Water Features – General Considerations

Things You Need to Know

General Considerations

Position is everything with a water feature. It is essential that you choose an open, sunny spot and preferably one that is sheltered. Full, uninterrupted sunlight is crucial for the successful growth of most aquatic plants. It is particularly important in ensuring that plants such as irises and water-lilies, which are grown for their flowers, bloom well and for the longest possible period. You should keep your water feature well away from trees, since they shed troublesome leaves.

Garden Water Features - General Considerations Shelter is necessary in order to protect plants from damaging cold winds in early spring, and also to reduce evaporation. When moving water is to be a highlight, you should utilise a quiet corner, as strong breezes blow the water about and might spoil the effect. Indoors, ventilation during summer months and some shade, if the pool is in a conservatory, are essential.

If you are planning to use moving water, make sure that sources of electricity and fresh water are close by to operate the pump. If you need to install an electricity supply, always have the work done by a qualified electrician.

Stability is important, especially for taller containers and where there are young children around, since water is heavy and can easily overbalance a top-heavy unlike feature that is not secured to the ground. There are many strong adhesives that are very effective, but remember that if your container is not frost-proof you may need to bring it indoors for the winter, and any ground fixing should take this into account.

Small water features have much in common with garden pools, but they can never attain the natural balance that is achieved in a pool. With a traditional garden pool, plants and animals interact harmoniously to create a miniature underwater world. In a container or small water feature, this is not possible. The main reason for this is the wide range of temperatures that such a feature experiences. Sudden soaring temperatures, combined with a high level of nutrients, can create a green algal bloom in a matter of hours. Such intense warmth can also lead to oxygen depletion and the rapid demise of any fish. So, in many containers fish cannot be used.

Routine maintenance is, however, much like that for any garden pond, including regular deadheading of plants, removal of algae and checking for troublesome aphids.

Make sure to select an appropriate growing medium for the plants in your container water garden — garden soil will not do. The planting mixture must be able to sustain healthy growth, but at the same time it must not leach nutrients into the water or cause pollution. Use a soil-based medium, preferably one that has been specially formulated for aquatic plants. The compost should ideally be heavy, and any organic matter must be well decayed.

The choice of appropriate plants is important, as many aquatic subjects are fast growing and can become ungainly. Select plants of a naturally modest stature so that any cutting back necessary to keep them within bounds is scarcely noticeable. In many instances, the plants need to be of an easygoing disposition and you must be able to transplant them successfully.

Further related articles:

Pumps and fountains

Keeping water clear

Fish and snails

Principles of Water Gardening

15. January 2011 by admin
Categories: Water Gardening/Water Features | Tags: | Comments Off on Water Features – General Considerations


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