Since the early nineties, having a water feature in your garden has been considered the height of fashion. The sight and sound of water in a garden have a positive effect on our mind and spirits, soothing the soul and creating stunning reflections of whatever surrounds it. Garden Design in London can especially benefit from a water feature, as its gentle sounds can help mask traffic and city noises. Whatever your circumstance and budget there is a water feature for you.
The range of possible water features in a garden is vast and can include anything from a swimming pool to a sunken rill, a water wall to a small spout or fountain. The style can be formal, modern, traditional or naturalistic and can utilise a wide variety of materials including plastic, glass and stone. Planning is essential for a water feature, both to ensure proper functionality (water can be difficult to tame) and to integrate it with the overall garden design. The best water features are not inserted as an afterthought.
Some water features (although not all) can have complex pump and filtration systems, and even small ponds will need some movement to prevent the water becoming unpleasantly stagnant. Hot tubs and swimming pools will need chemical treatment to make them safe for human use. Building regulations and local by-laws (in the UK at least) require that all electrical installation (including pond pumps) in a garden should be carried out and certificated by a qualified electrician, although if you do not permanently wire the pump in (i.e. use a low voltage unit which can be plugged into an indoor or outdoor socket as required) then an electrician’s services will not be necessary.
There are thousands of different styles of water feature you can go for: natural gardens can work best with wildlife ponds surrounded with pebbles, flat paddle stones, or gravel. Modern or formal gardens look good with clean edging such as a limestone or slate. With all water features consideration needs to be given to safety and practicality, particularly where they relate to children, pets, and wildlife.
If you want a garden pond mainly for it’s reflective qualities, use dark pond liner or cover the inside with black tiles or paint. Walkways across water always create drama and excitement and can lend a sense of journey to a garden.
A water feature can be a trial for a garden designer or landscaper, as the behaviour of water is bound by its physical properties and doesn’t necessarily do what you wanted it to do. It is always worthwhile, if attempting to build a water feature yourself, to keep things as simple as possible. It can be very difficult to make a natural water feature fit with its surroundings and there is a danger it will end up looking incongruous and out of place. Always place your water feature within clear view of the house, to act as a garden focal point, or near outside seating or dining areas to aid relaxation. It can also work well placed at the end of a path, especially one covered by an arch or pergola, as the feature can help guide the eye through the garden.
Lighting a water feature can help transform and illuminate your garden at night. Water lit from underneath can create great shadows against a wall. When choosing your water feature, consider how best to light it to get the maximum potential out of the feature when the sun goes down.