Even if you want a big water garden with a fountain, waterfall, stream, and a variety of fish and plants, make a starter garden first. A small-scale project offers experience you’ll find helpful when tackling larger projects later.
A starter garden brings the beauty of water to your landscape in a minimum of time and for much less cost than it takes to develop a large water garden. It is also more manageable when it comes to time, requiring less than an hour of maintenance every few weeks. You can have a water garden with in a small space. Sometimes called mini ponds or mini gardens. Starter gardens set by an entrance are a delight for visitors. Tucked into a corner of a patio, they’re a pleasant source of sound or a sparkling focal point when incorporated into the landscape.
You can make a starter water garden with a fountain that’s formal or informal, raised or in the ground. A starter water garden with a fountain is the logical choice for small yards or patios and mini gardens since they all provide a point of interest in a courtyard or in a tiny plot outside of an apartment.
Home or Factory Made Fountains?
Urns are popular containers for fountains. And they’re easy to set up. Simply install a small pump in the bottom of the urn and fill with water.
Starter gardens can be handmade or arrive from the factory ready to install. Make one from a ceramic pot or try a small kidney-shaped pond formed with flexible liner and tucked into a flowerbed. A pre-made fountain, outfitted with fish and plants, or an aboveground preformed garden complete with flagstones stacked in a low wall around a liner can serve as a starter garden. There are even portable water gardens.
A starter water garden with a fountain is an inspiration. Many people who begin small find they’ve enjoyed their first creation so much that they want to do a second, more ambitious feature, building on the skills they have learned. Beginning gardens can also provide the first piece of a much larger project. For example, your small pool could eventually become the foot of a waterfall or stream.
Clay pots and pottery shards create a whimsical that takes little time to build or maintain. In cold climates bring such a fountain indoors for the winter. Your starter garden with a fountain could be just a temporary one until you move on to bigger projects. If you dispose of it, you can reuse the flexible liner and move flagstones and boulders in the landscape to another site. When finished with a water garden container, you can fill it with soil and use it as a planter. And you can reuse a pump in a new water feature or sell it to another aspiring water gardener.
Fish and Fountains
For plants and fish, a mini garden should hold at least 5 gallons of water, but leave out the fountain. Splashing interferes with plant growth and creates currents the fish have to fight. Instead, equip minimum-size gardens with a small poolside spitter fountain or a gentle aquarium bubbler to aerate the water without creating too much disturbance.
If water becomes cloudy or foul smelling in a small starter water garden with a water fountain, remove 10 percent of the water from the bottom with either a siphon hose or water pump. This reduces the buildup of toxic organic wastes.