Adding a wa­ter fea­ture in­tro­duces move­ment, sound, light and in­ter­est to your gar­den. Here are five clas­sic ex­am­ples and their key el­e­ments

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

Ideas for dif­fer­ent styles


The con­tast be­tween na­ture and the man-made can be seen in this mod­ern wa­ter fea­ture de­signed by Adam Frost for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The abun­dant bor­der is a foil for the clean lines of the pool, the shape of which is em­pha­sised by the im­mac­u­late lawn. Although the wa­ter is still to ref lect the sur­round­ings, a pool like this re­quires a pump to cir­cu­late the wa­ter oc­ca­sion­ally to keep it clean and clear, rec­om­mends Water­house Pumps.

1 Wildlife-at­tract­ing plants like irises, dig­i­talis, grasses and wild­flow­ers frame the edge of the wa­ter.

2 The clear, still wa­ter adds an­other di­men­sion as its mir­ror-like sur­face re­flects the sur­round­ings and the clouds mov­ing across the sky.

3 The ‘float­ing’ bridge in cedar con­nects the two sec­tions while cir­cu­lar con­crete step­ping stones add a fun sculp­tural


What’s more nat­u­ral than wa­ter tum­bling down a rock face into a clear pond and me­an­der­ing through a gar­den? Fall­ing wa­ter muff les traf­fic noise and helps aer­ate wa­ter, en­cour­ag­ing ben­e­fi­cial bac­te­ria that keep it clear. For a fea­ture like this, Water­house Pumps rec­om­mends a high f low pond pump, which ide­ally should run con­tin­u­ously.


Shal­low and nar­row, rills like this one in Jenny van der Linde’s gar­den, were used in an­cient times to ir­ri­gate crops. To­day they’re more of a de­sign fea­ture that leads the eye to an­other part of the gar­den and can be adapted to all sizes and styles of gar­dens. How­ever, as they need to be ab­so­lutely straight, a pro­fes­sional con­trac­tor is rec­om­mended. A fea­ture like this needs a large pump, around 30 000 ℓ/h, as the wa­ter needs to move con­tin­u­ously and there are two sep­a­rate wa­ter basins.


A trough de­sign can be used in many gar­dens and the com­pact shape makes them ideal for nar­row spa­ces such as pas­sages and en­trances. This one in a French-style gar­den de­signed by Grant Fair­ley of Springtime Land­scap­ing is fed by three dif­fer­ent spouts and needs a high f low pump to en­sure the wa­ter reaches all three. As al­gae grows in sun­light, to keep the wa­ter clear, the pump should run all day. It can be switched off at night.


Bound­ary walls lend them­selves to nar­row wa­ter fea­tures. De­signed by Bris­tle Cone Nurs­ery, this ex­otic Aztec ex­am­ple fea­tures spouts placed high on the wall. Although the tra­jec­tory of the wa­ter is not far, the height re­quires a foun­tain pump with strong wattage such as a 5 000ℓ/h pump with a 4,5m max­i­mum height, rec­om­mends Water­house Pumps.

1 To op­er­ate ef­fec­tively, the basin of the pool needs to hold at least dou­ble the amount of wa­ter that’s in mo­tion in the stream and falls.2 Choose the type of rocks care­fully as they af­fect both the ap­pear­ance and the flow of the wa­ter. Gran­ite, mar­ble, lime­stone or sand­stone are gen­er­ally used for wa­ter fea­tures.3 For a nat­u­ral look, use a mix of aquatic and ter­res­trial plants. Lush, trop­i­cal­look­ing plants such as philo­den­drons and yuc­cas are also ideal if you want a jun­gle­like at­mop­shere.4 Line the con­crete sur­face of the struc­ture with peb­bles to en­hance the nat­u­ral stream ef­fect.5 Use el­e­ments such as this large rock as a step­ping stone or bridge, which in­vites you to cross the stream and ex­plore.

el­e­ment en­cour­ag­ing you to in­ter­act with the fea­ture.4 To en­hance the re­flec­tive qual­i­ties, dark peb­bles line the bot­tom and also give the il­lu­sion of depth.5 A neatly mown and edged lawn em­pha­sises the geo­met­ric de­sign and soft­ens the paving around the pool.

41 Although their nar­row shape makes rills ideal for small spa­ces, they can be used ef­fec­tively in large gar­dens.2 Use clipped hedges and rows of trees to com­ple­ment the for­mal lines.3 The gen­tle flow of wa­ter adds move­ment and cre­ates a sooth­ing at­mos­phere in the gar­den.4 A dark metal grid just be­low the sur­face pro­tects fish from preda­tors and acts as a safety de­vice.5 Choose a wa­ter spout that suits the char­ac­ter of the gar­den. Here a Ro­manesque-style lion’s head has the right clas­sic feel.

1 The rec­tan­gu­lar shape fits seam­lessly along­side the drive­way while the sand­stone wall and cop­ing blends with the gravel sur­face.2 The for­mal lines of conifers and plants such as laven­der and vi­o­las, are in keep­ing with the French am­bi­ence.3 Add char­ac­ter with un­usual spouts like th­ese re­pur­posed rusty valves.

1 Use el­e­ments in threes such as th­ese el­e­vated wa­ter spouts each crowned by an­cient-look­ing plaques. The higher the drop, the louder the sound of the wa­ter.2 Cav­i­ties in the wall are filled with suc­cu­lents, aloes and echev­e­rias to per­pet­u­ate the Aztec theme.3 In­stead of a pool, wa­ter falls into a pebble filled trough which as­sists with fil­tra­tion. As there is no pool of wa­ter, it’s more suitable if you have small chil­dren.

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