How to Build Your Own Water Garden


Water gardens may look intimidating to build, plant and maintain but in reality they are no more difficult than any other garden. Use a preformed pond of high-density plastic or fiberglass. The design work is completed for you. These ponds have the plant shelves built in. There's a selection of various shapes, sizes and depths. Choose one that is at least 24 inches deep to modify water temperature changes.

Step 1

Locate the pond in an area that receives eight hours of sunlight. Most flowering water plants won't bloom unless they receive that much sun.

Step 2

Mark the outline of the form on the ground with spray paint or white flour. Start digging the ground using the outline as a guide. Remove the dirt. Dig the hole 2 inches deeper than the depth of the pond.

Step 3

Check that the bottom of the hole is level with the carpenter's level. Put 4 inches of builder's sand in the hole and check to see if it's level.

Step 4

Set the form in the hole. The lip should be 2 inches above the ground. This prevents runoff from entering the pond. You'll be covering the lip with rocks so it won't be noticeable.

Step 5

Fill the pond with water. As you're filling the pond backfill around the pond edges with sand. Wash the sand in the area between the sides of the pond and the hole with the hose. If the pond looks like it's crooked, jiggle it slightly to settle it back in the sand. Alternate filling the pond and backfilling around the edges of the pond with sand.

Step 6

Cover the edges of the form with rocks, stones or bricks.

Step 7

Select oxygenating plants to keep the water clear and cut down on algae. Choose from plants such as green hygrophila, sagittaria or anacharis. Oxygenating plants are often used in fresh water aquariums and can be found in pet stores, aquarium stores or by mail order. It's better to have too many oxygenating plants than too few.

Step 8

Place bog plants on the plant ledges so they are at the correct depth for planting. Place them around the edges of the pond where they would naturally be found.

Step 9

Put floating plants gently on the surface of the pond. They provide shade for fish, keep the water cooler in summer and block sunlight from algae. Neptune's crown has air-filled bulbs to keep it afloat. Fish like to eat duck weed. Floating fern is another choice.

Step 10

Put the water lily in the deepest part of the pond. If that's more than 24 inches deep, put the lily on enough overturned pots so the leaves reach the surface of the pond. As the leaves grow remove the pots to lower the lily to the bottom of the pond.

Tips and Warnings

  • Add fish four weeks after the plants have been added. Go slowly adding the fish, no more than five or so at a time.

Things You'll Need

  • Preformed pond
  • Spray paint or flour
  • Shovel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Builders Sand
  • Hose
  • Plants


  • "The Complete Pond Builder"; Helen Nash; 1995
  • "All About Building Waterfalls, Pools, and Streams"; Charles M. Thomas and Richard M. Koogle; 2002
Keywords: build water garden, plant water garden, water plants pond

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.