending your water garden later. Size also affects the amount of maintenance your water garden will require.

Water gardens with fish and plants

If you plan to include fish and plants, you’ll want to choose a location with sufficient direct sunlight. Remember that if the garden is located close to trees and bushes, leaves and debris will end up in the water and need to be cleaned out regularly.

When you choose aquatic plants, don’t forget that the plants should, at most, cover about half of the water. Plants can be free floating, submerged, or marginal (near or at the edges).

The types you choose are up to you. Some may be good for their scent, some are simply beautiful, and some plants provide more oxygen than others which helps keep the pool healthy.

As well as being pleasant to watch, fish will assist in keeping debris to a minimum and in insect control.

Algae can be a major difficulty in water gardens. Most frequently, the problem results from having too many nutrients in the water either from fish food or plant fertilizer.

Proper construction, feeding and fertilizing will keep algae to a minimum. Chemicals can be used to reduce algae but they can also kill fish and plants.

Backyard Water Gardens: How to Build, Plant & Maintain Ponds, Streams & Fountains

How to maintain your water garden

Like everything else, garden pools need to be maintained throughout the year. And it really doesn’t matter what size they are, even small ones will need care. However, with proper planning you can balance the living and decorative features of a water garden both to simplify and minimize your maintenance tasks.

You can eliminate algae through reducing the nutrients that cause algal growth by cutting back on feeding and fertilizing, adding more plants, putting in a filter system, or replacing existing water with fresh water. Chemicals are generally not recommended since overuse can kill.

An intriguing new method of algae control is through the use of ultrasonic waves. The use of ultrasound to destroy algae can be traced back to the early experiments with sonar for detecting submarines when it was discovered that some micro organisms were destroyed by ultrasonic waves.

Transducers developed to control algae will not harm humans, animals, fish or aquatic plants. (They can also be used for swimming pools).

Keeping the water up to the water garden

If your garden lacks a natural continuous water supply, you have a situation much like an aquarium. You will need to monitor both water quality and water level. Keep in mind that in many locations, tap water contains chlorine.  Do not add a large amount directly to water containing fish (and some plants).

Allowing tap water to stand in an open container for at least 24 hours will normally eliminate the problem. Closed systems will require added water as the surface water evaporates.

A large water garden that relies on tap water and which contains fish and plants.  Will need small quantities of water added daily. For water gardens without circulating, aerated, or filtered water, maintaining water quality may be more difficult.

Still, water gardening really doesn’t take any more time than regular gardening.  Once set up, and you know how to maintain them.  Water gardens will take less time then normal gardens to maintain.

It is different to dry bed gardening.  So while you may not be able to grow anything but weeds in dirt, you might rock water gardening. As a hobby and a way to beautify your landscape, water gardens are excellent.

There’s nothing quite like the sound and sight of water.  To help you be calm and relax you after the stresses of modern life.  This is a great book to read about water gardens as well.  American Horticultural Society Complete Guide to Water Gardening (American Horticultural Society Practical Guides)

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About the Author

About the Author: Michael Wuze is a regular content contributor to Living Out The Back, which was started as a way to share the best of what life has to offer outside your home. The backyard is the one area so many people don't enjoy that we want to help you with. Everyone should enjoy their backyard. .

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