The Basics of Water Gardening
Water Lilies, Pond Fish Waterfalls & Fountains
Ever wonder how Nature can balance a water garden? How water lilies grow? Or how to construct a waterfall or fountain?
Did you know petals of lotuses and water lilies were found buried with Ramses II in ancient Egypt? Koi will eat out of your hand? Or that water gardens actually conserve water?
You'll find detailed information on these and other questions in Water Gardening Basics, along with the most up-to-date information on locating, designing, building, stocking, balancing, and maintaining your own water garden.
Over 150 full-color photographs are a treasure-trove of design ideas to inspire your own water garden.
Page after page of how-to color illustrations to help you quickly construct and effectively maintain your pond.
No matter if you're an expert or just beginning, Water Gardening Basics covers every aspect of creating and maintaining a water garden. With colorful photos and how-to illustrations, this step-by-step guide shows you the way to design, construct, and maintain the ideal garden pond. From choosing the right plants to choosing the right fish, the author’s 35 years of experience is an enriching source for all of your water gardening concerns.
William C. Uber
Author of Water Gardening Basics, and the president of Van Ness Water Gardens. Located in Upland, California, this mail order and retail aquatic nursery was established in 1932. For more information on water gardens, visit their web site at www.vnwg.com.
William Uber is a highly regarded consultant for water features in public and corporate settings, theme parks, estates and hospitality-industry sites.
Recognized as a world wide authority on water gardening, Uber lectures at gardening clubs, colleges, and industry-related organizations. He is president and owner of Van Ness Water Gardens, Upland, California, one of the nation's leading water gardening suppliers.
During his years as a youngster playing hide and seek among the ponds and waterfalls, Bill Uber discovered the hidden secrets as well as the delights of water gardening.
As the third generation owner of the Van Ness Water Gardens located in Southern California, he has a lifetime of practical experience to share.
As an international consultant on water gardening, he has built Van Ness Water Gardens into one of the world's most leading aquatic supply businesses.
From this extensive, firsthand knowledge evolved the ideas for his book Water Gardening Basics - simple, practical methods for amateur gardeners as well as suggestions for professional landscape designers and contractors.
Table of Contents
|Selecting a Site |
Building Your Pond
|Types of Ponds; |
How to Calculate Pond Capacity;
Pond Construction Materials;
Preparing for Your Pond;
|Building the Cement Pond; |
Building the PVC Liner Pond;
Installing the Fiberglass or Hard Poly Pond;
Painting the Pond;
Repairing the Damaged Pond
|Nature and Water Working Together; |
Clear Water Formula;
Algae is Your Friend;
|Preparing Your Newly-Constructed Pond; |
60-Day Set-up Schedules
|Oxygenating Grasses; |
Small Flowering Aquatics;
|Water Iris; |
Care of Your Plants
|Tropical Day-Blooming Water Lilies; |
Tropical Night-Blooming Water Lilies;
Hardy Water Lilies;
|Victoria Regina (Victoria Amazonica); |
Care of Your Water Lilies
|External Parts of Fish; |
Types of Pond Fish;
Selecting Your Fish;
From the Hatchery to the Pond;
Breeding in the Garden Pond;
|Training Your Fish; |
Diseases and Treatments;
Establishing a Healthy Pond;
Disposing of Fish
Pond Residents and Visitors
Fountains & Waterfalls
|Cleaning the Pond; ||Seasonal Pond Maintenance |
Other Water Gardens
|Natural Creeks or Streams; |
|Bog Gardens; |
History of Water Gardening
Water in the garden. It brings us refreshing coolness on the hottest summer day. It satisfies our senses with sounds that only water can make. It delights our eyes with the unsurpassed beauty of colorful water lilies, the glimmering iridescence of fish and reflections from the sky.
Water has immense attraction to all people. For centuries Europeans have enjoyed the beauty of fountains and water gardens in their public squares and private estates. Water gardens create "natural" focal points, whether located in the home garden, shopping mall, or office building.
This book is written to fill a void in today's selection of gardening books. A few books are sprinkled here and there, covering specific areas of water gardening such as plants and Koi, but this book is written to cover all facets of decorative water gardening for homeowners as well as professional landscapers and architects.
The word "pond" conjures up different images for different people. Some envision a farm pond with a dirt bottom, fed by a creek bed and alive with ducks and frogs. others see a mossy-covered goldfish pool in the corner of a yard. For our purposes, the word "pond" will be used in the Webster's Dictionary sense: "artificially enclosed body of water; a body of standing water smaller than a lake, often artificially formed." In this book you'll also find some of the newer terms - aquasphere, aquatic habitat, aquatic environment, or waterscape.
The reasons for considering a water garden are varied. Commercial landscape architects use water in their designs for effect and uniqueness. Homeowners want to exchange their rakes, lawn mowers and weedeaters for a work free garden. Others desire a pond "just like grandpa always had," yet most of us are simply looking for a garden to enjoy, a haven for relaxation.
Water does have a relaxing affect, whether it be the rhythmic waves of the ocean, a gently running brook, or the quiet beauty of a pond. While we may be unable to recreate nature with oceans and brooks, we can find pleasure in designing and building ponds.
