Water feature
Realise your gardening dreams

Water features in the garden

From Sarah’s garden to yours

As much as plants are considered the prominent feature in most gardens, taking the starring role with their showy blooms, incredible fragrances and reliable foliage for a green backdrop and seasonal interest – there is more to a garden than just the plants. Aside from the hard landscaping that can give a framework and structure to the garden, the use of water brings many benefits that will elevate a garden beyond the ordinary.

Plants need water to survive so it is often found in the garden being used practically to hydrate through irrigation or out the end of a hose or watering can. Although this benefits the plants, it is more of a chore to the gardener and the satisfaction of healthy and thriving plants is the only real advantage gained. Water though can have other roles to play in the garden.

Birds and the bees

A shallow dish filled with marbles and kept topped up with water can supply much needed hydration for the insects of the garden. The marbles give them plenty of places to land without the risk of drowning. Providing a watering hole for these hard-working beneficial insects is a reward in itself and part of keeping the ecosystem in the garden healthy.

A larger shallow bowl structure – elevated off the ground and inaccessible to cats, can be a delightful place for the garden birds to take a bath and splash about as well as take a drink. Grab a pair of binoculars and see how many different varieties of birds enjoy bathing in your garden. Make sure you clean the water out regularly to avoid the spread of bird diseases.

Bee bath

Softening the noise

If your garden is in the vicinity of less than calming noises, like a busy road, or noisy neighbours, water can help mask the sound with something more pleasant. Set up a splashy fountain or water feature that intentionally makes noise as it spills out. There are many types that will deliver a wide range of sound possibilities to suit whatever it is you need – from a soft tinkle to a full-on roar. With the right materials and a good pump, you can even make your own water feature and let your creativity go wild!

Peace and calm

A still pool or container of water can be just as mesmerising, especially as it reflects the dramatic sky or the scene from the leafy trees above. The depth of the reflection can be improved with the addition of an aquatic safe black dye. A few aquatic plants and fish can be added to the pool for extra interest but will require extra care to keep the still qualities of a reflecting pool.

Wildlife Pond

A pond with nature in mind is another wonderful way to bring water into the garden. With effective landscaping with aquatic, marginal and regular garden plants, the wildlife pond can look natural, like it has always been there. To assist the creatures that may use the pond, have a gentle sloping side for easy access in and out of the water. A small fountain in the water can help keep the water moving and make it welcoming to the wildlife.

Channelling Water

A rill has been around gardens for centuries. It is a channel of water – either still or running that cut through the garden for a formal feature. It isn’t deep or wide but is enough of a presence of water to add a special element to any garden. It can connect ponds and water features or go nowhere at all. Rills are a safe water feature where children play.

Fountain formality

For a statement in grandeur, truly opulent charm can be found with a multi-tiered fountain display reminiscent of the grand gardens of Europe that delivers a bit of posh to your garden. However, if you are looking for something a little more understated, there are many more types of fountain that are a little more organic in style that can blend into any garden design. Moving water in a garden adds an extra dimension for the senses.


Dry riverbed

This garden feature isn’t always running with water but has the capacity to do so in times of excess rainfall. They are usually laid out with river stones, appropriate plants, intentional earthworks, and, in some cases, hidden drainage features. An abundance of water can be directed across the garden to a desired outlet without flooding the entire garden and it can still be attractive in dry spells. A rain chain can be an aesthetically pleasing way of guiding the water from the spouting into the start of the dry riverbed.

Swimming pool

A truly enjoyable way to add water to a garden is, of course, with the addition of a swimming pool. Although a quick and easy set up is an affordable above ground structure that gives the immediate function of family fun and cooling off on a hot day, it can be a bit of an eyesore in the midst of a beautiful garden. However, a pool can be incorporated into the garden as part of the design while still including all the important features such as safety fences and pumping equipment, making it a welcome respite from the heat of summer and a wonderful place to be in the garden while creating specials memories of a summer well spent.

How ever you want to create a water feature, there is something for every garden, every budget, and every style. Adding water to the garden is a wonderful way to improve the enjoyment of your outdoor space.