Water Garden Makeover

See how one couple gave their pond a fresh new look, and get tips for adding a water garden to your yard.

X

    Everything in this slideshow

    • There's a cliche about making lemonade from a bad situation, and it's perfectly apt for what was a smelly, swampy section of Lisa and Craig Treadaway's Raleigh yard. They transformed the problem spot into a stunning 3,000-square-foot pond.

    • A Humble Start

      The water feature started as a sediment pond to catch runoff from neighboring properties. It was perfectly functional but completely unattractive. It was also a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

    • Use Stone

      The Treadaways wanted their new pond to feature lots of stone, so they brought in rocks for the edges, a waterfall, and even a scenic footbridge.

    • Add Moving Water

      Keeping the water moving addresses the mosquito problem. They use a recirculating pump that pushes water over a small waterfall.

    • Encourage Life

      A variety of critters, from dragonflies to frogs and fish, also reduce the mosquito population.

      Test Garden Tip: Make sure your water feature attracts insect-eating wildlife by limiting the use of pesticides, growing a wide array of nectar plants, and planting shrubs or trees to provide habitat.

    • Enjoy Ambiance

      Water cascading off the surface of a rock or over a small waterfall creates the babble of trickling water. The Treadaways discovered that letting the water fall over different surfaces and at varying heights created subtle differences in sound.

    • Cultivate Hardy Water Lilies

      The couple has a wonderful collection of hardy water lilies. These plants thrive in most sunny water gardens and grow larger and showier each year. Unlike their tropical cousins, they safely overwinter outdoors.

    • Choose the Right Varieties

      There's a wonderful range of water lily varieties to choose from. Some, like 'Attorney Elrod', shown here, stay relatively small (this one grows 3-5 feet wide). It's one of the Treadaways' favorites. Large varieties grow 8 feet wide or more.

    • Create Shade

      Algae thrived in the Treadaway's old pond. To keep the pest from disfiguring their new water feature, they shaded the water surface with foliage, including water lilies.

    • 10 of 17

      Provide an Edge

      The Treadaways surrounded the 3-foot-deep pond with a sloping wall of stone. This makes it easy for turtles and other wildlife to access the pond.

    • 11 of 17

      'Pink Sparkle'

      'Pink Sparkle' is another favorite water lily thanks to its reliable show of fragrant pink flowers. The purple-mottled leaves are a wonderful accent to the blooms.

    • 12 of 17

      Mix it Up

      The Treadaways looked beyond water lilies for adding color and texture to the their pond. Lotuses provide height, for example, and variegated water iris brings in a different texture.

    • 13 of 17

      Lotus

      Lotuses, such as 'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum', shown here, bring an intricate beauty to the pond. This magnificent variety has 12-inch-wide flowers in a wonderful blend of yellow and pink. The large leaves, which can reach 2 feet across, lend the pond a tropical feel.

    • 14 of 17

      Grow Marginal Plants

      Marginal plants thrive along the shallow edges of the pond and include types such as this interesting horsetail. Though it produces no blooms, it offers an intriguing texture reminiscent of bamboo.

      Note: Horsetail can be invasive; it's best to plant it in a container.

    • 15 of 17

      Include a Few Tropicals

      Elephant's ears add a lush look to the pond. Selections such as 'Red Stem Rhubarb', shown here, provide a touch of color with burgundy-red veins and stems. Or look for varieties such as 'Black Magic' that offer purple-black foliage.

    • 16 of 17

      Be Sure to Enjoy It

      After transforming the old pond into a work of art, the Treadaways installed a flagstone patio with built-in fire pit. It's become their favorite place to relax after a long day.

    • Next Slideshow The Best Plants for Your Water Garden

      The Best Plants for Your Water Garden

      Add natural beauty to your water garden with the top-performing varieties.
      Begin Slideshow »
    close
    close
    close
    close
    close

    Loading... Please wait...

    I Did It!
    Share on Facebook
    Uh oh! Please pick a jpg at least 600x600px.
    Share on Facebook
    Uh oh! Your photo failed to upload. Please try again or visit your profile.
    No one has shared their photo yet.
    close

    Add My Photo close