Before deciding on a water garden, consider your motives. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want a pond?
- Am I trying to save work for myself?
- Do I want a part of nature in my own backyard?
- Am I looking for a fish pond? or a plant pond? a fountain or waterfall?
- Do I want a pond for the dog to play in?
- Do I want to cool off in the pond?
- Or convert a swimming poo
Am I looking for a focal point in the yard or simply a subtle blend of plants and fish?
Many people think water gardening means digging a hole, filling it in with water, plants and fish, and that's all there is to it. While it's true that established ponds require minimal work, prospective water gardeners should realize that a certain amount of responsibility goes with a pond garden.
When you build a pond, you're putting in a natural habitat, something that is "alive" and "breathing" with plants and animals. Plants live and grow in this natural habitat; natural gas exchanges are going on; birds, bugs, fish, frogs and animals come to visit and drink from you pond. In other words, you're doing more than just cementing an area in the yard and filling it with water. You are bringing nature into your surroundings.
Prospective water gardeners should also examine their expectations. What do you want from your pond?
Before starting construction, you should decide if you want a fish pond, a fish and plant pond, a fountain, or a waterfall. For example, a Koi pond without plants will be constructed differently than ponds containing both fish and plants.
Do you want you pond to be a focal point - something that stands out dramatically with waterfalls or spraying fountains? Or is your life hectic and frenzied, so you're looking for a quiet haven for meditation and relaxation?
If you expect a low maintenance, relaxing environment, you'll find it in water gardening. You may wonder how water gardening can be effortless. The answer is nature. Properly planned water gardens achieve an ecological balance of water, plants, fish, and snails.
Water ponds answer a multitude of expectations, but the final decision on what you want from your water garden must come from you.
SELECTING A SITE
Once you've examined your motives and expectations, your next step is to consider location. Selecting a pond site involves more than deciding where it will look best. Several factors should be taken into consideration: sunlight, drainage, eaves, trees, plants, block walls, wind, and accessibility.
Sunlight - Generally speaking, a garden pond with plants and fish requires six hours of sunlight. Measure off your prospective pond site with string, rope of chalk and note the amount of sun this area receives throughout the day. The more sun your water plants receive, the better and healthier they'll bloom.
Other alternatives are available for your shady areas. For example, you might consider a waterfall without fish and plants.
Drainage - Good drainage is one of the keys to success in maintaining a water garden. A low spot in the yard that naturally fills with water is not necessarily the best location for your pond. These drainage areas also bring insecticides, herbicides or roof chemicals, all of which may be harmful to plants and fish. However, by cultivating the soil and using drain pipes and plants, low areas may still be used as pond sites.
Eaves, Trees, Plants - Ponds should be located away from the eaves of the house, overhanging trees, and dirty plants such as bamboo or pyracantha. Toxic chemicals dripping from your roof or trees are harmful to plants and fish, and dirty plants generate a dirty pond.
Block Walls Or Barriers - Healthy ponds require good air circulation, so they should not be built against block walls, wall barriers or houses. Without good circulation, the air becomes stymied, causing the water to get too hot and creating improper gas exchanges.
Wind - While circulating air is a necessity, high wind locations will bring dirt, leaves, paper, and other debris into your pond. Wind problems can be solved with design, skimmers, pumps, and plants, but the condition should be noted before constructing your pond.
Accessibility - Ponds should be free and accessible from all sides. Water may need changing, or plants pruned, so accessibility is an important factor.
None of the above considerations are intended to frighten off the prospective water gardener. Instead, these suggestions offer pond owners the easiest, problem-free aquasphere possible. Your pond, constructed with long-range vision and enduring qualities, will be a source of beauty for years to come. However your pond should be able to evolutionize with your landscape as you change and upgrade.
"Beginners and experts alike will find its information essential for creating and maintaining fluid landscapes."
Steven M. Cohan, Ph. D.,
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
Director of Horticulture
"Contains clear directions for constructing any type or size of water garden, from tubs to waterfalls to lakes."
Pacific Coast Nurseryman
"Drawing on a lifetime of experience. Uber leaves no aspect of water gardening in question as he describes everything from construction techniques to the beauty of water lilies, colorful koi carp or a waterfall."
"Every aspect of water gardening from orientation to history is covered."
"Crammed full of information that has been laid out so simply and clearly that it is a joy to read and use."
"This step-by-step guide is easily understood by the home owner, yet also technical enough to enhance the landscape professional's library."
Janet K. Klindworth,
Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association, Inc.
"It is packed with tips, advice and clear illustrations which will help any gardener enjoy a beautiful water garden."
"Page after page, this was the information I needed!"
"Most, if not all, questions that would arise when a gardener is contemplating water gardening are addressed."
Memphis Botanic Garden
"An excellent book by a renowned authority. It's easy to read and so attractive in format that it makes one want to go right out and start a pond-building project."
"Whatever your level of interest, there are ideas for you in this book to help make a water garden a part of your total garden."
Back to the Top