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Southeast Gardening: Water in the Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

A water feature, no matter how simple or small, makes your private outdoor place a world apart.

This water garden began as a derelict pond when the house was purchased.

Whether the feature is a wall fountain gurgling in a postage stamp of a townhouse garden, or a manmade stream and waterfall in a grand garden, no element enhances life outdoors like water. For me the best is a recirculating water garden, with enough falling water to make the sounds of Eden I can hear from the porch or patio.

I recently helped with the renovation of a broken water garden. Here's how we rebuilt it using the materials on hand and from Lowe's:

The homeowner can enjoy the splash of this water feature from the dining terrace nearby, or the deck unseen on the right.

Always site the water feature for maximum enjoyment. We moved this one to where it could be seen and heard from both patio and deck.

A new flexible liner blanketed the old leaky preformed liner. If we wanted to change the size or shape we would have used a flexible liner.

The drips from each point of the statue's umbrella guarantees ample sound.

We repaired the statue with copper solder. The multiple streams coming from her little umbrella promised a nice sound.

Two concrete blocks, placed on the liner in the bottom of the pond, raise the statue nearer to the water level and conceal the pump. We threaded the tube from the pump between the blocks and through a hole in a remnant of liner, which we then draped over the blocks to conceal them. Two flagstones were placed atop the liner and blocks. The tube that connects the pump to the statue slips through the crack between the stones, making it appear that the statue is standing on a natural stone.

Water splashing onto both the pond surface and rock is almost musical.

Flagstones overhang the edge of the liner, so it can't be seen. Rather than bordering the edge of the pond with stone, we placed more flagstones atop the surrounding soil and the recently transplanted sweet flag, hostas and ferns. The outcome is more natural, and the sound soothing.

These small doughnut-like mosquito dunks melt slowly, releasing a biological control.

Maintenance is limited to topping off the water lost to splash and evaporation. The pump filter needs to be cleaned every few months. Small fish, such as goldfish, can keep mosquitoes from becoming a problem. However, copper elements, such as the umbrella on this statue, can endanger fish and plants. In this case mosquito dunks were the best way to control those pests without hurting wildlife or pets that might drink from the pond.

One of the uncelebrated aspects of a water garden may be the frog chorus that erupts after a rain.

See more Southeast Gardening Articles.