Every garden is an oasis, and even a modest water feature can add a sense of coolness and calm. Fortunately, there's no elaborate hardscaping required to try out a water garden in your yard. You can easily make a pool into a pot out of a glazed high fired planter!
Select a large glazed high fired container at least 30" in diameter without a drain hole preferably.
However, many pots are only available with drains so plug them with silicone. This large of a pot is heavy and once it's filled with water you will not be able to move it so place it in its permanent location first. For plant materials, choose a single dwarf water lily, or plants such as canna, Lobelia, and soft rush.
Arrange the plants in the container, placing the largest in the center or at the back. To raise plants in smaller pots, set their pots atop overturned empty pots as pictured. Check that the main container is level, then fill it with water. Most aquatic plants do best with 1" or more water over their crowns.
For mosquito control, add mosquito fish or goldfish. a 30" container can accommodate size fish. Acclimate the fish by placing them, still in the plastic bags, in the tub garden for about 20 minutes. Or add a mosquito control ring, available at most nurseries. Now how hard was that!
If you are looking for a pretty, restful focal point for your deck, patio or porch, try this easy to assemble tabletop garden pot water garden. It's the perfect accessory for a slow table next to your favorite outdoor chair. For a larger, more dramatic display, position the garden planter on a stand against a tropical background.
You will need: 18" wide x 8" deep garden bowl in ceramic. 1 qt Hilo Beauty alocasia, 3 - 1 qt Oborozuki sweet flag acorus, 3 - 3" pots of great blue lobelia, 1 - 3" stone to weight down the pump, pebbles to weigh down the plants, a small electric pump from an aquarium supply shop, and small bricks to vary height of plants.
A - Hilo Beauty alocasia
B. Oborozuki sweet flag acorus
C. Great blue lobelia
Place a small electric pump inside the piece of colorful garden pottery and weigh it down with a stone, then pull the cord over the back rim of the bowl. Position the planted pots inside the container to conceal the electrical cord. Set pots of great blue lobelia on short pieces of brick to elevate the lip slightly above water.
Sprinkle pebbles on top of the containers to keep them from floating. Fill the container with water to about 2" from the top of the pot. Plug in and go......
Cool, tranquil water, shimmering in a garden pool, seems to wash away cares and tension. To bring water-garden refreshment to your container collection, you will need only a few springtime hours and a few simple ingredients: a suitable container, a sunny site, gallons of water, some bog or aquatic plants and a few water snails and goldfish to help keep the pool clean.
Container Tips: If you want a good sized water garden, buy a 25 gallon at least container; almost any leak proof vessel of the appropriate capacity will do. Avoid terracotta pots since it is meant to absorb the water and will break down faster.
A colorful glazed bowl is a great place to start. You can also use concrete, poly resin, sandstone, black clay that is high fired, metal or any other strong and durable material. It is best to select a container without drainage holes, but if there are pre-drilled, be sure to plug them tightly before filling with water. There are many silicone products available at your local home depot.
Selecting a site tips: Because a water filled container is heavy, it makes good sense to set up your water garden in its permanent location. You may prefer to place it on garden ground rather than on a deck or patio: the pool will have to be drained and scrubbed once a year, and there's always some chance of seepage.
As you evaluate possible sites, remember that it's important to provide plenty of sunshine: most aquatic plants need at least 6 hrs of full sun daily.
Filling & planting tips: Before placing the pot in it's permanent home, fill it with water, then clean out any debris that may be in the pot. Drain and refill the pot and let it sit for a week before planting. With the exception of plants which simply float freely on the surface, aquatic plants must be potted before being placed in the pool.
Plastic pots are best, since they hold up. Fill pots with garden loam and inch thick and top with sand to keep them from floating.
Submerge planted pots in the pool, usually positioning them so pot tops are 6" or more under water. A few plants do best if only partially submerged. To raise plant to the proper height, you will need to set up pedestals made from bricks or overturned plastic pots.
Add a goldfish or two to keep the water free of insects. A few snails help keep the pool clean by nibbling algae and decaying matter. Once a year drain the pool and scrub it out with a mix of water and bleach.
