Everyone loves to look at a beautiful water garden. The tinkling sound of the waterfall or the plant decorated pond can bring about a sense of peace. To have your own water garden might seem like a lot of effort, especially when you need to consider the safety aspect, such as the well-being of the aquatic plants or animals. However, this does not have to be difficult. In fact, designing a water garden with already the safety in mind can actually make creating your water garden easier and more worthwhile.
In this article, you will find what it is you need to know about water garden safety that will help you prepare an environment for your aquatic plants to thrive in and to keep your aquatic animals healthy.
Quite often, when people want to make something, they usually jump right into the building process. If you’re experienced or have done it before, then this method is fine. On the other hand, if it is your first time or you’re just learning, you might miss out on important or even vital information by getting right into it. As you go through this article, you will understand what it means to think ahead and include safety in your planning process. At the very least, you will gain a clearer view of how being safety-minded can make you more effectively create your own beautiful water garden.
Beginning with Safety
Before you begin building or putting together your water garden, there are 3 basic factors you should consider to having a safe water garden, regardless of what type of feature it is. These are:The quality of the water
- The size or dimension of the feature
- The construction materials
- Water Quality
If you know that the earth is made up of over 70% water and that our body is made up of over 60%, then you probably understand the importance of water to living things. For your aquatic plants to thrive, just like us, they too need good quality water. If the water is contaminated, then the growth of the plant will be affected or worse, cause death.
Likewise, if you don’t have healthy water for your fish, they may not be as lively as you expect them to be or live for very long. Some people specifically prepare a water garden for a particular species or a variety of aquatic plants or animals. If this is what you’re going for, then it is necessary to have clean and good quality water.
Depending on your location, water is generally already tested. If your water source comes from rainwater tanks, for example, then they’re most likely unclean. One simple way to have rainwater fit for safety is to clean the barrels with bleach at least once a year and to routinely clear the tube or gutter that carries the rainwater into the tanks. This can guarantee your plants and fishes a safer water to drink.
The next important factor to think about is how big you want this water garden feature to be. Knowing what you want now can certainly save you time and effort later. It can also define what your next step is going to be. In the case of providing a breeding ground for certain species, you can probably look for a small sized container. A good example is using a clean watertight container. In regard to safety, do not clean the container with soap or detergent, as this can leave residues that can seriously affect your plants or fish.
This goes in line with your feature size. What materials you need will depend on what your plan is. Of course, it always pays to have the best material you can afford, but if you’re not after something fancy or big, then you can get by with a simple watertight container and some bricks laying around the yard. However, it’s important to make sure that the materials you’re using from home are not old or if you are unsure of the material’s integrity, its best not to use them. You definitely don’t want to jeopardize your water garden’s ecosystem by failing to use durable materials.
A Healthy Ecosystem
There are usually two reasons why people build their own water garden. Either for ornamental purposes or to create a living water environment. Of course, sometimes it is for both. Regardless of what reason you choose, though, you still need to create a healthy and balanced ecosystem for your aquatic friends. Having a balance of nutrients and oxygen can keep your water living creatures in strong shape.
For a water garden to be self-contained, there are 4 basic requirements that will create a stable aquatic ecosystem. Preparing this in advance is definitely a safety precaution that will, in the future, prevent your plants and other living creatures to die off or be taken over by ‘aliens’.
- Rooted Floating Plants – This type of plant have their roots planted at the bottom of the pond or container and have their leaves floating on the surface of the water. These plants love the sun, so much that they need at least 10 hours of exposure. They also provide shade under the water for fishes. Another benefit of this plant is it reduces the growth of algae, which can keep your water clean.
To note: Avoid placing this plant near fountain sprays as the spray can interrupt the plant’s full growth.
- Marginal Plants – These plants also have their roots planted in the soil, but grow on the edges of the water. They’re more of a decorative addition, but due to them growing on the water’s edge, they can act as a protective barrier from wind, sun, or outside unwanted guests.
To note: This plant grows best in still waters.
- Submerged Plants – This is another type of plant that grows its roots within the soil in the waterbed, similar to the rooted floating plant. The difference is that its leaves stay underwater. Not to mention the different functions it serves. This plant is actually essential for keeping the water healthy as they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. They also absorb excess nutrients and can provide extra nutrients to the fishes by eating its leaves.
To note: Submerged plants can grow very quickly, so they can become overgrown if they’re not cut back regularly.
- Floating Plants – These plants do not require soil or be anchored to any kind of base. They naturally float on the water’s surface by extracting nutrients from the water. Their main effect is towards algae. They can reduce its growth from the shade it creates and removes excess nutrients to limit algae growth.
To note: These plants are usually common for creating small or portable water garden features, such as a small pond in a wine barrel. These are also great for fountain features.
Your Safe & Healthy Water Garden
Many people are now gaining an interest in having their own water garden. So, it is becoming more than about aesthetics, but instead is starting to have a place in a permaculture garden. Now that you have learned the basics of keeping your aquatic plants and creatures healthy, you can feel a little more confident in your desire to creating your own safe and beautiful water garden. If you want to go that extra mile and want to take up water gardening on a more serious note, then here are some additional factors you can ponder on in the form of questions.
- “Where do I want to place my water garden?” – Location can have a significant purpose, especially if you have plans to expand. You should also think about the type of weather your area often gets or what spot in your yard gets enough sunlight or rain.
- “Do you have dogs or children in the home?” – Obviously, having pets, specifically dogs, and kids can greatly affect the safety of your water garden. If you have little children or toddlers, their safety can also be at risk. This might cause you to place a fence or net around your water garden feature.
- “Is it for decoration or to grow an ecosystem? – Knowing the reason behind why you want to create a water garden does make a difference in how much safety to consider. Obviously, if it is out of decoration, then you don’t need to go so far to protect your feature, as it is only for looks. In which case, the appearance is more your end result.
Taking into account these other factors will surely have a positive result in the safety of your water garden and any other parties involved. Asking people you know, such as friends or acquaintances, about any experiences they’ve had with their own water garden can also be a great source of help. As you aim to create a safe water garden, you will have fewer regrets and have a higher chance of successfully putting together your very own beautiful water garden.
- Is electrical safety a concern when working with water gardens? Electricity is dangerous and all electrical work should be completed by a licensed electrician.
- Will rainwater run off impact my water garden? If your water garden is in a low-lying area of a yard, the rain run off may have lawn fertilizer and other chemicals which may cause your plants and or fish to die.