LET’S TALK GARDENING – Cleaning a Water Garden and Preparing for Winter


As with any outdoor water source, a water garden collects organic matter that needs to be cleaned out. The best time to do this is when the water temperature is cooler, such as now. Cooler water temperature helps minimize any stress to fish that may live in your water garden.


  • Get a holding container for the plants and fish. Be sure it is large enough to hold the amount of water needed to sustain the plants and fish for several hours while you are emptying and cleaning the water garden. It is best to keep the holding container in the shade during this time.
  • Fill the holding container with water from the water garden, then empty the remainder of the water out of the garden using a pump if necessary.
    • TIP: Save this pond water to water other garden plants. This water is rich in nutrients from organic matter.
  • As the water is being emptied out of the water pond, use a stiff, nylon-bristled brush to scrub down the bottom and the sides of the pond. Use a dustpan to collect up the debris.
    • TIP: Use debris as organic matter and add it to your gardens.
  • Refill the water garden with half of the water from the holding container, then fill in the rest of the way with tap water, putting in the appropriate amount of de-chlorinator if you have fish.  After a half-hour or so, replace the plants and fish in the clean water garden.
    • TIP: Leaves will be falling soon. Be sure leaves are kept out as they fall to keep the debris from accumulating on the bottom of the pond.
  • When our weather turns cold, such as near December, stop feeding the plants and fish.
  • You can leave the recycling pump running all winter to keep the water moving in the pond. If you decide to cut off the pump, drain it and store it inside the shed or garage for the winter.

HAPPY “WATER” GARDENING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2 thoughts on “LET’S TALK GARDENING – Cleaning a Water Garden and Preparing for Winter”

    • Romy,
      Good Morning.
      With concrete bird baths you will need to be careful with freezing weather. Some people will wait until we get colder and “call it quits” with their birdbath and turn over the bowl and let it stay dry through the winter in order to avoid any cracking. You just need to make sure that the bowl has no water in it or on it that could freeze. Now, some people will keep their birdbath active through the winter but being very diligent with protecting it only during a cold snap. Thus providing needed water to our feathered friends during the winter. Also, some people use birdbath heaters to keep the water from freezing. Some of these heaters are solar powered. Good luck, Doug

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