How to add a water feature to your garden

Enjoy the benefits of a water feature in your garden without spending a lot of time or money.

Enjoy the benefits of a water feature in your garden without spending a lot of time or money.

I once thought having a water feature in my garden would require a major investment of time and money, as well as a lot of space.

I was wrong. When I finally added a small pool to my suburban garden, I opened the door to an enchanting world that delighted my senses and enriched the garden’s design.

Like a mirror, the glassy surface of a still pool reflects the blue sky and shifting patterns of clouds. Water ripples with the slightest breeze and sparkles in sunlight. The sound of moving water is always soothing; it is especially refreshing on a hot day. No garden is too small for water.

You don’t need to install a pond; any water-tight vessel can be transformed into a water garden.

Appealing options include kettles, urns, glazed pots, and stone troughs. Millstones make attractive fountains, and there are many distinctive carved-stone and concrete fountains and basins, available from art galleries, specialty garden shops, architectural salvage centres, and even your local building store.

Water also creates opportunities for a new kind of gardening with a specific group of plants – aquatics. Even the smallest container can be filled with decorative water plants. In larger basins or ponds, add drama with colourful tropicals like elephant ears (Colocasia esculenta), swamp lilies (Crinum spp.), and cannas (Canna spp.), as well as traditional water plants such as irises, water lilies, spike rushes (Equisetum spp.), and hardy canna (Thalia dealbata).

Another benefit of water gardening is that wildlife flocks to water like obsessed gardeners to a rare-plant sale.

Dragonflies dart through the garden on gossamer wings, and frogs lull you to sleep with their curious serenade.

Use your water feature as a focal point in a garden bed, or at the end of a vista.

Place a basin where you can view it from a window, surrounded with contrasting plant forms.

Try a simple reservoir of still water or add a bubbling for sound and motion.

I added a small pump to my pool to mitigate the roar of traffic along the busy street that bordered my former garden.

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