Building a garden pond is not just a matter of digging a hole, lining it with plastic and filling it with water. There are other considerations such as whether it should contain fish or just plants; how big or small it should be; its shape, and so on. Be prepared to dig a decent hole and spend many hours complaining about your aching back … but you’ll be very pleased with the results and you can happily stand around, beer in hand, praising your efforts after the fact. For those who have done it, building a garden pond can be a very satisfying project indeed.
Step 1 – Decide on where to build your pond.
Naturally, level ground would be best or else you’ll spend far more time and effort doing the levelling yourself. Building a garden pond under a tree is unwise as the roots will continue to grow and could encroach upon the pond’s territory in the future. The shade of the tree will also mean a lack of sunlight, which is essential to your pond’s survival. Since you will need electricity for the pump, proximity to an outlet is important.
Step 2 – Prefabricated or do-it-yourself liner?
Prefabs are the more expensive option but you pay for ease of installation, durability and low maintenance. Liners are available in different price ranges and generally speaking, the more you pay, the longer your liner will last.
Step 3 – Installation
For a prefab pond, tip it upside down on the area you’ve reserved, mark it out with 6 to 8 inches extra around the outside and start digging. If using liners, measure your outline keeping in mind the size of the liner you will be using.
Building a garden pond that will last for years means that all debris should be removed from the cavity to avoid punctures to the bottom of the pond. Once the hole is the required depth and size, add the prefab or lay the lining. Fill to about one quarter capacity with water so that the weight will keep the pond in place as you refill the gaps with soil.
Step 4 – Decoration
You can now add plants, rocks, bark and stone around the ‘banks’ of the pond for a more natural appearance. If you intend to add fish, plants that overhang into the water will be useful as shade and hiding spots.
Step 5 – Add aquatic plants
If you’re building a garden pond that doesn’t have a pump, you should aim for plenty of plant life to keep algae growth under control.
Step 6 – Install a pump and filter
There are dozens of models on the market and your retailer will be able to help you decide which size is best for your pond. Read the instructions and follow carefully, but it’s generally a simple task to place the pump in the water and connect the hose to it. The filter needs to be positioned in front of the pump to encourage water through the filter first. Building a garden pond and outfitting it should take little more than a weekend, which is one of the things that makes it so rewarding.
There are a lot of new trends surfacing in gardening, and water gardening is one of the new interests. Water gardening can include waterfalls, ponds, streams and fountains, all of which can be combined with lighting, plants, and fish. Water gardening need not have a pond or natural water source moreover, it could be a plastic tub, plastic lined shallow in the back yard or, almost anything that will hold water.
An important consideration in planning a water garden is the choosing a location. Plants and fish both need plenty of sunlight, places in direct light away from trees and bushes are the top places. This will also help prevent leaves and debris from collecting in the water. When planning for a water garden the next step is to choose the size you want. This depends of course on the resources you want to dedicate to it, how much money and time you are willing to spend. A water garden can be expensive if you go for a big garden filled with plants, rocks, fish, and lights.
Also think about your property’s size, which will also affect amount of time you’ll spend maintaining your water garden.Aquatic pond plants can be free floating, submerged, or marginal. What type you select is a matter of aesthetics and preference. Some plants are known for their scents, some for supplying oxygen keep the pool healthy, and some are just picturesque. Remember that the plants should only cover about half of the water, especially if you have fish. Fish are not only nice to look at; they’re beneficial in that they help keep debris at a minimum and help in controlling larva and other insects.
One of the big challenges in water gardening is maintaining water free of algae. Algae problems are usually the result of nutrients in the water from feeding fish too often or over fertilizing plants. By cutting back on feeding and fertilizing, adding more plants, putting in a pond filtering system, or replacing the water with fresh water, algae is easily controlled. If a pond is constructed correctly and maintained properly algae problems can be kept at a minimum.
All garden pools, no matter the size, require some maintenance during the year. With proper planning you can create a healthy equilibrium between living and decorative features of a water garden that can almost care for itself with simple maintenance inputs from you.
Designing your own landscape, can be both exciting and challenging. If you are considering such a project, here are some practical ideas and suggestions.
Planning the Project
Planning your landscape design is the first and most important step. Take the time to gather the information you will need to make your decisions on the elements you wish to include in your landscape design. Will you want a deck, patio, foot paths, walkways, a pond? What type of plants, trees, flowers, and ground cover will you want to use? You should research books, articles, and landscape design magazines to help you make these decisions. This will pay off in the end by saving you money, time, and frustration, enabeling you end up with a beautifully finished project to be proud of.
The landscape design is your next step. You will need to make a layout of the area to be landscaped, as close to scale as possible, and with accurate measurements. Many landscape design planning guides that will give you step-by-step instructions are available on the internet for free, and books or eBooks are abundant. Once your landscape design layout is done you can began to place your elements on the layout pad.
