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I first created this site back in 1998 to document the wild plants that I encountered.  But it has grown into a clearinghouse of information on landscaping, backyard birds, butterfly gardening, plant identification and making paper from plant fiber. After leaving Kansas, I thought of deleting the site. But realize it has a wealth of information that people rely upon.

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Garden > Water

Water Garden

About My Water Garden

My water garden is really a wetland complex made up of a pond, a marsh, and a shoreline. It is landscaped with native plants that perfer moist to soggy condition. Because water is so necessary for life, it attracts plenty of wildlife.

Water Garden Image Gallery

These are images from my water garden which includes a wet shoreline, a muddy marsh, and the pond.

Pond with marsh plants in the back

plants are placed in the "shoreline" area

Pond hole with shoreline on the left/back

filling the pond

newly planted pond

After one year

Note sandy shoreline in the back

pond from the back side

2nd growing season


Water Garden Beginnings

Let me give you a bit of history on my wetland complex. I began my first pond back in 1994, when water gardens were becoming popular. My initial pond was about 6' x 8' and surrounded by flat limestone. There was minimal landscaping around it and it included a spitting frog. I had goldfish, and in the spring, American toads would visit and tadpoles would later hatch.

As time went on, I wanted to shift from a fish pond to a frog pond. I always wanted to attract amphibious wildlife to my backyard. All the literature I consulted recommended not having fish as they would eat the frogs' eggs. I also knew I must create a marsh with plants that liked to be submerged. The frogs would need the submerged plants to attach their eggs to.

By creating these areas, it gave me more places to grow native plants that require wetter conditions. Plants that like to be submerged and plants that are normally found on lake shores were lacking in my yard.

Water Garden Marsh

In 2001, I decided to add a marsh to the back side of my current pond. I dug it out, put in the liner and replaced most of the dirt.. Then planted marshy plants in the muck, and let things grow. I planted some Arrowheads and Floating water primrose. The plants did quite well, but still no frogs came.

The following spring, the new liner was leaking (lesson: don't buy cheap liner from mega stores). My old pond was also leaking, so I determined it was time to tear it all out and start over. This time, I decided to create a normal pond area, a marsh area, and a shoreline area. All sections would be underlayed by a liner. The deep pond area was in the front, with the marsh being in the back, and the shoreline bordered the back and one side of the pond and marsh. The pond is 24 inches deep. The marsh is about 24 inches deep, with about 18 inches of dirt on top of the liner, making the water about 6 inches deep. The shoreline is about 12 inches of dirt mixed with sand placed on top of the liner. It is up to 6 inches above the water level, but stays moist by absorbing water from the pond and marsh.

The marsh area is a great place to grow plants that like to be partially submerged. The shoreline area makes perfect conditions for growing certain plants that prefer moist soil, but that cannot tolerate waterlogged soil. In addition the moist shoreline provides hiding places for the frogs.

Animals Attracted to my Pond

This has created ideal habitat for frogs and toads. The spring of 2003 saw a total of three American toads romping around in the my wetland complex. When the American toads are calling it is nearly deafening. You can easily hear them from inside the house. Once their eggs hatched I must have had about 5000 or more tadpoles. The pond became a toad tadpole factory - I was amazed..

One day, I was admiring the wetland complex and saw something swimming in the marsh area. It wasn't a fish, and it wasn't a frog or a toad. It swam to the bottom of the marsh. I took a closer look and to my amazement I saw a baby turtle. It was a hatchling painted turtle, not much bigger than a quarter. Within a few days, I noticed two more hatchlings. I determined that a female must have come and laid its eggs in my sandy shoreline and I was blessed with baby turtles.

Having a water garden and watching the plants grow and watching the wildlife interact has been one of my favorite experiences in my garden.

More Animals

Some wildlife that has been attracted to my pond include american toad, leopard frog, bullfrog, chorus frog, great blue heron, green heron, mallard duck, and countless songbirds .

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