Ideas for Water Gardens

A water garden can add a beautiful accent to any landscape. From the simplest container to elaborate in-ground ponds, water gardens can bring movement and sound to a landscape like no other feature. While the design of your water garden is only limited by your imagination, here are some ideas to get you started.


What would a water garden be without aquatic plants? Choose from surface plants like water lilies and lotus, plants that grow on the edge of the water, including reeds and cattails, or floating plants that include water hyacinth and water lettuce. Water lily, pickerel rush, water canna and many other aquatic plants produce beautiful flowers. Plants can be grown in pots and placed within the water garden for easy placement or can be permanently planted, if the garden has its own soil base.


Whether it's just a couple of goldfish from the pet store, native fish from your area, or exotic and beautiful koi, fish can animate your water garden, bringing hours of fun watching them swim and feed. Some fish eat plants, so it's important to know how adding fish will affect your garden. Also, the area of the water garden should be large enough to accommodate the number, size and type of fish and should allow for seasonal changes so the pond does not get too hot or freeze completely in winter.


Containers are a great place to start. Any large container will do, including old wine barrels, ceramic pots, or even a galvanized tub. Be sure to properly seal the container to ensure it will hold water. Potted aquatic plants are easy to place and care for in containers. Fish can even be added, if the pot is large enough to support them.


A pond is an excellent addition to a water garden and can provide the foundation of your design. Ponds include simple plastic shells that can be placed in the ground. They can also be made relatively easily by placing a large sheet of elastic liner into an excavated hole. When filled with water, the liner forms to the hole, creating a pond. Still more elaborate ponds can be created from concrete, masonry, or stone. The edges of the pond can be decorated with stone, landscape timbers or other materials.

Waterfalls and Streams

Waterfalls and streams can provide visual appeal and the soothing sounds of trickling water in your landscape. They can also help improve the filtration and aeration of the water. A pump returns the water from the garden to the waterfall in a continuous cycle. Waterfalls and streams can also be pondless. The a field of stones is place at the end that conceals a grate, tub and pump that return the water, allowing you to have a water feature without needing a pond.


The same pondless principle can also apply to fountains. Fountains can range from bubbling urns, statues, or stonework to huge, elaborate fountains with streams and sprays of water. They add a captivating accent to any water garden and often serve as the centerpiece in the landscape. Smaller fountains are relatively easy to install and even come in kits.

Filtration and circulation systems

Larger water gardens also benefit from good water circulation and filtration. A pump, skimmer, and biological filter can be installed and concealed in the landscape easily. It's important to check the system regularly to ensure that it is circulating freely.

Keywords: pond gardern, water feature, water garden design ideas

About this Author

Located in Jacksonville, Fla, Frank Whittemore has been a writer and content strategist for over 15 years, providing corporate communications services to Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics that stem from his fascination with nature, the environment, science, medicine and technology.