Sunday, June 5, 2011


A Zen Water Garden for my husbands 50th Birthday

The two water lily pads are silk decoration until I can get a real one. Finding real ones has been elusive. The other greenery you see is called Water Lettuce and a nice lady on the Garden Tour gave it to me yesterday. So I am thrilled.

I installed a submersible waterproof led light with a blue lens. The kit came with several other color lenses in case I want to change it. I also put a small pump in to have some water movement for the fish I will be adding once the plants become established.


I became inspired to make this water garden from the many I saw all over Thailand on the recent trip My husband and I took. I thought it would be a nice reminder of the time we spent there.

The project was not as easy nor did it come together as quickly as I had expected.

I will give you the instructions and tell you what worked and what didn't.

I got some on line directions that seemed simple enough.


Buy a glazed pot large enough for your project

use aquarium glue to seal the drainage hole

fill with water and plants

Seems really simple doesn't it.

Well the pot would n0t hold water. I wasn't sure if the water was soaking into the pot itself, leaking from the drainage hole or was a mixture of both. Someone suggested Thompson's water seal on one of the forums. So off to the hardware store I go. The guy from Galco Hardware thought a gallon of drylock would work better than the Thompson's water seal for what I was trying to accomplish. So I go home and proceed to paint the inside of the pot with drylock, I let it dry. Although some of the sealant pooled in the bottom of the pot and refused to dry so it was a messy clean up with paper towels and sticky sealant. After that dried I reapplied aquarium glue to the drainage hole. Can you guess what happened? yep it leaked and it leaked fast. So I scrape off all the aquarium glue which is easier said than done. So I begin improvising. I used the cap from a gallon of milk, a condom as a gasket and put on more aquarium glue. Let it set up , And it still leaks. So I am not a happy camper. For 2 weeks I have been trying to get this pot to hold water. Then a guy says just put a plastic bag in there. In the meantime I had scraped off glue ,milk cap and my improvised gasket. I put a plastic bag on the bottom and covered it with rocks. Wouldn't you know it, that worked.


The Water Plants

This too became a dilemma. I used to see water plants at all the garden centers, but as fate has it. Whenever I decide I want them, no one carries them locally anymore. So I look on line and find them being sold in other parts of the country they were what I considered pricey $15 for the plant and as much as $35 shipping. Finally I got lucky I went on our local Garden tour and a lady had a huge water garden, she has an abundance of water lettuce and gave me a nice sized plant. So I was very happy about that. It seems to be doing well and getting established.

Kathy's Water Garden Directions


1 glazed pot large enough for project.


(I got this pot at Garden ridge pottery, it was the largest I could find and it was marked down to $50. It is 24 inches high, 18in diameter and 52 in circumference its heavy)

1 container of drylock

1 paint brush

1 trash bag

rocks or stones

( fish rocks, garden rocks,pente stones whatever you want to use)

1 waterproof, submersible led light (Lowes)

1 small water pump(Lowes)

1 water plant (water lettuce, water lily, etc)

15 cheap fish/ fish food

Decorative statuary for rim (I used the Buddha)


Paint inside of pot with drylock and let dry 24/36 hrs. Instructions say reapply a second coat after that drying period, but my pot wouldn't take the second coat.

put plastic bag as a liner at bottom of pot. Cover with decorative stones to cover bag.

Test pot to make sure it holds water. Fill it and let it set a couple of days.

Place Light and Pump into bottom of pot.

(Originally I was trying to run cords thru drainage hole and seal with epoxy but it leaked and I thought if one of them needs replacing its alot easier to just run them from the top)

If you are using a decorative feature(like my Buddha) attach it to rim. I used superglue. I had absolutely no luck with aquarium glue actually working on anything with this project.

add water plant

once water plant becomes established

add fish

(follow pet shop instructions when adding fish)



Evaporation, I have noticed that water evaporates from my pot at a rate of about 4 inches a week. Once the fish are there its probably wise to use de-chlorinated water to refill. I plan to just keep a couple of gallon jugs with tap water on hand, I read that after about 3 days the chlorine in tap water dissipates. You can also buy drops at a fish store to take chlorine out of water. I have never had luck with fish, so I am no expert on this one.

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