How to Make a Water Garden

Don't have the outdoor space for a pond? Add a focal point to your patio or deck with a gorgeous small water garden.

A mini water garden is a great way to give your outdoor space a unique look, different from your typical soil garden. We used water garden plants such as water lily, canna, sweet flag, and more to create a stunning display your water plants will enjoy. Learn how to build a water garden in a container with these quick and easy steps.

See our complete guide to water garden care.

What You Need

  • Water-tight container
  • Bricks
  • Plants (we used mini water lily, canna, sweet flag, and lotus)
  • Water
  • Rocks

Step 1: Prepare the Container Water Garden

Choose an appropriate container for your garden and place it in a sunny spot; water garden features are hard to move once they are filled and planted. Place a few bricks in the bottom to raise the plants in individual pots to just below water level.

Step 2: Add in Plants

Arrange the potted plants on the bricks, thinking about how you will view the garden. Water lilies tend to spread out and are usually too large for a tub, but the little yellow 'Helvla' water lily is perfect. Lotus also will thrive in a container water garden.

See more plants for your water garden.

Step 3: Fill in the Gaps

Add water to your container, making sure to cover the tops of the plants. Put a few rocks in the container to keep the plants from floating up and to hide their rims. Fill in bare spots of your garden water feature with small floating plants, such as water lettuce or water hyacinth.

Check out these rock garden design ideas.

Keep It Growing

Refresh the water as it evaporates in the garden—every few days during hot weather will be needed. Let the water overflow from the container for a while to keep breeding mosquitoes in check. Mosquito dunks also help to control mosquitoes.


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