For centuries, people have been drawn to the sights and sounds of water gardens. In Colorado, water adds an appealing element to the garden that changes from season to season. Water gardens can include fountains and waterfalls, landscape lighting, rock work, statues and containerized plants in a pool. In general, a water garden consists of a pool of water and a few aquatic plants.
Perhaps the most important aspect of water gardening is choosing the right location. Most aquatic plants and fish need plenty of sun, so select a site with at least six hours of direct sunlight. Choose a site away from tall shrubs and trees for best light, and to prevent leaf debris from falling into the water. Level ground is best, and accessibility for visitors and maintenance is very important.
Next, plan your garden using some basic design principles. Consider the size of your property when planning your pool. Small ponds are best for small yards. The shape and style of your pool should match the surrounding landscape. Features like waterfalls, rock work, and lighting depend on your budget, and the style and purpose of your garden pool.
When choosing aquatic plants, keep in mind that plants should cover no more than two-thirds of the surface of the water. There are many plants to choose from. Some are free-floating, while others have roots in soil with leaves that float. Water lilies add color, fragrance, and drama, while other plants put oxygen in the water and help keep the pool healthy. Fish can be decorative and beneficial because they are good scavengers. They eat mosquito larvae and insects, plant debris and algae.
Keep in mind that any pool, regardless of size, will need some maintenance throughout the year even after it is established. Water gardening can be a rewarding experience. With proper planning to ensure a healthy balance among the living and decorative features of a water garden, you can develop an entire ecosystem that almost takes care of itself.