To review the May newsletter CLICK HERE
GardenSMART Newsletter Signup
Visit our Sponsors! encore azalea Dramm
Visit our Sponsors and win.
GardenSMART :: DIY Project: 30-Minute Water Garden

DIY Project: 30-Minute Water Garden

By Susan Martin for Proven Winners
Photographs courtesy of Proven Winners

Making your own simple water garden in a container is very easy and does not require expertise in plants or gardening. Water plants are sold at most nurseries. Look for the plants growing in water tubs, which should be clearly marked “water plants.” Follow these step-by-step instructions and you’ll have your very own water garden assembled in just 30 minutes or less.

GardenSMART Article Image

Materials Needed:

  • 1 decorative container or tub without a hole in the bottom. We used a 30” wide x 8” deep decorative plastic tub, but anything that holds water can be turned into a water garden.
  • Enough rocks (river rocks, pea gravel, or found rocks) to fill your chosen container about 1/3 of the way.
  • 1 - 4” or quart sized container of Fiber Optic Grass (Scirpus cernuus)
  • 1 - 6” or gallon sized container of Blue Mohawk® Rush (Juncus inflexus)
  • A few floating water plants like water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) or anacharis (Egeria densa)—Available at places that sell aquarium supplies and some garden centers.
  • Hose or other water source

Step-By Step:

  • Start with a clean container or tub and set it in its permanent location, preferably in a spot that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sun per day. Lots of people put their potted water garden on their deck or patio. Filled tubs are too heavy to move, so make sure you’re happy with the spot you’ve chosen before you go any further.
  • Set the pot of Blue Mohawk in the bottom of the water garden tub near the back, leaving it in its original container. The top of the pot’s rim should sit about 1-2” below the rim of the tub.
  • Lay stones in the bottom 1/3 of the tub, surrounding the pot of Blue Mohawk.
  • On top of the stones, set the pot of Fiber Optic Grass, leaving it in its original container. The top of its pot should be about even with the top of the pot of Blue Mohawk. If not, use the stones to prop it up a little higher. Make sure the pot is not tippy by surrounding it with more stones.
  • Fill the tub with water from your hose or outdoor faucet. Fill it almost to the top of the tub. The plants’ containers will be slightly underwater or just peeking out the top.
  • Set the floating plants on the surface of the water. That’s all for assembly, folks. You’re done!
  • Check the water level every few days, especially during hot weather, and add more water to keep the tub full. It’s OK if it rains in the tub too.
  • In the fall when average temperatures fall below 55°F, clean out your water garden and store your supplies for next year. Blue Mohawk Rush is a perennial in zones 5 and warmer and can be planted in moist garden soil if you wish to save it.

Suggested Plants for Water Gardens:

Fiber Optic Grass (Scirpus cernuus)

GardenSMART Article Image

Blue Mohawk® Rush (Juncus inflexus)

GardenSMART Article Image

‘Ogon’ Golden Variegated Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus)

GardenSMART Article Image

King Tut® Cypress (Cyperus papyrus)

GardenSMART Article Image

‘Coffee Cups’ Elephant Ear (Colocasia)

GardenSMART Article Image

Bookmark this article and find more DIY projects here.

Contributor Bio: Susan Martin is a lifelong gardener and perennial specialist with 18 years of experience in the Horticulture Industry. She is a native of Michigan where she has been gardening since the age of four in sandy and clay soils. 

Patent Info: Graceful Grasses® Blue Mohawk® Juncus inflexus. Graceful Grasses® King Tut® Cyperus papyrus.

All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

Article URL:

Back to Articles List                               

GardenSMART Featured Article

Article and photos courtesy of Wayside Gardens

Gardening in small spaces can be a delightful challenge. Click here for an interesting article that provides expert tips and plant recommendations.

  Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!  
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.