Patio Water Garden Ideas – DIY Patio Water Gardens And Plants

DIY Patio Water Garden
container pond
(Image credit: TETE3138)

Not all plants grow in soil. There are a huge number of plants that thrive in water. Wouldn't you need a pond and lots of space to grow them? Not at all! You can grow water plants in anything that holds water, and you can go as small as you like. DIY patio water gardens are a great, non-traditional way to grow in small spaces. Keep reading to learn about patio water garden plants and designing water gardens for patio spaces.

Patio Water Garden Containers

Since you won't be digging a pond, the size of your garden is going to be determined by the size of your container. Patio water garden containers can be just about anything that holds water. Plastic kiddie pools and old bathtubs are made for the job, but less watertight things like barrels and planters can be lined with plastic sheeting or molded plastic. Drainage holes in planters can also be plugged with corks or sealant. Bear in mind that water is heavy! One gallon weighs a little over 8 pounds (4 kg.), and that can add up fast. If you’re putting patio water garden containers on a raised porch or balcony, keep it small or you may risk collapse.

Patio Water Garden Ideas for Plants

Patio water garden plants can be split into three main categories: underwater, floating, and shoreline.


Underwater plants live their lives completely submerged. Some popular varieties are:


Floating plants live in the water, but float on the surface. Some popular ones here include:

Lotuses produce their foliage on the surface like floating plants, but they bury their roots in underwater soil. Plant them in containers on the floor of your patio water garden.


Shoreline plants, also known as emergents, like to have their crowns submerged, but produce most of their growth up out of the water. Plant these in containers of soil and place them on raised shelves or cinder blocks in the water garden so the containers and the first few inches (8 cm.) of the plants are underwater. Some popular shoreline plants are:

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.