Amazing Water Gardens
These readers made a splash with their backyard water gardens.
The Stephens family from Mineral Wells, West Virginia
We wanted a pond for years, so we finally decided to go for it. We are so glad that we did because we really enjoyed doing this together as a family.
For anyone that is planning on putting in a water garden, be sure to site out the spot where you will get the most enjoyment out of it...either outside a window, near a seating area, or in our case, close to the front entrance of our home.
To start out, we used a long rope to outline the area we wanted as the pond. Then we dug it out, laid the liner and installed the pump and filter. We ended up saving a lot of money by building our own filter. Then we added the water and plants, such as hyacinths, water lilies, and elephant ears. We landscaped the whole area and added fish.
Our advice for anyone who wants to put in a pond is to do your research and go for it! You'll be glad you did. —Scott and Jodi Stephens, Mineral Walls, West Virginia
We only had a split level space in the back of our house where we wanted to build our pond. We thought we would put an upper waterfall outside of the master bedroom's glass doors with a stream leading to another waterfall that drops to a pond. The lower waterfall could be seen from the living room windows.
Tammy and the boys lifted and placed the waterfall rocks into just the right places.
This is the lower waterfall and pond area. Some of the plants here are: asparagus fern, horsetail, crown-of-thorns, cannas, triangle palm, philodendron and daylilies. We've never been to Hawaii, but this is our version of it. the tiki statues make it more tropical and we all feel like we're on our own tropical island.—Tammy, Ron, Jennifer, Keith and Kyle Georgi, Alpine, California
The steep hill on our property was always a problem to mow, so I decided to do something about it. My plan was to cover the hillside with rocks and put a 80-foot perennial border along the top, with a huge water garden.
With some help from friends, we put down landscape fabric and covered it with stones. It took about four weeks to finish this part.
After the pond was dug, we put in the liner and leveled it, making way for the landscaping and waterfall. We handpicked the rocks for the waterfall and they fit perfectly for the falls.
We enjoy the pond and border so much. I screened in the veranda and we sit out there every evening when we get home from the office. Plus, my daughter gave me a daybed and I sleep out there sometimes with my two cocker spaniels. —Ethel Johnson, Jonesborough, Tennessee
I have a very small backyard with a small lawn area and a retaining wall of river rock, which I wanted to redesign. So I replaced the old retaining wall with a smaller wall of cement blocks. I designed a water stream with a waterfall and built a bridge across where the stream would flow under.
My waterfall and stream is lined with reddish rock, which were given to me by a friend. The most labor-intensive part of the project was the stream. It is 45 feet long, 4 feet wide and approximately 3 inches deep. It meanders on a decline and ends at a basin.
After I completed the structural work, I was able to landscape the area. We had to be very careful because there is very little sunlight at the waterfall so we had to select plants and flowers requiring very little sunlight. Today, my project is still ongoing, but hope to finish it soon. —Ralph Navarro, Auburn, California