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Thought about having a small container water garden for your patio or deck? Water gardening is a great hobby, but a container with aquatic plants and perhaps some fish will also look great greeting visitors by the front door. Here are some container water gardening ideas that will help you decide just how to create one or more.
A container water garden can be created using any type of container provided it is water sealed. A container that is not otherwise considered or designed to function as a fountain, must be fixed up so it can hold water and not deteriorate form being wet. Large ceramic pots work well as long as the insides are water sealed. Probably the most popular idea is to purchase a kit that uses a Whiskey Barrel design with a pre-formed plastic liner that fits inside to hold the water while still maintaining the rustic outer whiskey barrel appearance.
The larger the water surface area of the container, the more aquatic plants you can have. So you may want to get several containers and group them, perhaps even create a tiered grouping to create more visual interest and variety of heights. These container water gardening ideas ares also used when dealing with traditional containers for plants alone. You can work them in with your regular planting containers.
A container water garden should be designed primarily around the kind of aquatic plants you would like. You may want to create a Zen like container water garden with a low profile container with a single Lotus or single Water lily. The design principles of arranging plants in a conventional container apply to a water garden as well. Groupings of plants that provide contrast, a variety of textures and colors will add to its appeal. Select plants of different shapes and size and make sure you read about how large they grow and their tolerance to freezing temperatures. Also consider the balance of water surface to the plants so it doesn’t look crowded or overgrown.
If you add fish to your water garden, the volume of water the container can hold will be important. The more the volume the better as the temperature of the water will not undergo drastic extremes which most fish do not like. Mosquito fish however, can tolerate warm water quite well. If your container holds more than 20 gallons of water you can add any type of goldfish.
With the addition of fish, along with the plants, you are creating a mini ecosystem and as such, a harmonic balance must be achieved between the capacity of the bacteria in the container and the debris and waste contributed by the fish. Adequate oxygen levels must also be provided and so a small recirculating pump that has some kind of way to aerate the water should be included. This could also provide the element of sound and splashing. It will also disturb the water’s surface and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.
If you have ever had a fish aquarium, you are probably familiar with feeding the fish, adding aquatic plants and cleaning out the aquarium’s filter from time to time. The maintenance of a container water garden outdoors is quite easy since the plants do much to keep the water clean. Just don’t add too many fish that exceeds the ability of the bacteria to break down the waste material. The water will evaporate over time so keep an eye on the level or better yet, install a float valve connected to a water source and you won’t have to worry about evaporation.
Don’t limit your ability to have more than just a container water garden. Consider other water features as well. Water features is a collective term that includes all types of fountain like designs such as tabletop fountains, container water gardens, stand-alone fountains, bubbling urns, rock waterfalls and ponds.