What is a water garden?

A water garden which is also known as an aquatic garden is a type of a manmade feature hosting a great place for koi pond plants and other perennials. Water gardens can be defined as any exterior or interior landscape or architectural element whose major purpose is to display, house or propagate a particular aquatic plant variety. The primary focus is on koi pond plants but at times, they can be used to house ornamental fish which may feature in the pond. 

Water gardening is a type of gardening which deals with the growing of aquatic plants adapted to the pools and ponds. Even though water gardens can be any size or depth, they are mostly small and shallow. They generally measure less than 20 inches in depth. This is supported by the fact that most aquatic plants are depth sensitive and need a specific depth of water in order to grow. The surface area and depth is determined by the species inhabiting the water garden. 

Space required for your water garden

The average water garden measures about 11 feet wide by 16 feet or about 2000 gallons. They can also be as small as 6 feet by 8 feet or about 550 gallons. You should have 2 to 3 feet of landscape bed area around the pond for flowers and plants. Koi ponds and water gardens can take up considerably more space than that of a pondless waterfall or rock column fountain. 

Pond safety

It is recommended that a water garden should have a minimum depth of 24″. A depth of 30″ is better since it provides more area for fish to winterize in the pond. It also provides a deeper area for fish to retreat in case a predatory bird comes into the pond. The first ledge of the pond is mostly 8-12″ in depth. This is meant to provide a shallow area around the ponds perimeter. This is shown in the water garden cross section on the following page. 


Water gardens are considered the most costly water option. A water garden  installed professionally will range from $2,500-$7500. This will depend on the size and type of rockwork. Considering the additional benefits and enjoyment of fish and aquatic plants, then a water garden is worth your investment. 

Koi Pond Maintenance & Plants

It is very easy to maintain a water garden. The maintenance will only take 15 minutes a week. You will have to clean the net and mat found inside the skimmer once every 10-14 days. This will only take you 5 minutes. Apart from the regular maintenance of the skimmer, add beneficial bacteria to the pond every week. 

Aquatic Plants

One of the best things about water gardens is the fact that a variety of plants can grow in them. The most sought out aquatic plant is the water lily. What makes them a very good choice because they spread across the ponds and flower throughout the season. The Lily pads provide a shade to the pond from the heat of the sun during summer. This allows the fish use their leaves as shelter. 


The water garden can have more interest and color if Goldfish and Koi are added. Koi and goldfish are friendly and interactive especially at feeding time. Fish are also personable, interesting and attractive. The color of the fish enhances the visual impact of the pond.

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