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Natural water oases in the garden

Water lilies in the garden pond – Photo: BGL

Water has been a fixed element of garden planning for centuries and this applies equally for Asiatic, Oriental and European gardens. The wet element fascinates people, brings refreshment in the summer and lends the gardens that special touch.

“The water is the soul of a garden,” the German garden designer and city planner Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell wrote in 1818 together with: “If the artist is not able to give his gardens large rivers, he should do everything he can to ensure his garden areas do not remain without water, in other words without life.” Many garden owners are currently introducing cool water to their realm in the form of rippling fountains, calming spring stones or water basins, which reflect the sky. But also the number of people who want a garden pond is also increasing. For many of them it is not just about the visual effect of such a water oasis, they more importantly want to create a small biotope behind their house, which gradually provides frogs, dragon flies and other small creatures with a habitat.

Frogs in the garden pond – Photo: FLH

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Of course, plants also play a big role when planning the water landscape. They clean the water, supply it with oxygen, cast shadows on certain areas of the banks and often act as a place of retreat and brooding for a host of small creatures. There are the appropriate groups of plants for every part of the water garden: For example, ornamental grasses flourish on the banks, small bulrushes in the swamp areas and luronium in shallow water zones. The deep water zones boast the most impressive pond plants: water lilies. Waters where the plants are well-planned and nicely design to match the style of the rest of the garden are especially impressive.

If fish are desired, the pond has to be planned accordingly from the start. “Since the animals need sufficient freedom of movement, the size is decisive. This depends on the desired fish population, however they should have at least 2,000 liters of water and be one meter deep,” said Ulli Gerlach from the Association Life with Pets e.V. (FLH). “The fish are not kept in particularly high numbers in so-called biotopes or natural ponds and the fish feed the whole year around exclusively on the insects and small creatures they find.

The ecological balance remains intact without human interference: Additional feeding is superfluous and it is also not necessary to filter the water. With these ponds the focus is mostly placed on domestic fish species. Indeed due to their camouflage colors they are more difficult to spot in the water compared to goldfish or koi carp, but on the other hand they fit in ideally with the existing ecosystem. If garden owners want a variety of fish, the natural sources of food do not suffice alone and the fish have to be provided with additional food. Then it is essential to install pump and filter systems that clean the water.

Swimming ponds offer sufficient room for moving around in the water. – Photo: BGL

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A swimming pond is ideal for garden owners who want to do a few lengths in the water themselves. However, landscape gardeners do recommend that they should be at least 70 square meters in size. As opposed to normal garden ponds, swimming ponds comprise of two sections: One part offers people sufficient space for moving around in the water, another part ensures the water is kept clean with the aid of swamp and water plants completely without the use of chemicals. For example, the plants bind the nutrients introduced and thus avoid the unwanted growth of algae. So that the complex ecosystem keeps in balance and brings joy, gardening knowledge is called for in addition to planning and technical know-how for the garden areas.


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