There are so many creative ways to add a water feature to a garden, and the design can be modern, traditional or extremely natural. And why just settle for one water feature? If you look at some of the famous gardens that are open to the public, they rarely restrict themselves to one element but instead use water in many different ways.
Start simple. Most of us don’t have space for anything extravagant, such as a pond, so why not begin with a birdbath? A small birdbath can look beautiful and will create a focal point in the garden. Situate it where you can see it from the windows, and watching the birds coming and going will provide endless pleasure.
Pass on digging deep. Not all statement water features need extensive excavation. All you need is an electrical source for the pump, and then the pump can be hidden inside the feature. Or you could make things really simple by opting for one of the solar-powered fountains now available at many garden centers.
Get ready to relax. Water, whether still or flowing, has a tactile quality; you just want to hold your hands under a sheet of water and play with it, or dip your fingers into its surface and create ripples. So why not introduce a water feature beside or near an outdoor sitting area, like here. It adds lots of interest — the reflections, the sound and the feel of it. The evaporation from the pool that the fountain flows into also can help cool the air on a hot summer day.
Dive in. Perhaps you like the idea of being able to swim in your garden but don’t want the harsh-blue, chemically augmented pool that this usually entails. Why not consider a natural pool? A natural pool needs to be planted with oxygenating plants at varying depths. Reeds, waterlilies and other water plants will do the job. These plants consume harmful bacteria, decontaminate the water and prevent algal growth. The result? A pond that looks great and is also good for you and the environment.
Downsize your pond. Even a small pool can create a sense of adventure. Adding steppingstones or a bridge instantly invites you to cross or to linger to study the pond’s depths at close quarters.
To create the illusion that the steppingstones are floating on the water, reat their supports and also the inner sides of the pool with a black mastic. This will create the perfect reflection as you cannot see into the pool’s inner depths.
Play with sound. Before you even see a water feature in the garden, unless it’s a completely still pool, you will hear it. So it’s worth thinking about how your water feature will sound as well as how it will look. In the famous gardens of Villa d’Este in Italy there are water features that even play music.
Probably a little ambitious for your average domestic plot, but more achievable sounds can range from a gentle resonant plink to a gurgling rush, gentle lapping or simple splashes. There is a reason why there are so many words in the English language to describe water sounds. Variation can come from the height and shape of the water — whether it falls as a sheet, flows over rocks or comes out of a spout — and also from the power of the pump that you employ to recirculate it. So next time you see a water feature you like, think about the sound it makes too.
Capture the rain. In nature, rainfall is trapped in various humps and hollows and soaks slowly into the ground, arriving slowly at streams and rivers. When it rains in urban areas, water from all our hard surfaces is usually piped into drains and delivered to rivers. In built-up areas, this process can lead to flooding.
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