Add a Water Garden

Every yard has a spot for a water garden. So does every budget. This one costs less than $100 and can be done in a day, with no pump, no digging, and no waterproof liner. And it fits almost anywhere -- on a deck or patio, along a path, or tucked into the garden.
Materials & Tips

What You Need:

Four kinds of plants mingle
here: water lily, parrot feather,
cattail, and water hyacinth.

  • Water-tight container at least 24 inches across (shown, 2 feet wide and 3 feet long)
  • Level
  • Dwarf cattail
  • Water lily 'Helvola'
  • Parrot feather
  • Water hyacinths
  • Small pots (for plants needing to be transplanted)
  • Plastic mulch
  • Topsoil or dirt (not potting soil)
  • Pebbles
  • Goldfish (if desired)


The 'Helvola' is a small
water lily ideal for a
small-scale pond.

All container gardens, including water gardens, look showiest when they bring together a variety of plants. Choose a tall plant for drama and height, a flowering plant for color, a trailing plant to extend the show outside the container, and floating plants to fill the gaps.

When you buy a water lily in spring, it may have begun to grow. Handle it carefully to preserve the leaves.

If you know your dirt is poor, add a spoonful of slow-release fertilizer.

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