This should be your first or preliminary plan and as you progess, changes can be transfered to your secondary or updated plans. Changing your mind often is just fine. After all this is just on paper at this point and you have not spent any money or performed any labor yet. Experimenting with a few plans is necessary before you come up the final landscape design. A well planned landscape will never look the same in different seasons. Plan your landscape design to change with the seasons. You should attempt to design your landscape as maintenance free as possible.
Landscape Design Software
If it is hard for you to visualize your finished landscape design by just looking at your layout, there is some very good landscape design software available. Much of the landscape design software was originally developed for professional landscapers, but since has been modified for the beginner who wants to do-it-themselves. There are many do-it-yourslef landscape design software programs available today. Landscape design software lets you see a virtual picture of the landscape design and enables you to move items around and see the changes you make come to life.
Many people like to incorparate a garden in their landscape design. Gardens can be tucked away in the corner of an area, or be the focal point of the entire landscape design. Gardens can even be stragecly placed among the plants, flowers and trees so they blend in with the entire landscape design. If you like to garden, dont overlook all the garden design possiblities when planning your landscape design.
There are many reasons why you should incorporate landscaping stones into your landscaping design. The main one however is for beauty, pure esthetic beauty. For a landscaping design to look perfect it needs to have layer and this can be a hard thing to achieve without the use of landscaping stones.
You can use landscaping stones to accent certain portions of your yard, you can even plant some plants in these landscaping stones. They look great round the patio and the fence and you can even get colored landscaping stones to bring more color into your yard. This kind of color is especially nice to have in winter when everything is so bare and cold looking. The fact of the matter is that you can transform the whole look of your yard with the simple use of landscaping stones. They are like jewelry only for the yard.
There are many different kinds of landscaping stones and they come in all shapes and sized. The landscaping stones that are right for you will depend on the effect that you are trying to create with your yard. And different parts of the yard might require different sized landscaping stones. You can get a wide variety of colors for your landscaping stones and in some cases you may want to mix a couple of colors together to create a whole new and interesting look.
If you are planning to overhaul your yard this year then you need to start looking into using landscaping stones in your design. These will bring the whole yard together and if they are used right will add balance and harmony to your entire garden.
You can get landscaping stones at your local gardening center and even some home building stores will carry them. Shop around and find the landscaping stones that suit your home and your needs best before you make a purchase.
Roses are among the most beautiful flowers in the world. They are not nearly as fussy as they are thought to be, and if you treat them well, then they will reward you with gorgeous, sweet smelling blooms for years and years on end. There are commercial products meant for roses and their closely related cousins, but there are some homemade, time tested tricks that work just as well. Regardless of which methods you chose to use, remember to love your roses and they will love you right back.
First choose the right place for your rose variety- some prefer full sun, and some would rather have a slightly shaded area. Read the hang tag thoroughly before you purchase and always inspect any plants that you are buying for signs of stress, or parasite. Only buy roses that have solid, green stems with no withered brown spots. If there are leaves beginning, look to be sure that they are not yellow, a sign that they have been forced to grow too quickly, which will stress the plant. Although blooms are pretty, avoid buying already bloomed roses as they may have been exposed to unnatural lighting conditions to get them to bloom before they were really ready to do so.
Once you know where to plant, make sure that you follow the directions for how to plant your new rose. Most nurseries will have a hang tag or other literature that will offer guidelines for size and depth of the hole you will need to dig your plant, and what the best type of fertilizer is and what the best time for adding it is. Some nurseries will have knowledgeable staff that can advise you on the best fertilizer and other products to provide the optimum rose growth. Of course, there are other “green” tricks that are often free and may be better for both the plants and the planet.
After you get your rose firmly planted in its new home, give it a good drink of water, but avoid watering in the middle of the afternoon. Watering is best done in the early morning or early evening hours, and in the really hottest of water, possibly at both times. Loosely mulch around the base of the rose bush to both protect the roots and to help hold in the water. Fertilize with the product of your choice at the time deemed best by nursery experts or the hang tag and then sit back and wait for those beautiful roses to grow in.
My mother grew a Peace rose that was more beautiful with each passing year. Her secret? Once a week she watered this rosebush with the water from the fish aquarium when she cleaned it. Once a month she would feed this gorgeous plant a special “meal” that she lovingly called rosy-food. She would take the peels of two bananas and puree them in the blender with just enough water to make a smooth paste and then dump this on the base of the bush- her roses were often as wide as dinner plates and had a heavenly smell that had just the slightest hint of the bananas in them.
First choose the right place for your rose variety- some prefer full sun, and some would rather have a slightly shaded area. Read the hang tag thoroughly before you purchase and always inspect any plants that you are buying for signs of stress, or parasite. Only buy roses that have solid, green stems with no withered brown spots.
