How to Build a Container Water Garden


| 3/14/2012 2:29:29 PM


Tags: outdoor living, diy project, container gardening, water garden, water plants,

As the weather warms up and we turn our attention to outdoor living, now is the time to spruce up your porch or patio for spring and summer. A container water garden will enhance any outdoor living room and is relatively easy to assemble and maintain. Most water plants are tough to kill, and because the plants are just planted in submerged pots, it’s easy to rearrange your water garden if you get bored with your initial design.

container water garden 
Photo By la fattina/Courtesy Flickr 

Selecting a Container

If it holds water, then it will probably hold a water garden. With their short, wide openings and rustic look, half barrels are popular vessels for a container water garden, but ceramic pots work well, too. An unsealed terra cot pot will seep water (especially if it has drainage holes in the bottom!), so if you’re going to use one, be sure to coat the inside with a nontoxic waterproof sealant. If you’re going to use an old wood vessel and are concerned about toxins seeping into the water and plants, line the inside with a pond liner.

Keep in mind that once the vessel is full of water, it’s going to be heavy, so pick a durable material.

Water Plants

When selecting water plants, look for plants with variety that will group well together. If you’re going to have a tall, spiky plant, pair it with a soft, cascading one for contrast and some floating lilies for a splash of color. Remember to scale the size of the plants to the size of the container; small plants will be dwarfed by a half barrel, while large plants spilling out of a small vessel will look crowded and chaotic. It’s likely that your water garden will be viewed from multiple angles, so keep that in mind when designing and arranging. If you plan to place your container water garden against a wall or in a corner place the tallest plant at the center of the back to create an appealing backdrop for the other plants to rest against. If the garden will be in full view, place the tallest plant in the center, and build around it.

Some popular water plants include:




elderberry, echinacea, bee hive

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