Turning a damp area into Bog Garden, It's also possible to build a bog garden in a dry part of a garden.

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Making and planting a Bog garden
Making and planting a Bog garden

A bog garden is one of two things a garden style choice or more likely, you have arrived here via my garden drainage page, looking for ways to utilise and plant up a soggy waterlogged bit of garden.

 

Bog gardens need soil that is constantly wet, but not flooded.  If the soil in your bog garden dries out for longer than say a month every year, bog plants won't thrive.

 

It is possible to make a bog garden in a dry part of your garden using a liner, just follow the construction tips on this page.

Two ways to create a bog garden in a wet or dry area of a garden


If you have an area in your garden that is permanently wet or waterlogged,  turning a wet soggy  problem into a attractive and colourful area is fairly simple, plant plants that like wet soggy soil conditions. 
If the area is permanently flooded, it will need to be drained by diverting the water into a drain or soak away.
 
 If the area is mainly dry building a bog garden in a area that dries out for longer than say a month every year, takes a bit more planning and work, bog plants wont thrive in dry soil. 
 
In this article I'm covering constructing both types of bog gardens in dry and wet areas. 
  • Constantly wet but not flooded is ideal.
  • Making a bog garden in a dry area using a liner also works.
How to make a bog garden in a permanently wet area. 
Providing the area you are going to plant bog plants in isn't flooded, stagnant and smelly, its really easy to select bog plants, most plants are the marginals you see around the edges of garden ponds and I have listed a few on this page bog garden plants.

Planting plan, 
The same rules apply, as for planting  flower borders. Plants look better in groups with the taller plants at the back, low growing in the middle with the ground cover plants in the front. The bog area will attract natts on warm evenings but will also attract more welcome wildlife.

Sun or shade, when selecting plants check tolerance to shade and position the bog plants appropriately.

Lay stepping stones through the bog area, to be able to plant and maintain your bog garden without getting covered in mud. The stepping stones will also help to stop the wet soil getting compacted by footprints.

A bog garden will never solve your waterlogging or permanently soggy soil, but it will help to make the boggy area look better.

Building and planting a bog garden in a dry garden. 

Even if the soil is sandy well drained all the time, or clay that is wet in Winter but dries out and cracks up in Summer,  you can still construct a bog area in dry garden..... 

Construction tips to create a bog garden in a dry area.

Dig out an area to about 12" deep and as wide and long as you want it to be,

Its worth trying our a sensibly sized area at first, bearing in mind you are going to have to purchase bog plants to fill it and they are not cheap to buy. You will also need to keep it wet and if you are on a water meter it all adds up.

Line the area with pond liner,

Any old liner will do, as you are going to pierce it anyway. Pierce a few holes into the base, Don't pierce the sides to keep the wet in the area you have dug out, this saves water and keeps the area around the bog garden dry.

Fill the area with a mix of topsoil and compost.
Mix the soil you have dug out with garden compost, rotted leaves or any green matter and shovel the soil back over the liner, filling the area to just under the top of the pond liner. 

Best types of soil to grow bog plants
  • Sandy soil lacks the nutrients for plants to thrive and will need green matter mixed in,
  • Clay soil needs less, it's already rich in the nutrients plants need.

If you are building your bog garden as part of a fish pond, overflowing the pond when topping up will keep the area damp and wash nutrients from the pond into the bog.

Caring for bog plants.

When the bog plants start to grow in Spring, feed them by adding more compost or other green matter to the surface, don't dig it in, the worms will take it down.

If the garden is part off or next to a pond with fish, over flowing the water will take some of the waste from the fish into the soil, best of both world, filtering the pond and feeding the bog plants.
 
Once again sandy soil will need a lot more compost added than clay. Not sure what type of soil in your garden, visit my "what type of soil" page.

If its a large area of boggy soil, lay stepping stones through the area to be able to plant and maintain your bog garden without getting covered in mud and compacting the boggy soil. 

Using containers to plant bog plants

A bog garden can also be created in a container, any type of planter that will hold water, plants, and soil will do.
Sleepers lined with old pond liner and filled with soil, look good and constructed to form a seat on top, have the added benefit of raised beds, if a bad back makes bending over difficult, constructing a raised bed is covered on this page of my website raised beds.
  
Fill it the raised bed or container and maintain the mini bog garden in just the same way as described above.