If there are leaves beginning, look to be sure that they are not yellow, a sign that they have been forced to grow too quickly, which will stress the plant. Although blooms are pretty, avoid buying already bloomed roses as they may have been exposed to unnatural lighting conditions to get them to bloom before they were really ready to do so.
Once you know where to plant, make sure that you follow the directions for how to plant your new rose. Most nurseries will have a hang tag or other literature that will offer guidelines for size and depth of the hole you will need to dig your plant, and what the best type of fertilizer is and what the best time for adding it is.
Some nurseries will have knowledgeable staff that can advise you on the best fertilizer and other products to provide the optimum rose growth. Of course, there are other "green" tricks that are often free and may be better for both the plants and the planet.
After you get your rose firmly planted in its new home, give it a good drink of water, but avoid watering in the middle of the afternoon. Watering is best done in the early morning or early evening hours, and in the really hottest of water, possibly at both times.
Loosely mulch around the base of the rose bush to both protect the roots and to help hold in the water. Fertilize with the product of your choice at the time deemed best by nursery experts or the hang tag and then sit back and wait for those beautiful roses to grow in.
My mother grew a Peace rose that was more beautiful with each passing year. Her secret? Once a week she watered this rosebush with the water from the fish aquarium when she cleaned it. Once a month she would feed this gorgeous plant a special "meal" that she lovingly called rosy-food.
She would take the peels of two bananas and puree them in the blender with just enough water to make a smooth paste and then dump this on the base of the bush- her roses were often as wide as dinner plates and had a heavenly smell that had just the slightest hint of the bananas in them.
As westerners, we are often compelled to try to control and plan all design aspects of what we want when constructing something. We try to anticipate every little detail so we don’t make a mistake. Although you will still need to organize and draw out your Japanese garden design, plus determine the shape of your landscape and what you desire for your garden, you should also allow yourself to “go with the flow” and let it “speak to you” as your garden takes shape. In other words, allow for improvisation and ideas to emerge rather than being rigid in sticking to your original design plan.
Before any work begins within the yard itself, a basic garden plan should be drawn up to help you formulate your ideas and the placement of elements. There are several questions you need to address to help with this process:
1) Do you already have an existing garden in the area where you wish to incorporate a Japanese garden style? If so, what type of garden is it (flower garden, English garden, rustic wildflower garden, etc.)?
2) Will you be able to integrate your current garden into the new Japanese garden plan? What aspects and features will remain and what will have to be moved, replaced or removed entirely?
3) What style of Japanese garden are you most interested in – tea garden, courtyard garden, stroll garden, pond and island garden, Zen rock garden or a combination of two or more? For very small areas, you will most likely stick to only one style. For those that have a large landscape, you can have your choice of any of the styles to suit your desires and landscape area.
4) How large is the area of the site that you are considering using? Does it have natural hills and valleys? Are there any elements, such a stream, already present? Take a good visual view of your selected site and note down all the details on paper. Take measurements as well, so you know the exact area size you will be working with.
5) What elements and features are important to you? For example, do you wish to add a waterfall, water basin, or a rock arrangement? Would you like one small area to feature a Zen garden? Is a stepping-stone pathway that leads to a gate appealing?
6) Will you be building this garden by yourself or will you have help? The size, design and amount of work to create your Japanese garden will affect this answer. Obviously, building a very large stroll garden by yourself would take forever and be impractical.
7) If you plan to use large boulders or plant more mature trees (rather than saplings), how will you get them into your garden? Is there room and access for large machinery to help with placement? Keep in mind boulders and large trees are extremely heavy.
8) Will your garden be formal, semi-formal, or informal (rustic)?
9) Many Japanese gardens are actually built around a theme. Do you have a theme in mind for your garden? An example of a theme would be a miniaturized version of “The Bridge To Heaven”, which is a marble and stone bridge that spans the famous Dragon Beard Ditch in China. This bridge was built over 600 years ago to allow the Ming and Qing emperors to cross over on their way to the Temple of Heaven. Your theme could even revolve around a smaller replica or area of an original famous garden of Japan. Read books and view photographs of existing gardens to get some ideas.
10) What do you want to achieve with your garden? Will it be used primarily for meditation? Do you wish to incorporate a strolling pathway with new visual delights beyond each curve? Do you want the invigorating sounds of water, such as a waterfall or fast moving stream? Will it be a place to sit quietly and contemplate nature? Understanding the concept behind the garden design is important.
In conclusion, these types of questions should be contemplated carefully and answered thoroughly before you begin to put your design down on paper, otherwise you could end up with a garden that holds no meaning for you or your visitors. A Japanese garden should have a “reason for being.” What are your reasons?