Water Gardens

Water gardens, also known as aquatic gardens, backyard ponds and garden ponds, have become popular in recent years.

Water Gardens and Garden Ponds

Usually referring to a man-made feature, these gardens typically combine a pool with aquatic plants and often ornamental fish. Fixed items such as rocks, fountains, statuary, waterfalls and watercourses can be combined with the pool to add visual interest and integration with the local landscape and environment.

Types of water gardens

* Containers
* Man-made ponds
* Natural ponds
* Bogs
* Wild River
* lakes

Wild River

One choses a spot on the banks of a fast moving river, and proceeds to place rocks in the path of the water to make a small waterfall.

Depending on the river you use, the water level fluctuates on a daily basis. This means it needs work every day to adjust the rock level heights. It is similar to a sand garden, a.k.a. Zen garden or Japanese rock garden. If your placement of rocks is well done, it adds valuable oxygen to the river and might stop hypoxia from occurring. The more the bubbles, the more dissolved oxygen is being placed in the river for fish, etc. Oxygenating vessels may help improve the quality of the water Oxygenating vessels.

Aerated water


Typical water garden plants are divided into 3 main categories--submerged, marginal, and floating.

Submerged plants are those that live almost completely under the water, sometimes with leaves or flowers that grow to the surface such as with the water lily. These plants are placed in a pond or container usually 1-2 ft. below the water surface. Some of these plants are called oxygenators because they create oxygen for the fish that live in a pond. Examples of submerged plants are:

*Water lily (Hardy and Tropical)
*Parrot Feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)

Marginal plants are those that live with their roots under the water but the rest of the plant above the surface. These are usually placed so that the top of the pot is at or barely below the water level. Examples of these are:

*Flag (Iris)
*Taro or Elephant Ear
*Arrowhead (Sagittaria latifolia)
*Nelumbo (lotus)
*Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata)

Floating plants are those that are not anchored to the soil at all, but are free-floating on the surface. In water gardening, these are often used as a provider of shade to keep down the growth of algae in a pond. These are often extremely fast growing/multiplying. Examples of these are:

*Mosquito ferns (Azolla)
*Water-spangle (Salvinia)
*Water-clover (Marsilea vestita)
*Water-hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)

Some areas of the United States do not allow certain of these plants to be sold or kept as they have become invasive species in warmer areas of the country, such as Florida.

Algae is another plant type that is found in most ponds. There are hundreds of species of algae that can grow in garden ponds. Generally algae attaches itself to the sides of the pond and remains innocuous. Some species of algae, namely the dreaded 'blanket weed' can grow up to a foot a day under ideal conditions and can rapidly clog a garden pond. On the other hand free floating algae is microcopic and is what causes pond water to appear green.


Often the reason for having a pond in your garden is to keep fish, often koi, though many people keep goldfish. Both are hardy, colorful fish which require no special heating, provided you live in an area which does not have extremes of temperature that would affect the fish. If fish are kept, pumps and filtration devices usually need to be added in order to keep enough oxygen in the water to support them. In winter, a small heater may need to be used in cold climates to keep the water from freezing solid. Examples of common pond fish include:

*Goldfish (Common, Comet, Shubunkin varieties, Wakin and the Fantail varieties. With the possible exception of some of the fantail varieties, the fancy goldfish are not suited to pond life.)
*Koi (Nishikigoi, Butterfly Koi and Ghost Koi)
*Golden Orfe
*Golden Tench
*Rosy Red Minnows

Small aquatic snails are usually in ponds which have plants. Some people purchase Apple snails to keep in their water garden.

Ponds located in suburban and rural areas often attract frogs and turtles, and the occasional snake.

Garden ponds can attract attention from predators such as (in the United States) raccoons, heron, snakes, and domestic cats. These predators can be a danger to fish. Owners of koi are often particularly upset by this as some varieties of koi can be very expensive.

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