Suggested plants: Umbrella plant, dwarf papyrus, water hyacinth, horsetail, japanese iris, water lily and arrowhead.
Do you know what you really need for a water garden?
A pot that holds water!
When you combine, a colorful planter, water, plants, stones, greens, a pump and a fountain nozzle, you can make a stunning water garden with ease.
The steps for making a water garden are easy to follow.
1. Select a colorful, generous sized garden pot that is water proof. You do not want to use low fired terracotta clay pot, since terracotta will absorb water and break down over time. Get a lovely glazed container since these have been fired twice in a kiln and will repel water unless, and this is a big unless, they get cracked or chipped.
Then the water will search out the crack and penetrate the pot, causing it to break down over time. The last think you will need to do is plug the drain hole in the bottom if there is one. Arizona Potteryrecommends using a silicone product since these are waterproof.
2. Search out plants and ask for recommendations from your local nursery. Look for ones that flower and then select some attractive foliage. Here are a few examples:
Flowers: Japanese iris, water lily, cardinal flowers or march marigold.
Greens: Water clover, houttuynia, horsetail, or fiber optic grasses.
3. Fill the inside plastic pots with heavy garden soil, not lightweight potting mixes. They will float up. Pot the plants just like you would any other garden container. Leave room for a layer of gravel to keep the soil from washing away. Submerge the pot in water. Place most plants so that the rim are at water level. You can also float lilies on the top. Place cement block in the bottom to add height to the planted pot along with dimensional character.
Be creative when selecting the wonderful textures and brilliant flowers of aquatic plants. Use both submerged plants and floating for the most beautiful visual effect. Try for fragrance to add that extra touch and finally go for a contrasting color effect. Dark greens, with light whites and pinks.
Lastly, don't be alarmed if the water turns green at first. This happens with the nutrients in water create small algae. It is only temporary and will quickly clear. By adding a small pump you can create that soothing sound of trickling water that everyone loves.
Many pond species will thrive in a tabletop water garden. Some float, others grow in moist soil. Treat most water garden plants as annuals.
1. Water Lettuce:(Pistia Stratiotes) They have great floating rosettes of leaves and exquisite feathery roots.
Tip: Most pots come to us from our suppliers
with drain holes already drilled into the
bottoms. You must plug them up in order for
them to be able to hold water, sufficiently.
2. Elephant's ear:(Alocasia sanderiana) Moisture loving with dark green arrow shaped leaves. Each leaf has lovely silver veins that really add contrast to your arrangement.
Tip: The best way to plug a ceramic "high-fired" pot is to cover the bottom with a piece of tar paper larger than the drain hole. Then calk, tar or cement it on to the bottom of the pot. Don't just
plug the hole with calk. It will fall out, eventually.
3. Arrowhead:(Sagittaria Latifolia) Dainty leaves that are arrow shaped and a lovely white blooms. In nature this plant grows at a ponds edges.
Tip: High-fired pottery, Poly Resin, Cement, Metal, Fiberglass etc are preferable styles. Terracotta clay is meant to break down over time and is not the best product to use for a water feature.
4. Water Hyacinth:(Eichhornia crassipes) A pale blue to violet flower that clusters above floating leaft rosettes. Stunning!
Tip: Many types of water plants are colorful and bright. You don't necessarily need a colorful piece of pottery to start with. The black clay Vietnamese pottery we use is "high fired" and will wear just as good as ceramic.
5. Caladium:(Caladium bicolor) Grown for its showy green leaves that are spotted with white, pink or red. Many varieties.
Tip: A nice mixture of grasses, plants and flowers make the most interesting containers. Just use materials that you like and you can't go wrong.
6. Umbrella grass:(Cyperus involucratus) This clumping grasslike annual forms umbrella like inflorescences on top.
Water pots are not the easiest set ups to create. But, as you can see from the photos below they are some of the most beautiful. Take the time, do your research, talk to your local plant specialist and have fun.
7. Waterlily:(Nymphaea Spp) Iconic floating water garden plants. Both tropical and hardy varieties are available. Ask your local garden or nursery center.