Anyone can create backyard ponds or water features but designing those that are ecologically sustainable and encourage healthy ecosystems is another skill entirely …. that is in demand! Ideal for landscapers, garden designers, water feature specialists and backyard enthusiasts, this course will improve your gardening know-how, enhance your job prospects, and even lead to a new career direction!
The Certificate of Water Gardens is a professional development course that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to create stunning water gardens and features.
In this water garden design course, you will learn about the nature and scope of water gardens, including equipment, construction materials and techniques, and how to construct and maintain spas and pools. You’ll also study garden design and the water plants and aquatic animals that are typically used in water gardens.
Outcomes achieved by undertaking a water garden design course include:
- Learning how to determine the size of a water garden
- Exploring water quality and water supply in terms of rain and tanks etc.
- Studying how to site a water garden
- Gaining insights into safety, water depth and evaporation rate
- Understanding informal and formal garden design
- Learning about shade, edging and water sculptures
- Exploring water effects including sound, movement, reflect, light and cooling
- Studying water life including fish, algae, wildlife, plants and mosquitoes
- Gaining insights into water garden construction
- Understanding how to plan a water garden and the types of construction
- Learning about the effects and matching the effect with the type of garden
- Exploring surrounds and its size, surrounds, shape and location
- Studying how to use a liner and pond edges
- Gaining insights into pre-formed water gardens
- Understanding water garden equipment
- Learning about submersible pumps
- Exploring light design with water including power sources and DC power
- Studying pond filtration systems – sterile or living water
- Gaining insights into swimming pool, mechanical and biological filtration
- Understanding how to design a natural watercourse
- Learning about siting a stream, water circulation, dams and pond design and management
- Exploring reed beds, bog gardens and oxygenating plants
- Studying the design and aftercare of spas and swimming pools
- Gaining insights into choosing a swimming pool and cost and structural considerations
- Understanding above and below ground and vinyl, fibreglass and concrete pools
- Learning about pump and filtration systems
- Exploring shapes and special features in pools
- Studying how to heat a pool and care for a pool over winter
- Gaining insights into indoor and outdoor water features
- Understanding pot ponds, water barrels, wall plaques, wall fountains and water walls
- Learning about fountains, waterfalls, water spouts, canals and cascades
- Exploring birdbaths and cobble fountain construction
- Studying cobble fountain construction
- Gaining insights into how to use water features in a landscape
- Understanding water plants including waterside trees and shrubs
- Learning about bog, emergent water, floating leaf and aquatic plants
- Exploring water lilies
- Studying the plants to avoid in water gardens
- Gaining insights into surround plants
- Understanding aquatic animals
- Learning about the conditions needed by fish and aquatic animals
- Exploring maintenance and troubleshooting
- Studying fish, frogs, tortoises, water snails, insects and birds
- Gaining insights into troubleshooting issues with water gardens
History of Water Gardens
Water gardens not only add creative inspiration to a landscape, but they also add functionality — from providing water for wildlife to adding a calming ambience to the surroundings. Here is some historical inspiration that might convince you to undertake our water garden design course.
Water features have been present in every historical era and any culture that had gardens in their landscapes and architectural environments. They were used for both ornamental aesthetics and to enable plant and fish production.
Planned water gardens first originated in ancient Egypt when the Egyptians channelled water from the Nile River into their palace gardens. Gardens were designed with the pond as the focal point, and fish were included as well as blooming aquatic plants like lilies and papyrus. Lotus plants were grown, as they were considered sacred and a source of medicine for ailments. In fact, lotus petals were found at the excavation of the Ramses II tomb, suggesting they were being used over three thousand years ago! Ornamental trees and plants were also scattered around this oasis, and spaces created where they could lounge and enjoy the outdoors. The Persians were next to construct water gardens, and considered sunlight and its effects an important factor of the structural design — shapes and textures were specifically chosen to harness the light. This was followed by the Greeks (their gardens included statues of their gods), and the Chinese and Japanese (their gardens were designed to encourage reflection and contemplation).
After the fall of the Roman Empire, utilitarian gardening was nurtured by monasteries until the beginning of the Renaissance in the late fourteenth century. They controlled the management of water, using wells and local streams and rivers for both domestic uses and for fishponds. In many monasteries, simple cisterns were found in gardens and wall fountains were placed within the cloister.
In the Middle Ages, public displays of religious water features (like water stoops and baptismal fonts) were only found in major church buildings. Decorations were inspired by Bible stories associated with water, such as the stories of Moses and the baptism of Christ. Garden fountains were often used for bathing and represented an earthly paradise and a source of spiritual rejuvenation. A beautiful example that still exists today is the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, Italy. Fountains and water features in private residences also became a celebration of a family’s wealth and prosperity. In urban areas, they combined both civic and religious themes, which summarised the town’s revival and were a crowning achievement for all to enjoy.
The industrial age saw the introduction of the modern water pump that allowed for water recirculation. Up until then, water was diverted from springs and rivers as it exited natural watercourses or agricultural fields. Many of the concepts and water features used across history — like irrigation, arbours, edible ornamentals and fish keeping are still being used today.
Main Types of Water Features
Water adds a touch of magic to gardens – a sound and presence that has the power to soothe and calm. Whether you install a naturalistic pond in a wildlife corner or a formal rectangular pool for aquatic animals, water features can be easily adapted to suit the style and space of a garden and its surroundings. And as you’ll discover in our water garden design course, most water features follow an informal or formal style.
Formal ponds and pools are named because they are mainly designed with defined angles and shapes with distinct edges. They create a vista and exist to be seen and admired, whether it’s centrally positioned with an ornate fountain or towards the rear of a courtyard with a wall fountain above it. Formal water features can be framed with decorative stones or traditional construction materials like bricks or concrete. These structures are also often further enhanced by garden plants after the final geometrical shape and structure have been defined.
Formal ponds can be sunken or raised. Typically, a raised pond will be of a uniform depth throughout such as a rectangular raised pond sitting on a stone patio. The sides and capping of the pond will usually be constructed of the same material as the adjacent buildings or walls, which will tie all the garden elements together and create a sense of rhythm and unity in the design.
Informal water features typically don’t have clearly defined edges. Their irregular or curved shape allows for a more natural look as if the pond or pool is an extension of the garden. Another feature is the possible absence of edging materials to frame it or the addition of lawn or ornamental grasses that give the illusion that it has been formed by nature.
These types of “natural” water features can also take the form of a pond or a meandering creek or stream that runs through the garden, and blend into their surrounds rather than standing out. They may be edged by materials that replicate the landscape of the local region including bark, rocks, shingle, river pebbles, driftwood and even bare earth.
Informal water features also aren’t just part of a natural garden theme — they can be included as part of a rustic design or in a cottage garden. In cottage gardens, it could be an irregularly shaped pond with brick edging or a birdbath located in a shady spot. In a rustic garden, it could be a body of water housed in an old whiskey barrel, an enamel sink or an antique claw-footed bath. The options of using water creatively in garden projects are only as limited as your imagination!
Gain a comprehensive understanding of how to create stunning water features and gardens for yourself or your clients with a water garden design course, such as our Certificate of Water Gardens.