Spaces Life Aquatic



The owners of this serene water garden needed a place for their pets—six red-eared turtles, one terrapin and some koi—to reside. But, of course, they also wanted something beautiful to help break up their yard, which also features a natural- looking swimming pool.

“When designing a garden, we try to include evergreens as well as flowering plants,” says Sharon Poole, of Poole’s Stone and Garden landscaping in Frederick. This way, the ecosystem’s alive year-round. Poole’s designed both garden and pool for the turtle-loving family, who lives in Virginia.

When looking to update a dull backyard, a homeowner’s default may be adding a swimming pool, but this more unusual water garden trend is suddenly on the rise.
“Water gardens are great for big backyards—they give the yard a focal point,” says Poole.

This featured water garden contains bog plants—like liberal rush and iris—and a waterfall, and was built chiefly with the turtles’ needs in mind. While cleverly arranged rocks keep the rep-tile residents contained, the creatures can crawl out in winter and burrow in the mud—in warmer months, the water garden is home.

“There’s something about water,” Poole says. “We all want to be near it.”



Lilies, which are floating plants that attractively cover the water surface. Floating plants help keep down bacteria growth.

Anacharis, considered a submersible filter, creates a natural cleaning system. “Even with an abundance of filter plants, your garden will require a cleaning at least twice a year,” says Poole.

Iris is a water-loving bog plant that adds color to your garden.

Pickerel rush flowers are shallow-water dwellers—they are purple and classically pretty.

Thali daffodil narcissus is a white mid-spring blooming flower that does well in half shade, which is better for water gardens.

Sweet flags are tall, mostly green, fragranced perennials.

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