If you’re interested in having a water feature in your garden, you need to make sure that you plan for it well. It’s not just about its design and layout or the water plants you’re going to use; it’s also about the impact of such an addition to your property. For instance, it’s not advisable at all to have one if you have little children — living with you or visiting often — to worry about.
If you’re pretty much decided, you need to visualise how you’ll go about creating your water feature. An example of a good water feature structure involves an above ground pool created with rolled chequer plate steel, about 90 cm in height and a metre across. The bottom is filled with compacted sand, serving as a base for a solid pond liner. The interior is lined with flexible poly-liner, which works to create a boggy or marshy area connecting the pond itself and the outer frame. The rigid liner goes into the centre of the frame and soil is added to fill the outer area of the bog zone.
Some good choices to plant along the bog are Queensland Arrowroot (Canna edulis) and Green Taro (Colocasia esculenta). Both plants have edible roots. They’re also tall enough to provide shade for the other plants. You could also add a Samphire, the shoots of which you can also eat. Other possibilities include different kinds of mint, such as Chocolate Mint, Vietnamese Mint, and Basil Mint.
Inside the pond, you could place a wide but shallow terracotta bowl set on bricks, low enough so it’s submerged in the water, but almost skimming the surface. This provides the correct depth for Water Chestnuts, the foliage of which will push above the water. Besides having edible corms that can be harvested in the wintertime, it will also provide a frog habitat.
You could put in some upside down terracotta pipes which will serve as planting pockets for even more edible water plants. Lebanese Cress, for one, is delicious and thrives well in little soil as it floats cheerfully on the water surface. Other salad greens you should consider adding are some Water Parsley and juicy English Watercress.
Now, another very valid concern when considering putting in a water feature is the mosquito population, definitely not something you want to encourage. It’s a good idea to add fish like Pygmy Perch to help eliminate mosquito larvae. Frogs and aquatic insects will also help, and pretty soon, you’ll have a thriving (not to mention edible) aquatic habitat to soothe the spirit, delight the eyes, and contribute to your dinner.
A good tip to keep in mind is to use rain water in filling your water feature. This is suitable for supporting fish right away. When you use tap water, you have to wait and let it stand for 24 hours in full sunlight to get rid of the chlorine.