Small Water Garden Planning

A variety of small space ideas to get water into your garden.

While many people dream of having a pond, for some it just isn't feasible. Whether it be a problem of area, or small children, some may have to see their dreams fade away. But not necessarily. While these ideas are on a smaller scale, they will still add water to your garden.

There are many new commercial type plastic ponds on the market that can be purchased at any gardening center and many farm supply stores. These are great to use, and come in many different shapes and sizes. They just need to be buried in the ground, then with a little landscaping, instant pond. You can add fountains, water plants, and even fish. But here are some other ideas, since the commercial ponds can be a little expensive for those of us on a tight budget.

So for those of you on that tight budget, go recycling! Almost anything that will hold water can be turned into a water garden. Old wooden barrels can be cut in half, a liner added to make a fairly portable water garden. If you do not even want to go to the expensive of a liner, you can simply soak the barrel for a few days, allowing the staves to swell with water. Then fill the barrel with water, of course a little may leak out, so place in an area that could use a little watering, and be sure to keep your barrel full.

An old concrete footing can also be filled with water. These look similar to cement blocks, but the holes do not go clear through the cement. They rather resemble on old cement watering trough.

Have a birdbath with no bottom? These can still be set on the ground and filled. Any large clay pot will work also, by plugging the hole in the bottom, then fill with water.

Old buckets and other containers such as copper boilers, wash tubs, watering troughs and hubcaps can also be placed in tight space areas to hold water. Anything with a wide rim and a dark interior will work well.

Now that you have your container and water, what is next? There are any amount of water plants that can be added, such as water hyacinths, parrots feather and water clover can be planted in pots then submerged in your container. I would suggest asking your local gardening center for suggestions on water plants. Particularly if you live in an area where certain invasive plants are illegal, some water plants if not contained can take over an area quickly.

Rocks can also be placed in your containers. Make sure to stack the rocks so that some are sticking out of the water, this will attract birds, butterflies and dragonflies to rest on the rocks and have a sip of water. If you go out scouting for rocks, definitely look for interesting shapes and colors to add some variety to your garden.

Potted plants can also be placed around the outside of your miniature pond to hide any unsightly edges, and give the illusion of a real pond.

You can add goldfish to these small water gardens also. They will help cut down on the algae growth and mosquito larva. Be sure to choose goldfish that will fit the size of your container. My kids also love putting minnows in our water gardens, in the fall we release them again so they can prepare for winter.

You will have to make sure to keep your containers clean and free from algae. Although since most of these containers are fairly small and portable, dumping out the water, giving a little swish with a cloth and refilling should be fairly simple. Bleach can be used in cleaning, but use caution if plants and fish will be living in the water. Also with these "portable" water gardens, it will be easy to redecorate your garden often.

If you live in an area that freezes during the winter months, you will have to take your water plants or fountains indoors for those months. Water plants can generally be cut back, then place the pot in dark plastic. Store in a cool place and keep the soil damp. Fish too will need to be taken in also. Just have an aquarium ready for them to live during the winter months, or give them to a child in the neighborhood for winter care, be sure to check with parents first!

I hope this will give people with a limited amount of space, some ideas on having a pond of their own.

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