A water feature adds a focal point to any garden, no matter how small the garden or water feature. The sound of trickling water can obscure traffic and city noises. Small pots placed near a sunny window allow water gardens inside. Even a small balcony has room for a 1-gallon water garden. The pot water garden is a manageable size for a beginner or a gardener on a budget.
Select a pot at least 12 inches deep. Lighter colors are better, as dark colors attract heat and will raise water temperature. Make sure the pot is watertight before planting. Fill it with water and let it rest overnight. Check for leaks.
Place the pot in a sunny location. Water lilies, for example, require a minimum of six hours of sunlight. If the lily doesn't get enough sunlight it might grow, but won't bloom.
Fill the bottom of the pot with a layer of small river stones or washed sand. Glass marbles or sea glass works as well. Dark stones won't show debris and add depth to the pond.
Fill the pot with water. Let the water stand for 24 hours so the chlorine evaporates.
Try a pygmy variety of water lily like Aurora, yellow pygmy or Sioux. Plant the bulb in a mesh water plant basket. Cover with potting soil that does not contain perlite. Perlite floats and is difficult to remove from the water. Set the basket on the bottom of the water garden.
Purchase oxygenating plants (usually available in stores that sell aquarium fish). Anarcharis is one of the best oxygenating plants, and is commonly available. Place the bottom end of a bunch of anarcharis in the bottom of the water garden and anchor it by covering with stones.
Float water lettuce and water hyacinths on the surface of the water garden. One of each should be enough for a medium-size pot.
Place bog plants in the pot. Put an upside down terracotta pot on the bottom of the water garden to raise the level of the bog plant if necessary. Try dwarf papyrus, as it only grows to 2 feet high.