How to Make a Barrel Water-Garden
Any garden, deck, patio or a terrace will look more beautiful with a small water garden. You don’t need much money or special equipment to make one in your home. In fact, it’s possible to make a beautiful mini water garden using a whiskey barrel and a carefully-chosen set of plants. These small water gardens are ideal for places with moderate climate, where they can be placed on a deck, terrace or patio. US Zone 6 to 9 suit them perfectly. This is a great idea on how to make your own water garden quickly and without much investment. It will sure make your patio or terrace stand out!
Making a Water Garden
The main thing you need to create your own small water garden is a sturdy barrel. Wine or whiskey barrels seem to work the best. It’s best to choose one that can sit steadily on its base and has tight metal hoops. If you don’t want to use a barrel you can use any larger water light container.
To use the barrel as a container for your water garden, you must cut it neatly in half. It will serve as a water container and a place to grow your plants.
Before the use, it’s important to scrub inside and out thoroughly. Also, wire-brush and repaint the wire hoops. If you choose to paint the barrel itself, make sure to use a marine-grade paint.
It’s also important to seal the inside of the barrel or line it with a plastic or rubber liner attached to the outside of the rim. This is crucial for keeping the water inside.
After this, drill a hole (a half-inch in size) about one inch below the rim. It will act as an overflow during rainy weather.
The next thing you need to do is to place bricks or concrete blocks (wire shelves also work great) inside the barrel at varying heights. They will be used to supports plants that prefer the margins of a pond rather to be submerged or floating.
Before you fill the barrel with water, remember to place it in its final position. If you want to place it on a wooden surface, remember to place it on bricks in order to prevent rotting underneath.
You may also add a pump (you can get one at a garden center) to add movement and sound to the water.
In cold-water regions, after frost it’s important to lift all the pots, trim off the foliage ans store in plastic bags in boxes in a cold, frost-free location.
Best Plants to Use
Here is a list of some great plants you can use for your small water-garden. These are not the only ones you can use, but these are sure great choices for a water garden on your patio or terrace:
Hardy water lily (Nymphaea ‘Helvola’). It has sunny yellow flowers and olive green leaves. Its roots should be submerged 6 to 12 inches below the water level. It spreads to about one foot.
Variegated Japanese sweet flag (Acorus gramineus variegatus). This plant is about 8 to 12 inches tall. It has grassy leaves striped vertically in green and white. You should place it up to 6 inches below water level.
Pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata). It is about 30 inches tall. This plant has arrow-shaped leaves and spikes of starry blue-purple flowers (during summer and fall). You should place it up to 12 inches below water level.
Parrot feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum). This floating plant grows in bunches. It has 4-inch-long stems with feathery dark green leaves. It doesn’t need to be planted. You should include it as an oxygenating plant to keep the water clear.