Water Garden Design and Inspiration

Water gardens help to add a whole different dimension to your garden, invigorating all of your senses. The soothing sound of running water and vibrant aquatic plants can brighten any corner of your garden and create a little oasis for you to relax and unwind. The moving water also helps to add texture to your garden and provides a water source for local wildlife which will be attracted to the new ecosystem.

Water Garden Ideas

The admiration and desire for water gardens comes largely from Japanese culture and oriental gardens where the water introduces a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere. From large rectangular, formal designs to small natural circles planted with water lilies, large stately and royal homes have created large, elaborate designs since the early 17th century. The ability to create a smaller version suited to your space, whilst getting all the same relaxing benefits has increased the popularity and can now be found throughout many homes. There are no specific design rules when creating your own water garden as they can be created in many different shapes and designs. Although, to create the best environment for aquatic plants water gardens tend to be shallow as many water plant species are sensitive to water depth. This means that no matter the size of your garden, you can create your own water garden whether that be in a small container, PVC lined pond, water feature, or curated stream.

Unlike most other garden designs and types, water gardens differ due to the addition of water and aquatic plants rather than just a landscaped area. The feature could be anything from an artistic water feature, small man-made stream, pond, or bubble jets in a small water pool which reflects both light and neighbouring plants. The elements of height, positioning and sound play an important part in the garden design and help to create a space that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Tips for Designing Your Own Water Garden

As with most garden projects, remember to plan carefully and thoroughly. Water gardens need careful positioning so that they are safe for family members and pets, in areas where they can be admired and positioned so that they are easy to maintain. If you are creating a container water garden then this is simpler, but do remember that when filled with water it will be more difficult to move. For larger projects, sketch out elements you would like to include and think about the practicality of the rest of your outdoor space.

There are a number of different ways to create a water garden creating different styles. A container water garden works well if you have a small area and are looking to add interest. A water garden built around a water feature helps to add movement and has soothing sounds. A water garden in a pond may also serve as a habitat for fish which may have their own specific requirements. Choose the right style for you and your space.

For a cheaper alternative use containers and pump systems to create an equally effective water garden. These have a minimal upkeep and still produce calming sounds and movement of larger features. Compliment the style of your home. Creating a complimentary garden to your interior can really help create a cohesive look to your property. For modern homes, consider architectural water features with bold shapes, and for country properties look at natural stone borders and rounded designs.

Choose the area carefully. Think about whether the water will be in full sunlight and the amount of exposure it will get. Too much sunlight will heat the water, create lots of algae and can cause issues for aquatic plants and fish. Remember that the garden will also need to be topped up with water so being close to a water source is preferable.

The focus of this garden type is to create a natural water ecosystem that can be enjoyed. Place the water feature near areas where it can be enjoyed including seating areas. Concentrate on creating a mini landscape within the water using different heights, plant types and rocks. Different species of aquatic plants are suited to varied water depths, check before planting what depth your chosen plant is going to thrive at.

Before digging in your garden, remember to check for utilities. If you are installing a large pond or water feature, consider getting in touch with a local landscaping company.

If you are creating a water garden in an existing pond you may want to add fish which can enhance the relaxing experience. Koi fish in particular need specialist filtration systems and habitats so consider when building your water garden if this is something you would like to introduce later.

Plants to Add to a Water Garden

Complete your water garden by adding a range of different aquatic and marginal plants. Typically this type of garden is designed with a mixture of floating, submerged and marginal plant species to create a full and varied look. To create different heights and opportunities to plant shallow varieties add stones and crates to the bottom of your container or pond.

Floating plants
Like the name suggests these will float on the surface of your water garden and have a variety of benefits including providing shade for fish and helping to control the amount of algae. Popular species include Duckweed, Water Lettuce, Water lily, Lotuses and Water Hyacinth. Some of these species create beautiful floral blooms which help to add colour and interest to your water garden. Floating plants should cover no more than two thirds of the water surface to ensure enough light and oxygen reaches submerged species.

Species such as Hornwort, Eelgrass, Anacharis will grow at the bottom of the water source and offer shelter to small fish and insects as well as creating a beautiful display that can be seen from the surface.

Marginal plants
These plants are sensitive to deep water and should only be grown close to the water’s edge. Species include Cattails, Arrowhead, Water Plantain and Sweet Flag all of which create a stunning outline to your water garden. When purchasing your aquatic and pond greenery, the plants will mostly come in shallow basket containers which can then be submerged into your water. Bare-rooted plants should be planted into containers before introducing them to your pond to stop some species becoming too large and invasive, this is particularly beneficial for small areas. When adding plants to your water garden you should only use heavy loam soil which is free of pesticides, ideally a proprietary aquatic compost should be used. Before purchasing ensure that you have chosen an aquatic species that will thrive at the depth of your water garden.

Don’t hesitate to be adventurous with your design and create something that both inspires and helps you to relax. Utilise space by adding different heights and create a haven for plant and aquatic life.

If you need any help choosing the correct plant species for your water garden or would like some more helpful tips and tricks, please don’t hesitate to pop into the store and talk to one of our knowledgeable team members.

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