Creating A Water Garden: Applied Math & Outdoor Fun

the math equation I used for my pond liner, from Engel Tutors in Ann Arbor
Figuring out the right length and width for my pond liner.

Warm April weather can turn student minds away from classrooms and towards the outdoors. Why not bond with them and keep them engaged in learning at the same time? Designing and creating a backyard water garden will give your student the opportunity to apply math concepts such as proportions, fractions, multiplication, division, and algebra, as well as the handy use of important tools. It’s a great way to work with them as a teammate and add an exotic habitat to the homestead for observation and quiet meditation.

A water garden does not have to be big. You can build one in an old wooden barrel or you can do as I am currently doing, building a 7’ by 3’ pond. Here is an example of one design question that you and your student garden designer will need to answer: How large a garden should we build so that it is in balance with the size of our yard? Once you have a length, depth and width established you will need to use some basic math to determine the size of a liner for the pond:

Liner length = pool length + 2 x (deepest point in pool).

Liner width = pool width + 2 x (deepest point in pool).

My pond is 7’ long by 3’ wide and 26” deep. So, my liner length equation is: 7’ + 2x(26”), or 11’4”.

When you have finished digging the hole you may want to place a plank of wood across it and rest a Builder’s level – also called a balance – on the wood. The bubble on the balance will tell you if the surface is level. If not, you simply add soil to the lower side.

These are just a few of the practical math questions you get to bite into when designing a water garden. Check out complete directions at This Water Garden. Happy Digging!

Note: You can introduce your student to solar power by adding a solar-powered aerator to keep your pond water flowing at no cost and pollution free. To learn more about water aerator, try The Pond Report.


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