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