Water Features for the Garden

Water Features for the Garden

As gardens and outdoor spaces mature you begin to want to make additions to enhance its beauty, with luxurious garden furniture to sit back and admire the hard work from. Ornaments that add personality and if space allows, water features for the garden or outdoor space. Water features don’t just look great, they can add relaxing sound that brings a sense of tranquility. While increasing humidity for the plants to thrive further and attracting and encouraging other elements of nature.

Creating beautiful gardens where plants and trees don’t only thrive but also look great is an accomplishment in itself. The level of daily care, motivation, endless research and troubleshooting that goes into creating gardens is immense, costly and time-consuming. Gardening is not just a hobby it can be a second (full-time) job. It can be like having multiple children that always need love and attention. Only children grow up and want independence, whereas plants remain demanding children.

Types of water features for the garden

Water features for the garden can be categorised into six basic types:

  1. Fish ponds and ponds
  2. Fountains
  3. Ornamental and decorative pools
  4. Water gardens
  5. Waterfalls
  6. Streams

Each type of water feature can be a combination of more than one type, serving more than one function.


Using fish ponds as water features for the garden

Fish ponds are common water features for the garden. Most water features listed can tolerate the addition of fish. So long as the water feature is spacious enough for the size of the fish and potential size they may grow to. However, they may need to be adapted slightly, to support and sustain life. Adding fish to ponds is a great way to create movement and color but requires research and knowledge. Different fish require different water temperatures and water quality. Quality of water must be sufficient to support life and must also be maintained or fish may not live for very long. Common additions included cold water fish such as Goldfish and Koi fish. Which tend not to damage or eat plants they are cohabiting with.

Fish ponds are not low maintenance, oxygen levels in water and build up of algae require frequent checking and treating.  If intending to house tropical fish, things get more complicated and maintenance increases, filters and heating systems are usually required for tropical fish.

Natural water features for the garden

Ponds can be created with various depths, sizes, shapes and types. Generally, a hole is dug in a desired location. Then typically lined with a flexible, cut-to-fit liner, made from PVC or butyl rubber. Although, there are many other lining options used. Ponds are one of the most natural looking water features for the garden and also act as reflective pools, reflecting the surrounding tress and plants. Whether fish are added to the pond or not, algae build up will occur and require removal to keep the pond looking clean. Care products can be purchased to prevent the build up of algae in any water feature.


Water features for the garden

The favourite water features for the garden, when wanting to add the sound of running water. Outdoor water fountains are and should be made of materials that withstand varying weather conditions. Materials such as granite, stone or stone-like composite, resin coated faux rock or wood are common materials used. When creating outdoor water fountains. Be mindful indoor fountains are not always made from such materials. Flowing water splashes into the lower still water, creating the relaxing sound of running water. While also splashing water into the air, increasing humidity. The flow of a water fountain usually requires a pump, powered by electricity or solar power. Pumps will need cleaning occasionally. To reduce the frequency of cleaning and build up of algae use fountain care products.


Water features for the garden

The low maintenance aesthetic option, of water features for the garden. Ornamental and decorative pools tend to require the most technical expertise and support. Most incorporate architectural, visual and technical elements to provide the most harmonious, pleasing aesthetics. Ornamental pools are typically designed around ornamental pieces such as a spouting statue, bell fountain or a vertically cascading fountain. Although, considered low maintenance, the addition of fish or plants and growth of algae increases the level of maintenance required. Ornamental and decorative pools enhance and reflect the beauty of outdoor spaces. You may find them indoors as well, particularly hotel lobbies and restaurants. The aim is usually to blend the pool into its environment. Therefore design, color and materials should consider and compliment its location.


Water features for the garden

The most natural option of water features for the garden. Water gardens are living water features. Specifically designed to accommodate, encourage growth and display specific or various aquatic life. Such as fish, plants and water snails to mention a few. Water gardens can be created indoors as well as outdoors. The beauty is attributed to its various vibrant colours and textures, from plants naturally growing both inside, on top and outside of the of the water garden. Water gardens can be as elaborate or understated as desired. Water gardens can be created with minimal effort and housed in almost anything, from small containers to ponds. If you are aiming to create your own DIY water garden check out deepgreenpermaculture.com for a step by step guide.


Waterfalls as water features for the garden

The most dramatic looking option of water features for the garden. Just Like fountains, waterfalls add sound, movement and a refreshing feel of vitality to the garden. Adding humidity and preventing stagnation. Waterfalls are typically, created using materials such as slabs of natural stone and/or boulders. Waterfalls can be added to gardens naturally or artificially. It is possible to add them to existing water features using prefabricated shop bought waterfalls. Which come in a variety of options both small and big, enclosed or open. Common and simple ways to add a waterfall is to use pressure water pumps and fancy nozzles. There are many articles available with step by step guides on creating outdoor waterfalls.


Water features for the garden

Not the most common of water features for the garden. A stream is a body of flowing water that acts as a natural filter, usually aiding and helping sustain the environment of aquatic life. If a stream is not already present in outdoor spaces creating one will require expert advice and support. Streams are typically designed as part of or to flow into waterfalls or ponds. When adding streams as a water feature in the garden, ideal and common placements of streams run along or through paths, walkways or pool decking. Garden streams are typically used to enhance the beauty of existing water features or to create movement in ponds.

Each category of water features for the garden, require individual research and considerations, before commissioning design and installation. Whichever option of water feature you may intend to add to your outdoor space, it is helpful to consider general points:

  • Excavation
  • Design, materials and size
  • Function
  • Maintenance required
  • Location – close to power supply (if required), avoid utilities and electrical equipment storage
  • Placement, will it receive enough sunlight (if required)
  • Reflection, water features usually reflect what is near them
  • Research, have you done enough research for upkeep and/or aquatic life
  • Wild plants and algae grow in any water feature – care products may be required

There is no one individual option or category of water features for the garden that is best. Consider the size of the outdoor space and appropriate proportions for the water feature. Using power supplies may increase electricity bills, consider solar-powered options alternatively. Water stagnates without movement, consider a combination of water features to prevent stagnation. The most aesthetically pleasing and satisfying water features have a combination of water features.

Considering the addition or creation of a vertical garden? Check out our guide on DIY vertical gardens.

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