Civilization’s first settlements sprang up around rivers due to irrigation and transportation needs. Later these peoples produced such technologies as canals and aqueducts to bring water to lands further removed from the rivers. Water lilies, lotus, iris, arrowheads and cattails, as well as numerous grasses, trees, and other plants found these new oases as inviting as the people who built them.
Water gardens thus had their beginnings in the fabric of both human history and the processes of Mother Nature. As civilizations grew and segregated into classes of the wealthy and the workers, those who could afford to began to have homes built away from the farming areas but wanted to bring with them the beauties of these areas. These gardens, though at first for food and medicinal herbs, soon became elaborate display areas. Eventually the upper classes and royalty built gardens to bring the whole realm of the world to their front door. Gardens like Versailles in France soon stood for the opulence of the elite. This opulence is still a much sought pleasure, but today anyone with the determination and a little money can have a water garden in his or her own backyard.
Thanks to modern plastics, the back breaking, time consuming, labor and skill intensive processes of building a beautiful water garden have been reduced to a weekend job with only a minimum of easily learned skills.
There are many considerations before the process can commence including major decisions about design, size of the pond, site selection, materials, and methods of construction.