As I write this we’re coming to the end of another 90 + degree day. Is there a better topic to write about than cool, refreshing water? It just feels cooler to write about it and I find listening to running water or a fountain to be quite relaxing. I’ve always dreamed about adding a fish pond to my garden but even if you have a small space such as a deck or patio a small container can be transformed into a unique water feature. A project such as a container water garden sounds like it could be complicated to construct but it is really not all that difficult to assemble or maintain.
Here are some tips to build your own container water garden:
- The Container: While you may think it is complicated to choose the right container the reality is any water-tight vessel can be used for this type of garden. Even a pot that is 16 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep will do. You can use a metal wash basin, a ceramic pot or even an antique bathtub if you have enough room. You can use a whiskey barrel or wine cask but you need to line them as water causes the wood to leach harmful chemicals into the water. It is usually best to use a container with a dark interior as this will help prevent algae from becoming a problem and it makes the container look deeper which is aesthetically more pleasing.
- The Plants: Combining several types of plants in your container is a way to not only make your container look attractive but it also helps to maintain an ecological balance in the container. Floater plants such as Water Lettuce, Water Lilies or Water Hyacinths can help prevent algae from growing in your container. About 50% to 60% of the water surface should be covered by these plants. Submersible plants, such as anacharis, live under the surface of the water and help to oxygenate the water in the container. This is particularly important if you plan to have fish in your container. Finally, marginal plants such as Papyrus add height as well as assist in the prevention of algae.
- How About the Fish: Fish are optional but they do play an important role that goes beyond just looking pretty and adding interest to the container. They eat mosquito larvae and their droppings provide fertilizer for the plants. 2 or 3 fish are generally enough to get the job done. Don’t forget that a screen may be needed to keep your fish away from the neighborhood cats or other critters.
This is a fun project that you can do with your kids and it will help add some special interest to your outdoor sitting area. If you decide to try this project please share your container with us on our Facebook page.