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Enjoy the Beauty of Your Own
Water Garden

Water GardenNo matter the shape, size or location, a water garden will receive more attention than any other feature in a landscape. Humans, as are other animals, are naturally drawn to water and you will find that family members and guests alike will congregate around any water feature.

Water gardens add two elements most back yard gardens lack--movement and sound. The shimmer of sunlight (or moonlight) off the water surface or the flash of a fish will always tantalize the eye. Combine this with the sound of a gurgling waterfall, the croak of a frog, or the flutter of a birdís wing as it takes off from its bath and you have a combination that captivates the curious and soothes the stressed. The happy sights and sounds of your personal poolside retreat will make even the most trying day fade to the background -itís a non-prescription blood pressure treatment. 

Barrel Water GardenNow, thanks to modern materials, anyone can have one. Lightweight soft rubber liners and rigid fiberglass pools have replaced cumbersome concrete structures. Small submersible pumps and filters make it easy for anyone to have sparkling clear water. Even if you live in a town home, you can have a barrel garden on the patio made from a ceramic pot.  Of course, any project starts with a plan, so letís see whatís involved.

The first consideration is placement of the pool. The most important rule to follow here, is not to put the pool in a low spot where water will drain into it. Lawn fertilizers, chemicals and even the runoff from cedar shingles can wreak havoc with plants, fish and water clarity. Most books recommend a location offering one half day of sun or more. While that is the ideal situation, I have seen beautiful pools in heavy shade. Just remember to keep the leaves out of the water and realize your water lilies and hyacinths wonít bloom as much.

High altitude water gardeners have special considerations when it comes to pool fish and plant life. Aquatic plants should be restricted to Zone 3 hardiness. The deep part of the pool should be kept at least 3 feet below the water surface for overwintering fish.

The shape and size of the pool will be determined by its location and the style of your surrounding landscape. Formal landscapes usually dictate a regular geometric shape while informal gardens usually accommodate a free-form shape. The rule I recommend everyone follow is to make your pool as large as space and budget allow. A larger pool is easier to maintain and is more forgiving of mistakes on your part and weather extremes on Mother Natureís part. Also, most first-timers end up enlarging their first pool or adding a second.

Be careful of water gardens and young children. Also, check local zoning laws before installing a water garden. Some may require enclosures or limit size or depth.

The heart of your water garden, the filter, is very important. By choosing the right filtering system to balance your fish and plant population, you assure yourself of having the clearest water possible, and the greatest enjoyment of your water feature. Remember the flash of fish I mentioned earlier? Well, you wonít see it long with dirty water.  Koi are a favorite fish for outdoor pools. They are hardy, capable of overwintering and can grow to 2 feet.

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