Whether your gar­den is chic city court­yard or sprawl­ing coun­try acre, an es­sen­tial el­e­ment to embrace is water. An­nie Green-Army­tage has some de­sign ideas to in­spire you

EDP Norfolk - - EDP NORFOLK MAGAZINE - PHO­TOS: An­nie Green-Army­tage

An­nie Green-Army­tage has some in­spi­ra­tional ideas for water

Deep in our col­lec­tive psy­che water has a pow­er­ful link to life and well­be­ing and its pres­ence has a pro­foundly calm­ing ef­fect on us. The char­ac­ter of water in gar­dens varies greatly – per­haps you are dream­ing of a tran­quil pool full of re­flected sky, or con­tem­plat­ing a gen­tly bub­bling foun­tain, or a wildlife haven for crested newts and dam­sel­flies? Your vi­sion will sub­stan­tially in­flu­ence the prac­ti­cal hard land­scap­ing (which, by the way, are out­side the scope of this piece and way out­side my com­pe­tence level).

The sim­plest of pools are made from a pre­formed fi­bre­glass shell and will sup­port a va­ri­ety of aquatic plants, but

add a shal­low shelf around the out­side and you im­me­di­ately in­crease your range to in­clude marginals such as irises and marsh marigolds. If you are go­ing for run­ning water, then you will need a cer­tain depth for the pump, and a route for elec­tri­cal ca­bles, un­less the pump is so­lar-pow­ered.

Sit­ing your water is al­limpor­tant. For a pool, a sunny, shel­tered spot, away from over­hang­ing trees, is a good choice; a bub­ble foun­tain, on the other hand, may be bet­ter placed close to the house, vis­i­ble from a win­dow. If your gar­den slopes, a pond at the bottom of the slope will feel more nat­u­ral than one at the top.

If you have the space, there is noth­ing so peace­ful as a tra­di­tional pond. Make it look as if it has been there for­ever by plant­ing with na­tive water-plants such as bog­bean (Menyan­thes tri­fo­li­ata) and marsh marigolds (Caltha palus­tris). Add tex­ture and colour in the mar­gins with can­de­labra prim­u­las, hostas, and the grace­ful, cobalt-blue

Iris sibir­ica. If wildlife is your prime con­cern, make sure your pond has at least one side gen­tly shelv­ing, so that frogs, toads and small mam­mals can walk in and out eas­ily.

For the more am­bi­tious water gar­dener, a cas­cade or stream will pro­vide move­ment and sound, and if you get the lev­els ex­actly right, you can get the water to stand in each level when the pump is switched off, rather than emp­ty­ing down to the bottom of the run. The sound of run­ning water will at­tract many kinds of birds but be aware that smaller crea­tures such as water-boat­men, pond-skaters and whirligig bee­tles are hap­pier in a more tran­quil en­vi­ron­ment. A friend of mine has a still pond at the top of her gar­den, feed­ing into a run­ning stream, thereby get­ting the best of both worlds.

In a small ur­ban space, a for­mal raised pool could be the answer. Soften the edges with pots of gen­tle bam­boos and maples, or in­tro­duce a Mediter­ranean in­flu­ence with spiky agaves or hardy palms (Trachy­car­pus for­tunei). Cre­ate a con­tem­pla­tive el­e­ment with a per­fect circle or a for­mal rill un­clut­tered by plants.

If you’re on a bud­get, get cre­ative with your ma­te­ri­als. Make use of what oc­curs nat­u­rally, or even aban­doned stuff lay­ing about in your shed. Flints from the gar­den or tubu­lar steel air-con­di­tion­ing ducts make water fea­tures, re­cy­cled

en­gi­neer­ing bricks make pond edg­ing, a gi­ant or­na­men­tal urn trans­forms into a mini-pond. Get that up­cy­cling vibe go­ing.

If fish are your thing, add koi carp into the mix. Sur­pris­ingly friendly crea­tures, koi will take bread crusts from your hand once they know and trust you. But be pre­pared to give them the crys­tal-clear water they need – you’re into a world of fil­tra­tion and pool hoovers now (yes, re­ally). And don’t ex­pect to see many other pond crea­tures – the koi will have them for break­fast.

No room for a pond? Try a peb­ble foun­tain – not only is it

‘Per­haps you are dream­ing of a tran­quil pool full of re­flected sky, or con­tem­plat­ing a gen­tly bub­bling foun­tain?’

easy to in­stall, but this type of fea­ture is per­fect for a gar­den with small chil­dren as there is no stand­ing water in­volved. Al­ter­na­tively, cre­ate a minipond in a con­tainer. A lined half-bar­rel or a large ce­ramic pot will do the job nicely, pro­vided you keep it topped up dur­ing warmer weather. Don’t be tempted to add fish here though; apart from the lim­ited space, they are likely to ex­pire as the water heats up.

Fol­low An­nie on In­sta­gram @an­niegreen­army­tage or Twit­ter @an­n­ie­gaphoto

The still­ness and re­flec­tive­ness of clear water cre­ates tran­quil­ity in this gar­den. A wo­ven wil­low bridge is teamed with a weep­ing wil­low (Salix x sepul­cralis var. chryso­coma) on the right-hand bank

LEFT: Koi pond with bridge. Soleiro­lia soleirolii (syn. Helx­ine soleirolii) or mind-yourown-busi­ness cov­ers the edge of the pond

BE­LOW: A colour­ful court­yard pond hid­den be­hind one of the old­est houses in Nor­wich. Golden herons and frog stat­ues add a lit­tle theatre, and plants in­clude Cam­pan­ula poscharsky­ana, co­toneaster, wa­terlilies, roses, va­le­rian (Cen­tran­thus ru­ber), and lupins

ABOVE: Cir­cu­lar pool with re­flected clouds. A step­ping-stone cause­way leads to cen­tral rest­ing area with deck chairs LEFT: Lion’s head foun­tain with Hosta ‘Hap­pi­ness’ at base

When they trust you, koi carp will take food from your hand

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