by Matt Hall, Wildwood Nursery –
Most gardeners appreciate what moving water can do in a landscape. It can bring in wildlife, hide traffic noise, and even transform an ordinary yard into a paradise. If you are someone who has limited garden space or is confined to a patio, here are some options that allow you to transform that outdoor area into your very own paradise by the use of a water feature.
There are thousands of types of above-ground fountains that can be placed in a garden or patio. They range from tiny tabletop displays to huge courtyard centerpieces. The joy of having an above-ground piece is the variability in styles and the modest requirements of a flat bit of ground and a plug in. There are even wall mounted fountains that look amazing against garden walls.
This style of fountain is very popular for homeowners who are looking for a more permanent feature. The underground design involves a below-ground basin with a decorative feature placed at ground level. A pump recirculates the water over the feature into a bed of stones that are placed over the basin so as to blend the feature into the garden. For this style of feature one would need a minimum of one foot of soil depth to successfully bury the water basin.
This is a great selection for people who want to have pond plants without a pond. Traditionally “duck-egg pots” and half wine barrels were the choice of water gardeners, but now there are much better (and lighter) options for a bowl garden. Good ones will have a shelf for marginal plants, like cannas and irises, as well as a pass-through to hide the cord of a pump or light. If weight isn’t an issue, a pot without drain holes that is fully glazed can also do a great job. These days there are some great miniature water lilies, cat-tails and irises that look quite sharp in a small pot.
Tips for Small Space Water Gardening:
• Mosquitos are unlikely to use a water feature to lay eggs as they prefer still water.
• Having a small basin at the top of your water feature, an inch or two deep, will become a favorite spot for bathing hummingbirds.
• There are three broad types of water plants: submerged (sit on the bottom and grow up), marginal (live on the bank or in shallow water), and floaters (live on the surface).
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