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Water Gardening is the New Frontier

There is growing interest in water gardening because it is refreshing and life sustaining. And it is easy to create a pond or stream in your own backyard -- no matter how small it might be.

From a tub garden to a shallow bird bath or trickling stream to a formal pool -- or converted swimming pool -- you can create a sensory delight of water, fish and frogs and a mix of water loving plants.

Van Ness Water Gardens suggests you create a "natural pond balance" with a formula of exygenating grasses, water lilies, water snails, fish and bog or aquatic plants. This balanced mix will make the ecosystem you develop self sustaining and result in clear, clean water.

The "container" for the water ecosystem can be a hole in your lawn lined with a heavy plastic pond liner or a preformed container from a wooden tub to a commercial pond form to a constructed cement lined pond. But the real heart of a pond is the ecological balance you create in and around the pond.

Just as a natural stream or pond has a rich diversity of plants, animals, insects and earth structures -- so will your successful pond.

Water Lilies

These lovely water spirits range in size from miniatures to huge flowers -- in a wide range of warm colors and with various levels of hardiness. One lily in a tub provides a touch of grandeur that inspires spiritual reprieve and smiles of delight.

Snails, Tadpoles and Frogs

The diverse lifeforms that take up residence in and around your water bring the full cycle of life to your backyard. Eggs to tadpoles to frogs -- their mating rituals and transformations give hearts of all ages insights into the wonder and mystery of life.

Water Plants

There are more fresh water plants yet to be discovered than any other plant kingdom on the earth. Water plants are powerful filters that strain debris and minerals and nutrients from the water. They also are a critical link in the food chain, supplying fish, frogs, insects and birds with nutrition. Communities are beginning to understand the incredible value of wetlands in the cycle of precipitation, ground water, and surface waters from streams and lakes to the oceans. Our wetlands are the nurseries of life, the filters of our pollution, and amazing watering holes for beauty and diversity.

In your own little pond you can explore, experiment and observe how oxygenating plants, filtration plants and surface protectors add balance to the water biosystem. Plants range in size from algae to hair grass to cattails and papyrus.

You can choose rocks, logs, and water accessories such as misters, fountains, lights or statuary to make your pond a work of art, as well as a work of nature.


As with all plants -- and animals -- that you introduce to a community, it is important to choose wisely. Just because a plant is available for sale doesn't guarantee that it is not an invasive or harmful to the environment. Do your research so you can enjoy native plants and wildlife without the tinge of guilt that comes from uninformed enthusiasm.

The wetlands are critical resources and they need our understanding and stewardship. A well balanced backyard pond can help us learn, understand, and appreciate the natural balance of our shared wetlands.

Water Gardening Web Sites:

I found two Web sites that give you all the advice and resources you need to get started:

Water Gardening Books:

Here are some books to use in researching which pond shape and depth fits your location best. These links take you to you can save up to 20% on most books.

Garden Pools Fountains & Waterfalls
Scott Atkinson(Editor), Southern Living (Editor) / Paperback / Published 1999
Save 20%

Waterfalls, Fountains, Pools & Streams : Designing & Building Water Features in Your Garden
by Helen Nash, Eamonn Hughes (Contributor)

The Complete Pond Builder : Creating a Beautiful Water Garden
by Helen Nash

Stonescaping : A Guide to Using Stone in Your Garden
by Jan Kowalczewski Whitner, Ben Watson (Editor)

Wildlife or Camping Activity

Take a nature break in a riparian biosystem to discover how water, plants and animals balance each other. Make a map, a list, or a journal of your observations to share with friends and family.


The trickle of droplets. The shimmer of ripples. The glimmer of reflections and the sparkle of sunshine. Life doesn't get any better than these precious moments!


Water watching is an age old custom. Watching the sunset over the ocean...the sunrise over a lake. Experiencing the gentle power of water helps allay fears of its power shown in floods and storms. learning respect for water and its actions is a basic skill of adulthood.


How can you apply what you know about water to make your family life more secure and more ecologically sustainable?


What WILL you do today to move toward your goal? Even one small action today makes a difference. And you can add a little tomorrow and the next day... Together we will restore our environment in our community and around the world.

For more articles about WILDLIFE GARDENING

Garden Decor: Aquascaping for Beauty and Purpose
Butterfly & Caterpillar Gardening and the Environment
Water Gardening is the New Frontier
Rocky Sloped for Habitat
Mailorder Gardening for Wildlife Friendly seeds and plants
Butterflies are Flowers of the Air