Quick guide to popular water features
Fountains, ponds and other water features are a refreshing way to add interest to your landscape.
Waterfront views are a prime real estate asset. But, for those whose home isn’t near an ocean or lake, there is the option of a small pond or another water feature.
The romance of garden ponds conjures images of breathtaking water lilies. Plus, the sound of running water is calming and relaxing, providing a backyard oasis that is sometimes needed in our rush-rush world. A gurgling waterfall, a meandering stream or fish darting beneath lily pads beckon one to unwind.
Along with fire pits, water features have been among the most sought-after elements in outdoor home design in recent years. But not everyone has the space or budget for lush mega-ponds with multiple falls, boulders, koi and masterpiece-worthy water lilies. So, the concept has been downsized, with several options for introducing water elements, including falls so small they’ve spilled into a new category called pond-less.
With a footprint of less than 5-feet by 5-feet, you can still create quite an impact. Most of today’s innovations are associated with technology that allows water to recirculate and create a constant flow, much like the devices that generate pond waterfalls.
The simplest way to import a water feature into a garden is with a freestanding piece, which means you get a “two-fer,” because most are designed to double as garden sculptures. These pieces vary in height and are crafted from a variety of materials, including wood-look-alike bamboo or real or synthetic stone.
Whichever water feature you choose, make sure it will be visible from inside your house so it can be enjoyed in multiple settings and weather conditions.
Common Water Features:
- Ponds/water gardens
- Garden fountains
- Pond-less waterfalls
- Retaining-wall waterfalls
- Bubbling-rock fountains
- Column or vase fountains
- Copper-tree fountains
- Basalt columns
There are far too many tips to discuss here, but a couple that apply to any situation are:
1. Choose an appropriate installation spot.
Keep the water feature away from high-traffic areas to avoid damage to the fountain and to prevent accidents, especially if there are children playing in the area. Place it in a location where it will be displayed prominently and also will be protected from high winds.
2. Make time for maintenance.
Water features aren’t just a financial investment, but also a bit of a time commitment. Ponds require the most maintenance to manage algae and such, especially if fish are introduced. Occasional draining and power washing is important for all water features.
3. Check water level often.
It is important to check the water level, especially in hot weather and if you opt to hand-fill rather than connect to your irrigation system.
June 9-10 — Tulsa Master Gardeners 2018 Showcase Garden Tour
9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday. Multiple locations across Tulsa. Tour gardens and hear presentations about selected topics. $10, advance ticket; $15, day of tour. Call 918-746-3701 or visit tulsamastergardeners.org.
Thank you to Tulsa County Master Gardeners for their expertise in this subject matter. Allen Robinson has been a Master Gardener since 2010.