Exploring the Beauty of Water Gardens: A Beginner's Guide Including 6 Planning and Design Tips

Here’s a word picture for you.

It’s an exquisite summer day to be out in your garden. The sun is shining, and fluffy clouds provide brief moments of cool shade. Water bubbles merrily in the background, and you smell the fresh aroma of water lilies. In this moment, your world is at peace.

If you’d like to create the possibility of such moments in your own backyard, a water garden may be perfect for you. 

In this blog, the team here at Ebyland,  introduces the various aspects of water gardens: what they are, their benefits, design tips, and more! 

Let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

  • What is a water garden
    1. What is a water garden?
  • Benefits of a water garden
    2. Benefits of a Water Garden
  • Five things to know before you get started
    3. Five Popular Garden Styles For Inspiration
  • Tips for planning and creating your water garden
    4. Tips for planning and creating your water garden

What is a Water Garden?

A water garden is a carefully designed aquatic landscape that blends the soothing elements of water with a curated selection of plants, rocks, and (sometimes) fish to create a beautiful water feature. They range from small, ornamental features like ponds or water-filled containers to larger, extensive setups involving canals, fountains, and more. Usually, they’re around 12-18 inches deep.

Water gardens usually incorporate water lilies, lotus, and various submerged or floating plants, which add visual appeal and help maintain the water's ecological balance. The natural ecosystem will create clear, good-quality water if the flora and fauna are curated correctly. 

If you love DIY projects, a water garden can be a gratifying experiment. However, if you want to ensure a flourishing garden without trial and error, you can hire an installer.

But while there are common elements in many water gardens, you can get creative with many different styles. Here are a few examples:

Types of Water Gardens

  1. Pond Gardens: A pond can be designed to be still or include a pump or fountain to create movement and make great fish ponds. You can maintain good water quality in a still pond by choosing a proper selection of plants and fish. Adding a fountain or waterfall keeps your water oxygenated.  
  2. Container Gardens: A container garden is an excellent option if you only have a small space to work with. You can use pretty much any container as long as it is watertight. Container gardens are generally too small for fish but work well to grow a small selection of aquatic plants. 
  3. Bog Gardens: Bog gardens are lovely for plants that thrive in damp conditions, such as taro, canna lilies, and irises. These gardens require a steady supply of moisture, so they flourish best along the edges of an existing pond or in a depressed section of your yard that collects water following rain. This garden style is ideal for establishing an authentic ecosystem that provides shelter and living space for frogs, lizards, dragonflies, and other water creatures. 
  4. Stream Gardens: If you have a stream flowing through your property, you can create a stream garden using rocks to build waterfalls, rapids, or other patterns. This creates a soothing sound, oxygenates the water, and creates an ideal environment for plants, fish, and other creatures. 
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Benefits of a Water Garden

A backyard water garden is a harmonious blend of beauty, relaxation opportunities, and ecological benefits that create a more enjoyable and environmentally friendly outdoor space. 

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the benefits

1 - Aesthetic Appeal

Water gardens are beautiful and enhance the overall appearance of your backyard. Shimmering water, aquatic plants, and colorful fish create a serene, inviting atmosphere. 

2 - Peaceful Atmosphere

As we stated previously, water gardens create a very peaceful atmosphere. The sound of flowing water provides a calming and peaceful environment, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. In fact, studies have shown that just being near “blue spaces” (areas with water) positively affects mental health.

3 - Biodiversity

By incorporating different plants in and around your water garden, you can increase the species and varieties of plants in your yard. This biodiversity promotes a rich, healthier ecosystem. 

4 - Sustainable Landscape

Water gardens can be integrated into sustainable landscaping practices like rainwater harvesting. They also help remove pollutants from the air, creating better air quality.   

5 - Educational Opportunity 

Water gardens can be a great learning opportunity for both children and adults, offering insights into aquatic ecosystems, plant growth, animal behavior, and more!

6 - Cooling Effect 

Water cools the surrounding air, creating a pleasant space even in the hot summer months. 

7 - Creative Outlet

Designing and caring for a water garden lets you express your creativity by selecting plants, rocks, decorations, and layout. 

8 - Physical Activity

Water gardens require a lot of upkeep, which will keep you physically active.

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Five Things to Know Before You Get Started

It’s important to be knowledgeable and well-prepared before starting a project. Here are a few things you should determine before investing in a water garden


  1. Location and Space: Choose an appropriate location that receives the right amount of sunlight and shade for the plants you want to grow. Consider the available space to determine what type of water garden fits your overall landscape design. 
  2. Design and Layout: Choose your water garden's size, shape, and depth. Think about pathways, seating areas, and the overall aesthetic you want to achieve. If you have any pets or small children, consider safety features or design adjustments to decrease risk to them. 
  3. Water Source and Circulation: Ensure a reliable water source for your garden. There are many options, including a dedicated water supply, rainwater harvesting, or recycling. Plan for proper water circulation using pumps, filters, and aerators to maintain water quality and prevent stagnation.
  4. Plant and Wildlife Considerations: Research the types of aquatic plants and fish suitable for your climate and water conditions. Be sure to choose plants that contribute to the ecosystem and provide habitat for wildlife.
  5. Maintenance and Care: Water gardens generally require significant maintenance (this varies some with their design). Understand the level of maintenance required for the layout you choose and ensure you have the time and energy for it. Regular tasks might include cleaning filters, pruning plants, managing algae growth, and caring for fish.


Tips for Planning and Creating Your Water Garden

We’ll wrap up this blog with a few tips for creating your water garden. 

  1. Research before starting the project. Educate yourself about water gardening. Learn about different types of aquatic plants, fish, water features, and maintenance requirements. This knowledge will help inform your decisions and ensure the success of your water garden.
  2. Ask lots of questions. If you're new to water gardening, get input from experts, such as local nurseries, landscapers, or aquatic specialists, to get advice tailored to your region and needs. This increases your chances of creating a successful water garden from the get-go, plus it saves you money and stress.
  3. Set clear goals. Are you aiming for a serene retreat, a habitat for wildlife, or a focal point for social gatherings? Your goals will shape the design and features of your water garden.
  4. Create a budget. Consider expenses like construction materials, plants, equipment, and potential professional help. This will help prevent overspending or pausing the project due to lack of funds. 
  5. Think about safety. If you have small children or pets, consider installing a safety fence or other precautions. Remember them when choosing plants, as some may be poisonous if consumed.
  6. Deal with pests and predators. Use netting to discourage unwelcome guests like herons, cats, and raccoons from accessing the water garden. Use rocks that extend over the water's edge or hollow logs to create shelters for fish, enabling them to find refuge from predators. Clear debris and maintain water movement to prevent mosquito breeding in the water.
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How Ebyland Can Help

We hope this was a helpful introduction to water gardens and you’re feeling inspired! 

Ebyland offers a full array of quality landscaping products, including water feature products

And best of all, working with us is simple! 

  1. Our sales team will help you choose the products you need to complete your water garden.
  2. After you purchase your water garden, we will connect you with a trusted installer.
  3. Enjoy your backyard oasis! 

Beyond water gardening, we offer many choices of mulch, soils, decorative gravel, hardscaping, patio & lawn furniture, outdoor fire pits, and more.

If you enjoyed this blog, you may find the following helpful as well: 

Connect with us today for a meaningful conversation about making your water garden dreams a reality!