There are hundreds of little projects that can add a focal point to your yard, but one of the most dynamic is a water garden. Having one will most likely put you in rare company on your block. That’s because people think that installing and maintaining water features are much harder than they actually are. In fact, a fully functioning water garden can be installed in a single day!
Choosing a Liner
The first major choice you have to make when putting in a water garden is how large you want to go. There are several plastic forms that run from 10 gallons to over 200. If you are not a fan of the forms, you can buy a pond liner and design your own. Liners are more work and require significantly more knowhow than the performed plastic. For most applications, unless you are planning on putting in a Koi pond, a preformed pond is versatile enough for your needs.
Preparing the Site
The location of your water garden will have a great deal of influence on the maintenance required to keep it clear. Try to avoid areas near large deciduous trees that will drop leaves into the area during the fall. Keeping the pond away from trees in general is a good idea. Root systems can grow into the pond liner and rip it.
The entire pond area needs to be cleared out and made ready for a dig. This means that any grass needs to be mowed down, raked and cleared. While it may not seem important, removing the debris prior to digging will keep rocks, sticks and other items from falling into the pit.
With a prefabricated pond you need to dig out an area that is one to two inches larger than the liner you have purchased. It should be an approximate match to the liner, including any ridges that exist. The area must be kept level. This is the most labor intensive parts of the job, and depending on the size of your prefabricated pond, could take anywhere from an hour to a full day.
Once the pit is cleared out, add an inch or two of pool sand to the bottom of the pit. This will create a cushion between the hard base ground and the pool liner and allow it to be adjusted and leveled as it is being put in. Wet this sand down and then slid the pool liner into place.
After moving the liner into place, fill the pond with a garden hose. You can install edging around the exterior or plant water loving plants around them – some possible choices are Iris and papyrus. Also consider installing a fountain or pond pump to keep the water circulating and reduce algae build up. These pieces of equipment are easy to install and don’t interfere with the growth of surface water plants like water lilies and water poppies.
Choosing a water feature as part of your backyard makeover can add both visual interest and a sound element that might currently be missing. And you can do it all by yourself, or with the help of a few close friends, in just a weekend.