An Introduction to Water Gardening
One landscaping concept that has gained popularity over recent years is water gardening. Water gardening is typically considered a piece of landscaping that holds water year round and is surrounded or filled with plants, as well as fish. Water gardening pieces tend to look very classy and will get much attention if setup properly. The amount of space available and a budget usually determine how large a water garden can be, but the consensus is that bigger is better.
A Few Things to Consider
Before beginning your water gardening project, you will need to find a suitable location. Since it is a large project that will require a great deal of effort, you will probably want to place your water garden in a prominent location. Depending on how your property is laid out, you may want to place it close to a sitting area or near the road so everyone can see your water garden. Keep in mind that many plants popular in water gardening require at least five hours of direct sunlight per day, so a completely shaded area may limit your selection of plant life. You may also need to check with your utility company to find out if there are any lines or pipes running beneath your property, since water garden needs to be at least 18" deep. Also keep in mind that you will need an electric pump will keep the water flowing and oxygenated, so you will want to make sure your water gardening spot is able to be connected to electricity.
Once your water garden is setup, you can add plant and animal life. The four main types of aquatic plants for water gardening are bog plants (marginals), floating plants, deep water plants, and submerged plants(oxygenators). Bog plants, or marginals, live at the edge of the water and include cattails and other similar plants. Floating plants, while decorative, should only cover about 60% of the water's surface. Deep water plants, such as lilies, need at least a foot of water above their stem, and submerged plants, or oxygenators, anchor themselves to the bottom and help control algae buildup by putting oxygen into the water. You can use any combination of these plants to create an attractive and relatively maintenance free system.
Many people also add fish and snails to their water garden. Your climate will affect what type of fish your can have in your water garden, but goldfish are by far the most popular because they are active, hardy, and can survive winter in these small ponds. In combination with the plants, the fish should complete a mini-ecosystem that will keep your water garden algae-free and looking great for years to come.