The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Incorporating the world of water in landscape design
I HAVE often shared on the benefits of adding water features to your garden design. I would like to revisit this concept today. Everyone should have the opportunity to add some sort of water feature to their garden, in order to enjoy the benefits that water can bring.
Of late I came across a write-up in a gardening magazine in New Zealand, which aptly discussed the beauty of water. Water can calm the soul, body and mind, or simply add an elegant element to the garden. Water gardens come alive not just for us but also for birds, fish, and insects, bringing in the natural world to our built up environments.
A water feature in the garden can truly create a private oasis – a tranquil spot for the family to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sound of running water. Guidelines The most important factor when adding a water feature to your garden would be to really analyse the best location for it. It is vital that the water feature be visible from the house.
However, you need to remember that the last thing you want for your water feature is for full sunlight to blast down on the water throughout the day as this might generate more algae.
Water filtration demands will depend on your use of natural or built shading. Ideally, ponds and large water features do best in a spot away from all day sun.
What you plant in the water feature will also make a difference. The rule of thumb is water gardens require 75 per cent of the water surface to be covered by plants. Aquatic plants reduce the nutrient levels, leaving less for the unwanted algae to feed on.
You will also need to check whether the site you intend to build on is strong enough – remember that the weight of water is one kg per litre. Be sure the footing of your water feature is strong enough. Hence those living in an apartment should avoid installing a large water feature. Just find a small container type water feature for displays. Pond liners We are familiar with mud ponds, cement ponds, and plastic sealed ponds but there is always the question of leakage when building a pond. Liners are therefore essential to reduce the chances of the problem occurring later once the pond has already been installed.
The liner should be installed after the basic container form of the pond is ready. It is important to do it with a whole piece to avoid any need to enlarge or extend the liner, which might also lead to problems with leaks later.
Remember that when the water body is subject to sunlight or heat, it would be a suitable spot for algae to grow and flourish, especially when we introduce fish that would excrete waste into the water body. The waste becomes nutrients for green algae, causing water pollution and raising the cost of maintenance.
Nowadays, we can find several types of filtration agents. Aquatic plants such as the water lily or fairy moss would use the nutrients in the water to keep it clear, thus acting as a natural filtration system. Additional installations To beautify the hardware of the pond, waterfalls, water walls and other water display systems can be added. Some may like to install some artificial birds, small animals, or Japanese lanterns.
The planting of suitable trees or shrubs, and water plants would give additional depth to the water feature’s design. Today we can see many excellent examples of water features in home gardens. Many also like to add golden yellow or red carp in their ponds, as this is said to bring good luck.
How about adding a water feature to your garden? Do send me an email if you have questions, comments, or suggestions. Happy gardening.