A water garden is ever changing, whether in sound, color or pattern, making it a relaxing addition to any space. As a gardener, water features present the opportunity to use plants that do not thrive in other spaces. When deciding on a water garden, keep in mind the size and style of the garden and the space. There is a water garden for everyone.
Both formal and informal ponds can be constructed in practically any shape and size. Think clean lines for a formal pond. Stock it with floating leaves and flowers and use sculptural plants such as ferns around the perimeter to facilitate quiet reflection, recommends the "Encyclopedia of Gardening," by the American Horticultural Society. Include a sculptural fountain in the middle to complete the formal look.
Consider a natural, sunken pool for the informal pond, stocked with stones and surrounded by plants to conceal the edges, as if it was found in nature. These informal ponds can either be lined or unlined. An unlined pond can have a bog-type of feel.
Streams and Watercourses
Streams are perfect for smaller areas because they are, by their nature, irregular and winding, according to "Garden Pools, Fountains & Watercourses: Exciting New Ideas for Home Water Gardens," by Rich Binsacca. A stream can be built to meander through a narrow rock garden and back again. Or create a stream that trickles over pebbles, next to garden steps, or a stream that follows the lines of a garden path.
A watercourse is a formal stream, suitable for a formal garden, that runs in straight lines and reflects the construction of the surrounding architecture. Watercourses are usually constructed of concrete, tile, brick or pavers.
Container Water Gardens
Container water gardens are the perfect solution to the very smallest space. Use any type of container that will hold water, such as a metal cauldron, a sealed and lined barrel or even a half-buried tub, suggests "Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening." The container can sit in a corner of the garden or become the focal point on a patio. Fill it with water plants, such as water lilies and water ferns, and even include a fish, if desired.