• Build an Outdoor Water Garden

    Water Garden photoNow that it is Spring Time we are all getting the urge to get outdside and spruce up the yard or patio. Here is a simple yet attractive idea for a small Water Garden that can be placed on the patio.

    Water Garden Materials

    Water Garden Tools

    •  Handsaw or circular saw
    •  Hammer and nails
    •  Drill
    •  Wood screws, screwdriver

    Steps

    • Gather 1×8-inch cedar boards. (You also can use 1×10 or 1×12 boards to create a deeper pond.) Cut 30-inch lengths for the sides and 15-inch lengths for the ends.
    • After assembling the outer frame, measure the interior dimension for the floor of the box. You can use the same 1×8 material for the base or use 3/4-inch exterior plywood. Use a handsaw or circular saw, or have the wood cut by your local home center. Make sure you get straight cuts to minimize gapping.
    • Pre-drill holes every 6 inches along the edges of the sides and ends to attach to the bottom piece. Use wood screws to connect the boards, attaching one long side to the base first, then following with the two short sides and finishing with the remaining long side.
    • If you want to create a divider—a separate planting bed within the box—cut another piece of wood. Before attaching the divider, try it in different locations to get a look you like. The divider will isolate the water feature from the planting space. We divided our container so one third is for plants and two thirds remain for the water garden.
    • Use additional wood screws to fasten the end joints together, drawing the screws tight to minimize any gapping. Apply sealant to lengths of 1×2-inch strips of wood and fasten them to each corner; they will add strength to the box, provide additional sealing, and dress up your box.
    • On the inside of the box, install a plastic liner or use a water sealant. If you plan to house fish, choose a sealant that’s safe for aquatic life–read the label carefully or check with an experienced pond fancier.
    • Read the directions on the sealant can for the suggested number of coats, and then do one more. Coat both the water area and the garden section. On the garden side, drill two or three holes in the floor to provide drainage for plants.
    • Create a composition with plants by selecting ones that vary in form, texture, color, and size. Chose a combination of edge, submerged, and floating plants. Select one plant that will add vertical interest. Line the perimeter with trailing plants that extend the garden outside the box.
    • If you’re mixing plants with different growing requirements, place them in containers and set them in the box. Otherwise, fill the garden section with potting soil and choose plants with similar light and watering needs.
    • Any floating plants should be placed on a brick so they sit 2 inches below the water surface. Finally, add ornamental elements such as a glass gazing ball or a wrought-iron piece.
    • Group plants at the garden center before you buy them to make sure you like how they look together.
    • To pot water plants, layer the bottom of the pot with plastic mulch. Mix in a spoonful of a slow-release fertilizer with topsoil and fill the pot to 1 inch below the rim. Dig a hole for the root ball, place it in the soil, and fan out the roots. Cover with about 1 inch of soil. Top-dress with pea gravel.
    • Most waterlilies need 3–8 feet of space for spread; however, miniature waterlilies are now available that require only 1-1/2 feet.
    • Submerged plants grow beneath the pond surface; they do not need soil to thrive. They are called oxygenators because they add oxygen to the water—a must if you want fish in your water garden.
    • Group plants at the garden center before you buy them to make sure you like how they look together.
    • To pot water plants, layer the bottom of the pot with plastic mulch. Mix in a spoonful of a slow-release fertilizer with topsoil and fill the pot to 1 inch below the rim. Dig a hole for the root ball, place it in the soil, and fan out the roots. Cover with about 1 inch of soil. Top-dress with pea gravel.
    • Most waterlilies need 3–8 feet of space for spread; however, miniature waterlilies are now available that require only 1-1/2 feet.
    • Submerged plants grow beneath the pond surface; they do not need soil to thrive. They are called oxygenators because they add oxygen to the water—a must if you want fish in your water garden.
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