Go with the flow
Adding the sound of tinkling water to your garden is so relaxing
A YEAR back I began watching the Netflix series Selling Sunset.
A reality show based on the notion of Gucci-clad stilettoheeled estate agents selling multimillion dollar homes in Los Angeles, I of course watched to pick up garden design tips.
And I found one! A gorgeous home was positioned near a busy highway and the hum of the traffic took away from the enjoyment of the outdoor space.
The estate agent’s solution? Build a waterfall! And she wasn’t wrong.
You can divert attention from any offending noise by introducing a water feature. It needn’t be a great gushing fountain – the smallest trickle of water can be very soothing and absorbing.
Simple pump and water reservoir kits allow you to recycle water so a plumber isn’t required, but you may need an electrician to safely connect up the pump – water and electricity is a dangerous combination when not properly installed.
Small fountains that burble over polished pebbles, glass spheres, slate, or disappear into gravel have the benefit of being safe.
This must always be the first consideration when introducing water to the garden.
Ponds are not suitable for children as even a few inches of water can lead to drowning.
Often it’s not your own child who is in danger, but young friends or cousins can be enchanted by the notion of water and may disappear outdoors unsupervised to explore.
Even small dogs or hedgehogs can fall into ponds and if there is no gentle incline, they can’t always get out.
If space is really tight, consider installing a small water feature on a garden wall.
This traditionally takes the form of a decorative plaque such as a wall-mounted lion’s head spouting water into a receptacle, but contemporary effects can be achieved by water sheeting down a piece of glass or steel. If that all sounds too complicated, how about a simple bowl filled with water.
Reclamation yards and secondhand stores are great places to find reflecting the sky and clouds drifting above.
It’s a good idea to tip the water out and replace it as it’ll get stagnant and breed unwanted mozzies.
But if you want to grow certain plants, for example water lilies, you will need still water as they don’t like to be splashed and need some depth.
Digging a large hole and installing a pond – whether prefab or using a black butyl liner – is a big job. An easier option would be a metal trough of water and, again, this is quite trendy.
More traditionally, a barrel or large terracotta pot can be transformed into a mini-pond – make sure it has no drainage holes and if using a terracotta pot, paint with a waterproofing yacht varnish inside.
Sit plants in their pots on bricks so their leaves just float on the surface.
Keep it ultra simple and plant dwarf water lilies such as the beautiful pink ‘Pygmaea Rubra’ or the miniature pale yellow ‘Helvola’.
In the peak of summer on a hot still day, the sight and sound of water will help cool you down and brings another key element to your outdoor space.