Nothing brings Zen to your outdoor space like the soothing sound of water. Adding a water feature to your garden will add to your quality of life by increasing your level of enjoyment outdoors, and also create a micro ecosystem for plants and animals. After all, Buddhist monks can’t be wrong – they’ve incorporated water features into their meditative gardens for hundreds of years.
You’re only limited to your imagination and wallet in terms of the size and design of a water feature. Consider a pond with goldfish or koi, or a beautiful abstract stone sculpture with water bubbling out of the top into a pile of stones at its base, or a classic lion’s head fountain that spouts into a basin. Gillian Santangeli of Intriguing Landscapes in Oakville says they can create anything, even a “bio-pond”. “It’s not your typical swimming pool – it looks like a pond and a lot of the aquatic plants in the pool do a lot of the cleaning,” she explains. But a water feature doesn’t have to be grandiose. “People might think that they need a lot of room for a water feature but you can actually do something that suits your taste and can be very small,” she adds.
Bubble rocks made of granite are very popular and they can even transition into a nice feature during the colder months, explains Stanely Kong, Garden Supply Sales Supervisor at Sheridan Nurseries. When the pump is turned off for winter, he says the rocks become a pleasing focal point. For a more modern design, Santangeli suggests a long skinny reflecting pool. “Knowing what you want in terms of aesthetics and style is always the first step,” she says.
As pleasant as it is to listen to birds sing and twitter in your yard, their tweets and twitters can only provide so much white noise. Water fountains and waterfalls not only create visual interest but the sound they make can provide soothing calm. If you live in a densely populated area, depending on the time of day and other sounds, you can adjust the level/volume of water to a gentle trickle or a gushing waterfall.
Water features such as ponds and bird baths also benefit nature, considering the amounts of wetlands and natural environments lost to make way for housing. Creatures that once called these areas home have less living space. “When you add in a natural fountain or pond, you’re creating a (natural) environment,” says Kong. “For example, increasing the frog population is a good thing, as they help to control insects naturally.” Larger, furry and feathered inhabitants will likely also visit your running water to catch lunch or have a cool drink.
Where you choose to install your water feature is all personal preference; Santangeli says, “it’s an essential part of the overall yard design. You need to decide whether you want it close to the house so you can hear it, or if you want something to look out at off in the distance.” Kong says he usually recommends putting water close to the house or patio since one of the reasons for installing it in the first place is to enjoy the white noise.
So go ahead and bring life to your yard with a water feature. It will definitely add to your enjoyment – while sipping your morning coffee, entertaining with friends and family, or while you work in your yard. It may even ease your frustration while pulling those weeds!
By: Becky Dumais