How To Build An Easy Bog Garden

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Real Men Sow

A bog garden is a natural attraction that has a lot of appeal. It’s easy to create an artificial bog garden. Easy bog garden plants can be grown in most climates. You can design them in many ways depending on your location and individual needs. 

What is a Bog Garden?

A bog garden is a fun project that lets you experiment with different plant species. What exactly is a “bog garden”? Bog gardens can be found in nature around streams, lakes and ponds. Bog garden plants prefer soil that is overly moist, but not standing. These marshy gardens can be a beautiful attraction in any landscape. They can transform a spot that has been waterlogged into a stunning scenic attraction.

How to Build an Easy Bog Garden

It is easy to build a bog. You should choose a spot that gets at least five hours of sunlight per day. Dig a hole measuring 2 feet (61cm). You can make your garden as deep or wide as you like.

Place a sheet of pond liners in the hole and press it down to contour it. Allow at least 12 inches (31cm) of liner to remain. To allow for bog settling, leave at least 12 inches (31 cm) of liner. It is possible to conceal this edge with small rocks or mulch later.

To prevent the plants from getting rotten, you should poke drainage holes one foot (31cm) around the edge. Below the soil surface. The soil should be filled with a mix of 30% coarse sand, 70% peat moss, compost and native soil. Let the bog settle for one week, and then water it regularly.

Planning your easy bog garden

Decide on Size 

To help you determine the size of your garden, lay out a long rope or hose. It is important to not make it too large as it can be difficult to maintain and may require stepping stones.

Make Sure You Research Your Plants 

Bog plants are able to thrive in soil that is rich in nutrients and contains lots of organic matter, unlike pond plants. There are many exciting bog plants available, including creeping jenny and tiny water forget-me-nots. You can find out their preferences by doing some research, such as whether they prefer sun or shade, how acidic they like, and how much space they need.

Establishing Your Garden

  • Pick a spot. Making an artificial bog is very like making a pond. Pick a spot on level ground, away from overhanging trees.
  • Dig a hole. Dig a hole about 30 cm (12 in) deep.  
  • Lay a butyl liner in the hole. Make a few drainage slits in the liner and return the excavated soil, mixed with some organic material, to the hole.
  • Water the soil thoroughly. Try to use rainwater, especially if the soil is acidic. If tap water is the only means of filling, let it stand for a few days to allow any additives to break down. 
  • Leave the soil to settle for about a week before planting up.

Choosing Bog Garden Plants

There are many perfect plants for bog gardens that will naturally adapt to the moist environment. Be sure that you select plants that are appropriate for your growing region. Good choices for a bog garden include some of the following beauties:

There are many perfect plants for bog gardens that will naturally adapt to the moist environment. Be sure that you select plants that are appropriate for your growing region. Good choices for a bog garden include some of the following beauties:

  • Giant rhubarb – has massive, umbrella-shaped leaves 
  • Giant marsh marigold – grows up to 3 feet (1 m.) tall with beautiful yellow flowers 
  • Flag iris – can be purple, blue, yellow, or white with tall stalks and dark green leaves

Other plants for bog gardens include carnivorous species such as Venus flytrap and pitcher plant. Many woodland plants feel right at home in the boggy environment as well. Some of these include:

  • Jack-in-the-pulpit 
  • Turtlehead 
  • Joe-pye weed 
  • Blue-eyed grass 

Be sure to put taller bog plants in the back of your bed and provide plenty of water.

Container Bog Garden

If your space is limited or you are not interested in excavation, consider a container bog garden. A bog garden can be created using any number of containers including whiskey barrels, kiddie swimming pools, and more. Virtually, any relatively shallow container that is wide enough to accommodate some plants will do.

 Fill 1/3 of your chosen container with gravel and put a mixture of 30 percent sand and 70 percent peat moss on top. Wet the planting medium completely. Let your container bog garden sit for one week, keeping the soil wet.

Then, place your bog plants where you want them and continue to keep the soil wet. Put your bog garden container where it will get at least five hours of daily sun.


  • Plant a combination of short and tall plants for cover and perches. 
  • Be careful what you plant as some species can be vigorous, aggressive or very large, such as pendulous sedge and gunnera.
  • Think about planting so that there is a range of flowers throughout the year, from marsh-marigold in spring, to hemp-agrimony in autumn.
  • Water your bog in drought, but respect hosepipe bans. Try to use rainwater if you can.
  • Include stepping stones if your bog garden is very big. This will help you to get to the plants as you maintain them without compacting the soil. 

Tips on Having a Bog Garden

  • If you’re digging your bog garden into turf, place the sods grass-side down around its edge for an instant, nutrient-rich planting medium.
  • If a bog garden isn’t possible, a miniature version can be created in a container, and planted up. This will probably dry out quicker than a traditional bog garden, so will need topping up with water frequently.
  • ‘Palustris’ and ‘uliginosus’ mean ‘bog’ or ‘marsh’ in Latin, so look out for these words in the names of plants, for example, Caltha palustris. It shows that they are appropriate for this environment.
Real Men Sow
Real Men Sow

Hello, I’m Pete and I’m currently based in the west of Scotland, in a small place called Rosneath, where I’m exploring my garden adventures. I personally started gardening around 6 years ago and initially, I started out by growing my favorite fruits and berries, such as strawberries, Raspberries & Gooseberries. Since then I’ve added a lot of vegetables and working closely with my neighbor, it’s been a lot of fun.