By Nikki Phipps
Want to add additional charm and tranquility to your garden? Incorporate a water feature. No matter what size or type of garden you have, there are a number of water features that will fit into any design or space, as well as any budget. A garden pond can add special qualities to nearly any landscape.
Vinyl or fiberglass pond liners are widely available at garden centers or through water garden suppliers. These come in a variety of sizes which offer flexible options to easily suit your particular needs. They can also be placed either above or below ground, so if your space cannot accommodate a large water pond, such as with balconies, containers make excellent alternatives.
Nearly any type of watertight container can be easily transformed into a miniature garden pond. If it’s not watertight, PVC liners are available at most garden centers which will help to waterproof your container. Half-wooden barrels and galvanized washtubs are the most commonly used.
Place your pond in a location that receives at least 4-6 hours of full sun. Make certain that your site is leveled off as well. If your space permits, stick your mini pond in the ground to help minimize the chances of it freezing over. Dig out the soil, keeping it large enough for your pond liner or container to fit into. Level off the bottom and add an even layer of sand. Place the liner or container inside and fill in around it with the excavated dirt. Add some water and approximately 3-5 plants, depending on the size of your pond. Water lilies, cattails, water hyacinths, and sweet flag are exceptional choices. Conceal the outer edges of your pond with additional moisture-loving plants and rocks for further interest.
Moving water adds character to the garden, and both waterfalls and fountains make pleasant accents. Garden centers and professional pond retailers offer many types of easy, do-it-yourself kits that fit nearly any budget or garden design.
Waterfalls can flow over rocks or run down retaining walls. They can be formal or informal. There are numerous resources available for waterfall ideas; however, different landscapes will affect the overall design. Therefore, to achieve a successful waterfall design, be sure to choose an area and design that will fit into your specific landscape.
Fountains always make wonderful additions to any type of setting, and fountain kits can make this possible. Fountains come in an array of choices to suit your personal preferences; they can splash, gurgle, spray, drip, etc. You can place your fountain just about anywhere. For instance, the bottom of a small pond or even a large container such as an urn, planter, barrel, or strawberry jar can create stunning homes for your fountain. Place the fountain pump in the bottom of your pond or container and follow the instructions included with your kit. Enhance the fountain with stones, pebbles, and plants.
Hollowed-out bamboo canes can also be transformed into serene water features. For example, drill some holes in various areas along the cane. Attach the cane, in an upright position, to a submersible pump placed in the bottom of a large container, such as a half-wooden barrel. Fill with water, plug it into a nearby outlet, and relax to the soothing sounds of water trickling from the cane.
You could also place a stone basin among a group of plantings. Make sure the basin is large enough to catch water. Hollow out 3/4 of a bamboo cane and cut this into two varying lengths, one long and one short, with the shorter piece hollowed only halfway. Slightly angle the hollowed end of the short cane (this is where the water runs out). Meanwhile, place a submersible pump in a reservoir behind the basin and secure in place using stones. Insert vinyl tubing through the large piece of cane, fastening the bottom part to your submersible pump. Drill out a hole near the center of the small piece of bamboo just large enough to fit the top of the larger piece inside, running the remainder of vinyl tubing through the small cane. Once secure, seal this with a waterproof sealant such as caulking (clear). Conceal the reservoir with plants. Fill both the basin and reservoir with water, plug it up, and enjoy its soft trickle effect.
If ponds, waterfalls, or fountains are not your thing, even the most subtle of water accents, such as basins and birdbaths, can add a sense of peace to your garden. Birdbaths can be nothing more than a shallow dish of water sitting on an over-turned container.
There are endless ways to add water to your landscape; simply use a little creativity and see what happens.
This article was written by Nikki Phipps and sponsored by Gardening Know How, your source for gardening information. www.gardeningknowhow.com
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