Above Ground Water Gardens

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Don’t be intimidated by the idea of adding a water garden to your landscape!  Even if you don’t have much room, you can still enjoy the simple pleasures a water garden adds to your surroundings with an above-ground garden or a small in-ground water garden that does not require a lot of space or worry.  With these tips from our experts, a simple or smaller water garden can be as rewarding and as beautiful as you could hope!

Some of the questions we are most frequently asked about above-ground water gardens:

How do I keep the water clear?  Managing a good clear and clean water environment can be quite easy – it has a lot to do with using the right combination of fish and plants. Don’t be intimidated about the care of a water garden; just a little knowledge and some water quality techniques can have you off and running to having a successful water garden!   We’ll help you understand the simple nature of maintaining a biologically balanced water garden just like mother nature does it.

Can I add the same plants I see in in-ground water gardens?  No matter the pond size, most all aquatic plants can be added to smaller water gardens.  Just make practical choices like picking plants that are a bit less aggressive so they don’t outgrow their home! Water Lilies and floating aquatic plants are also suitable for smaller water gardens whether in-ground or above ground containers.

Will fish survive in an above-ground? – Absolutely!  Fish are quite adaptable to smaller water gardens. Generally all pond hardy fish in smaller in-ground water gardens are suited to remain there all winter long.  Depending on the size of a smaller above ground container water garden, fish are also able to remain all winter long. If you have to disassemble your water garden over winter, just find them a temporary home.

Will I need to spend a lot of money on chemicals?   A proper ecological balance in your water garden environment is key and often just involves maintaining a proper bacteria level in the water garden. The only time you will find yourself spending more on chemicals is when you an unbalanced water garden causing their algae or water quality problem. In short, there is no need to invest in a broad range of chemicals if the set up is done properly.

What kind of vessel can be used as a water garden container? – Honestly anything that will hold and contain water without leaking can be adequate. So let your imagination go crazy!  Though our experts note that 30-50 gallons is the ideal small water garden, they also point out that they’ve seen smaller containers used to house a single fish or two and a water lily in as little as 10-20 gallons!   A wide range of containment vessels used whether they are made out of steel, ceramic, porcelain, clay, plastic, or other materials as long as they are not emitting some type of material of toxicity. In small raised water gardens, hard shell water garden liners can be used or other forms of other vessels. Larger pottery can also be used as long as you can seal it up by blocking the drain hole often present in larger pottery. Whisky barrel liners are also available to convert a ½ whiskey barrel into a small containment vessel.

In-ground water gardens are usually lined with a flexible rubber liner that can be customized for size and design preference

If I just want to grow a few of my favorite water garden plants, will they survive in a large pot or bowl of water on my patio? – Yes!  Whether it be water lily, water lotus, floating aquatics or many other marginal water garden plants, they are all very adaptable to a water garden of any size.  I’ve seen a simple small 10-20 gallon container well suited for growing an upright Iris with floaters or even a single or two water lilies. Water Lotus are also very unique in that they can grow well in containers of smaller size as long as you manage constant water to surround their root area.

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