The benefits of a water feature are many: the musical murmuring or splashing can muffle or even mask traffic and other noise pollution; the feature brings a focal point to the garden; the sounds are soothing, even healing and spiritually refreshing; and if you have a koi pond, just watching them gracefully swim through the depths of a pond is relaxing. A water feature can also bring great beauty to a garden.
Water features include ponds, water gardens, table fountains and more. Since standing water is ripe for mosquito breeding, always include a pump to keep the water moving. Mosquito dunks and fish are also great deterrents.
Some landscaping professionals categorize garden water features into three basic types: the water garden (primary focus being the plants), the pond (deeper with the primary purpose being the fish) and the waterfall. These can all overlap, but there will be certain considerations, depending on what you want the most. For example, the water garden should be at least 18 inches deep, while fish need something deeper (depending on the climate and predators), and a reflecting pond can be less than a foot deep.
Ponds, water gardens and reflecting pools are usually made either with a pond lining material (various types include ones that are fish-safe), a rigid, prefabricated pond (where a hole is dug to fit it) or concrete.
The waterfall may tumble over boulders and smaller rocks or a flat surface so that it falls in a sheet. The water’s edge can be landscaped to support the look you want whether this be a lush, tropical setting or a desert spring. Plants that grow naturally at water’s edge include grasses, sedges and ferns. Moisture-loving plants such as mosses and potted orchids can be tucked in among the waterfall’s stones so that they benefit from the mist.
Here are some other types of water features for your garden, patio or deck (here the terms pond and water garden are used interchangeably):
Patio Pond: This may be outlined with bricks, flagstone or river rock, and either set underground or on top and then accented with potted plants.
Portable Ponds: These can be made from recycled items such as a claw legged bathtub or large pottery. Or they may be purchased at nurseries, like the “wine barrel” halves with plastic liners. A fountain pump may be used, or if a waterfall is desired, one item may serve as the waterfall and the other as the pond. Portable ponds are prefect for small spaces.
Fountains: From classic Grecian fountains to whimsical frogs spurting water, your local garden center probably has a wide array from which to choose. Or you can make your own with pottery, a pump, some ingenuity and basic instructions.
Table Fountains – For inspiration, search Google Images for “Table Fountains.” You’ll see everything from cherub to Zen table fountains here. You can make your own with pottery and decorate with animal or other thematic miniatures.
Thematic Water Gardens: These bring elements together that support a common theme. For example, a Japanese water garden would make use of natural materials like rock, wood and bamboo. Such a garden may include a stream that meanders from the East to the South and then West for good luck, submerged pots with Japanese water iris, stone lanterns and dwarf pines.
So as you can see there are many choices when it comes to adding a water feature to your garden, deck or patio. Consider your preferences, climate and budget. Do some Internet research and/or library research…and have fun!