It’s no secret that a water feature can add dimension to any garden, no matter what the size. They can be both stimulating and relaxing at the same time. They also function as a visual and aural focus, hopefully taking your eye and ear away from the busy street right over the fence! A water feature will draw wildlife (including small children) into your garden. In an urban environment that can be especially important.
There are a variety of water features that are commonly available. The ease of installation and cost depend on the type of feature and size. Maintenance is often a concern. All water features will require a certain amount of maintenance. The important thing is to seek knowledgeable advice so that you settle on a perfectly sized feature with the right amount of maintenance and an installation cost that fits your budget (whether you are installing yourself or hiring a professional).
The feature pictured above consists of three faux basalt columns and a reservoir created using pond liner. There is a valve box hidden in the reservoir that contains the pump assembly. The site prohibited the installation of real basalt columns. (The house sits more than 45 steps up from the sidewalk). Real columns were simply too heavy to get up the stairs and too far away for a boom truck installation. The faux columns not only look real, they provided real relief on the budget.
The water feature pictured below is a larger version of the same idea, using one single special Huckleberry basalt column. The stone was chosen specifically because it has a cleft face that allows water to spill in two different directions. The water feature in this space functions on many different levels. It provides a quiet rush of sound to distract from the neighbors noisy turkey (not kidding). It is the main feature next to the back entrance to the home and it’s the anchor in a calm, contemplative garden space.
Rather than open water, the home owner opted to fill the basin with washed cobble and larger rock. When the fountain is running the water level is just above the gravel. The wet cobble is lovely to look at and it lowers the amount of weekly maintenance required for the feature to look ‘clean’.
A small recirculating fountain can be created with an undrilled pot. It can be situated in another, larger pot or it can over flow into a gravel filled basin beneath. An ‘over flowing’ pot doesn’t create a cacophony of noise. It’s a lovely little burble that subtly draws attention. These more modest features are often seen near a front entry way, in a small urban courtyard or
in a secret little nook in the garden. The fountain pictured to the right was created using a bamboo spigot that pours into a basin rock, which in turn over flows into the gravel filled basin beneath. In this case the homeowner has chosen add a bird feeder to the area. Along with shrubby and flowering plant material in the garden bed, the feeder and fountain provide a perfect habitat that attracts birds and insects.
The smallest and easiest of water features could simply be an undrilled pot, bird bath or other vessel filled with water and a bit of duck weed. Though very simple this sort of feature contains mystery and a bit of reflection, while still allowing birds and bees to access the moisture. Depending on the depth of the vessel and the amount of time it takes for the vessel to dry out you may have to worry about mosquito larvae. There are many options for controlling insects and algae in a water feature. Check with your local garden center for treatment options.
A landscape professional can help you decide the best feature to fit your garden and your budget. No matter what size your space is, there is an option that will be perfect for you!