A bog garden is a fantastic and low-maintenance alternative to a pond. And if you’ve got a pesky part of your garden that always seems to collect water, this is a fantastic way to use that space – creating something more attractive that provides wildlife habitat.
Unlike a pond, which is a pool of standing water, a bog garden is in fact a patch of slow-draining, waterlogged soil that mimics natural bog conditions.
Bog gardens create stepping stones in your garden, linking dry areas with wet areas. They’re what’s known as ‘transitional’ habitats. And this is what makes them so valuable for nature. Within a small area, they offer a range of moisture conditions, and the rich diversity of plants that grow there can provide resources to a huge variety of wildlife.
If you grow a bog garden you’re in for a real treat, because the moisture loving plants of the bog are colourful and dramatic.Many grow big and tall and can make a real statement in your garden. Create contrasts with a variety of uprights, foliage, bold broad leaved plants and filigree ferns. Have fun with the following species:
If you have areas of standing water in your bog garden, or sections where the ground is flooded for long periods of time, introduce pond marginals in place of bog plants.
Our short how-to video shows you how to make the most of damp patches of ground in your garden.
Early spring to late summer is the best time to create a bog garden as the roots have time to get established, in the autumn when food starts to become scarcer they have more chance of being eaten. However, if you put one in autumn, this will create habitat and shelter for animals over the winter.
Your bog garden can be created as an addition to a pond but will work equally well as a standalone feature in low lying areas, for example a badly drained corner.
You can even make one in a container – line half a barrel with punctured plastic (you could use old ripped plastic that’s no use for anything else) and you’re good to go. Or why not fill in an old or leaky pond?
Clay soils that are naturally damp are ideal, but if you only have free draining soils, these will work too, as long as you use a liner and introduce top soil.
The types of pond plants you'll need for your new wetland, and which ones to avoid.