Close your eyes. Does your dream landscape include the soft sound of a water feature bubbling in the background while you enjoy relaxing in your outdoor living space? Most of us feel a strong pull toward water – and well-designed water features can work wonders for even the most minimal landscaping.
Water features come in a variety of styles and sizes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite installations – along with a few things to think about if you’re dreaming of babbling brooks and miniature Niagaras.
Types of Water Features
Bubbling Boulders and Fountains
Bubbling boulders are a fantastic option for those who want the ambiance of a water feature but may have limited space and budget. With a large variety of boulders and rocks available there are options for every style, from modern to rustic. Multiple holes can be drilled into bubbling boulders for added visual interest.
Fountains are similar to bubbling boulders in that they sit on a pond-free basin. The options are endless, from modern basalt columns to large decorative vases and they come in a very wide variety of sizes and budgets.
Pondless Water Features
Image courtesy of Atlantic Water Gardens
Pondless Water Feature
Pondless water features are water features that do not create an accessible pool. These can include waterfalls, recirculating streams, and formal spillways in a large variety of styles. These are popular because they provide the lovely white noise of rushing water that homeowners seek while requiring less maintenance than a pond. They do not collect debris like an open water pond does and can be turned off and on as needed.
Water features in this category are any that end in an exposed open body of water. They often will contain fish and therefore require a balance of aquatic life, plant life, and beneficial bacteria. They often contain similar elements of pond-free features like spillways and waterfalls.
Consider your placement
What do you want a water feature to accomplish? Will it be a gathering place adjacent to where you host summer barbecues and picnics? Or do you want a place that lends itself more to meditation – a sort of oasis in the midst of your busy neighborhood? We recommend placing your water feature in close proximity to your outdoor living spaces, like your backyard patio or near an entryway.
Two additional considerations when choosing your location is the availability of electricity and irrigation. Electricity is required to run the pump for your water feature to keep the water circulating. By utilizing your existing irrigation system, it will allow your water feature to auto-fill, ensuring that the proper water level is maintained. Of course, you can always opt to fill your feature manually with a hose or bucket. If you run your water feature during winter here in Colorado when your irrigation system is turned off, you will need to manually fill it anyway.
Make time for maintenance
Installing a water feature isn’t just a financial investment: it’s also a bit of a time commitment. Ponds require the most maintenance to manage algae, especially if fish are introduced. Occasional draining and power washing is important for all water features and it is important to check the water level, especially if you opt to hand-fill rather than connect to your irrigation system. Permanent damage can be done to a pump if the water level drops too low.
- Remove debris promptly
- Change your water
- Check your filter
- Keep the pump protected
- Keep tubing clean
- Winterize your water feature if needed
Commit to a style
Because water features are so visually impactful, it’s extra important that your design of choice suits your existing landscaping and aesthetic.
Remember that, like most landscaping, water features are highly customizable – so your options are virtually limitless.