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Ponds and Water Features

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 31 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Ponds Waterfalls Cascades Fountains

There are few gardens that will not benefit from some kind of pond or water feature and with today’s advanced range of liners and materials, coupled with the reliability and low-cost of modern pumps, building one has never been easier. Add to this the wide availability of ready-made fountains, ornaments, plants and fish in even the most modest of garden centres and being spoilt for choice is most likely to be your biggest problem!

Water brings a quite different aspect to any landscaping design – offering movement, sound and reflections which few other features can even come close to providing – and even when frozen, makes its own unique contribution to the overall character of the garden.

Choosing how to add water to the garden is an important decision and you should be guided by the size of area available and overall style of the rest of your plot to avoid any unpleasant clashes. Given the extraordinary range of options on offer, however, it really ought not be too difficult to find the perfect way to add water to your overall landscape design.

Building a Pond

For most gardeners, there are two choices when it comes to adding a pond – flexible liners, or rigid pre-formed types – and both have their own advantages and drawbacks. Choosing the “right” one for you is more about convenience and cost – and the size of pond you want to create – than anything else, but whichever you choose, you will need to dig a suitable hole, line it appropriately to protect the water-tight structure and then plant it. The principle advantage of adding a pond to the garden – apart from the tranquillity it brings – is that it enables you to play host to a variety of plants that would otherwise be simply impossible to grow. It can also allow scope to add fish or encourage wildlife, if your interests lie here. Whatever your reasons, a pond – however small – makes a welcome addition to any garden.

Waterfalls and Fountains

Few things liven up a garden pond so much as a fountain or waterfall – adding a touch of movement, oxygenating the water and helping to ensure that the underwater environment remains dynamic and healthy.

Almost any garden centre will have more than enough types of fountain ornaments – ranging from comedic frogs to classical nymphs – to suit any taste and, while creating a cascade does take a bit of effort, who can resist the appeal of a well constructed waterfall? With any DIY feature, it is important to make sure that you allow sufficient pump capacity to avoid ending up with a bit of a feeble show – but with careful planning, there is nothing to stop you producing a very impressive display.

Self-Contained Features

A stand-alone water feature allows even the smallest garden or patio-space to enjoy the sight and sounds of moving water. With its own internal reservoir of water, all that you need to do is pick where you want to site it, fill it with water and then switch it on. The range is huge and there is sure to be something to suit everyone – and every garden – from bamboo Japanese-style units to Victorian wall fountains and everything in between.

For a small garden – or one which is home to young children – self-contained bubble fountains and pebble bowls are perfect, while simple pot features are ideal for adding interest to any forgotten corner. Where space is really limited, wall mounted features – often in the shape of a face spouting water into a trough – are perfect and installing them could hardly be simpler.

Water adds something quite unique and special to any garden and few landscaping features give so great an impact for such a relatively small amount of effort. Whether you opt for a pond, cascade or ready-made unit, few things will make such a major contribution to the overall design or provide quite so much atmosphere as a well planned water feature.

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