Water feature ideas to add a new sense of flow to your garden

Upgrade your outdoor space with a chic and calming addition
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  • Just as we’ve embraced making our homes relaxing spaces, it’s time to make sure our gardens are giving us what we need. Water feature ideas will help create a soothing atmosphere and add stylish good looks.

    There’s a design to suit just about every type of garden landscaping ideas – from contemporary cool to classical charm. Plus, the range of materials and sizes mean that water features can be found to work whatever you budget.

    ‘Water features are the perfect addition to any outdoor space,’ says Jonny Brierley, CEO, Moda Furnishings. ‘If you’re sourcing the ideal accessory for your garden ideas, then water features should be considered an aesthetically pleasing feature, which is guaranteed to encourage pure relaxation.’

    As well as adding a new and soothing dimension to your garden, water feature ideas have other, perhaps unexpected benefits, on your space. ‘Water features are also great for those who want to attract wildlife,’ points out Chris Bonnett, founder, Gardening Express. ‘Traditionally that would be a pond or a birdbath, but modern day features will prove equally attractive to feathered friends and amphibians.’

    Do remember that water features do require a certain amount of maintenance.  ‘With water features it’s important to keep them clean,’ says Chris. ‘A good clean around once a month should do the trick. To prevent green or stagnant water you can use special additives to keep them looking their best.’

    Water feature ideas

    ‘There are many styles of water feature ideas to choose from nowadays,’ says Claire Bassett, Senior Product Manager, Lights4Fun. ‘From zen buddha designs for the perfect tranquil retreat to more contemporary geometric shapes and whimsical pouring jugs to add character to your outdoor space.’

    Read on to discover some of the water features catching our eye…

    1. Take placement into consideration

    Garden with terraced and lawn areas with water feature on back wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    ‘Think about where you want to place your water feature,’ advises Chris from Gardening Express. ‘A sunny spot is a great option which will make the water feature look beautiful when the sun is shining. If maintenance is a concern you may wish to avoid areas where overhanging trees could drop a lot of leaves.’

    Surround wall hung or those on garden fence ideas with plant beds to make sure you still have that depth of colour and texture in the area.

    2. Choose a classical fountain

    Stone water fountain on patio

    Image credit: Haddonstone

    There are a number of different main water feature ideas to choose from ‘The most common types of water features are ponds and pool surrounds, fountains, rills and waterfalls,’ says Will Haxby, Ornamental Sales Director, Haddonstone.

    A fountain can come in many forms, the main three are centrepiece, self-contained and wall. Although each of these come in modern and classical designs, the most traditional is the centrepiece fountain. These designs are timeless and especially suit older buildings and ornamental gardens, over contemporary urban spaces.

    3. Keep the sound in mind

    Brick water feature

    Image credit: Future PLC/Adam Wallis

    ‘If you love the sound of running water then a water feature is a must for you,’ says Chris from Gardening Express. ‘Consider the kind of feature you want. Do you want a soft trickling sound of water or do you want something more noticeable? Water features can be great to mask other sounds and latent background noise.’ Consider how to install a water feature – to add life and movement to your garden.

    4. Choose a light-up option

    Lit up stone effect water feature

    Image credit: Lights4Fun/Oliver Perrott

    ‘Finding sanctuary at home has become essential to so many of us as we find a greater need to escape the busyness of everyday life,’ says Claire from Lights4Fun. ‘Gentle spaces with calming colours and soft mood lighting and the soothing sound of a trickling water feature are perfect for rest, recuperation and mindful self-care.’

    Choose a warm white or yellow light for ultimate relaxation. If your outdoor space is more of a party zone then choose a fun neon shade. Or go full disco with a colour changing option!

    5. Find the right style for your space

    Garden with metal water feature

    Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole

    ‘With so many water features available on the market, it can be difficult to decide which style is most suitable for your outside space,’ says Will from Haddonstone. ‘Each water feature has different benefits, depending on the look, style and ambience you are trying to achieve.’

    ‘Consider the size of your outside space. Large pools and ponds are perfect for wide open spaces. Meanwhile smaller self-contained fountains work perfectly on small patios and in courtyards. Personal style is important, too. Do you like things to be traditional, contemporary or classic? Water features can either complement your existing space, or even provide an interesting contrast against the design.’

    6. Opt for a contemporary look

    Metal water feature on lawn

    Image credit: Moda Furnishings

    For contemporary gardens, a modern metallic design is a great choice. A lot of these will look like artistic sculptures even when not switched on, meaning you’re getting double interest with one piece. Stainless steel is a popular choice for these contemporary styles – both for the modern look and the fact they are extremely resistant to corrosion.

    7. Consider a rechargeable option

    Close up of round water feature in garden

    Image credit: Hydria

    A new innovation in water feature ideas is the rechargeable version. ‘With a cord-free setup you can place your water fountain anywhere you choose and enjoy the soothing sight and sound of flowing water,’ says Simon Reeves Jackson, founder, Hydria. ‘Battery power provides all the performance of mains without installation cost and inconvenience.’

    Since they’re mains free you also have flexibility in moving your water feature around. One design can move from your lawn, to your balcony to be situated on your patio ideas without muss or fuss.

    8. Create a calming oasis

    Green tiled wall water feature in white courtyard

    Image credit: Future PLC/Bob Smith

    Look to warmer climes for water feature inspiration. A small courtyard can be transformed into a welcome oasis, even in the heart of a bustling city. Opt for pretty mosaic designs on these outdoor wall decor ideas, and keep the ground tiled to ensure the comforting water trickle echoes around. Top things off with exotic plants – or as exotic as can survive in your space!

    9. Look to classic cast stone

    Classical white stone wall water feature with lion motif

    Image credit: Haddonstone

    ‘Cast stone is a very strong and frost-proof material,’ says Will from Haddonstone. ‘This mean that it is very unlikely to be damaged by weather for many years. It is available in a range of colours, styles and shapes. Cast stone ages beautifully and looks stunning both new and once it has weathered outside after several years.’

    What are the different types of water features?

    Water feature ideas both in terms of style and in how they are powered. In terms of style you’re looking at everything from ponds and fountains to trickling jugs and contemporary waterfall designs.

    ‘When you visit your local garden centre you are presented with either mains or solar-powered water features,’ says Simon from Hydria about the main types of water feature power.’ Solar water features are convenient because they don’t need to be plugged in but they only work well when the sun is directly above the solar panel which means that they do not always work when or where you want them to work. Corded water features do not have the performance limitations of solar, but you do have the expense and inconvenience of installing outdoor power sockets and hiding cabling.’

    How do you choose a water feature?

    ‘When choosing a water feature, it is essential to pick a design style that’ll suit your space,’ advises Claire from Lights4Fun. ‘If your outdoor area is a smaller balcony space, a discreet buddha will add subtle sophistication and a peaceful ambiance. For a modern patio, a larger statement piece such as a sphere or bronze pouring jugs will elevate your outdoor space into an urban oasis as the sound of trickling water paired with a dancing glow accompanies you into a tranquil summer’s evening.’

    Price is obviously important to – not only for the design, but installation and running costs. Make sure you do your sums if you’re looking for budget garden ideas. Ease of installation should also be taken into account.

    What is the best material for a water feature?

    ‘Natural materials such as stone or terracotta provide the best materials for water features because they look and feel beautiful, and durable, and will not suffer from significant water erosion,’ says Simon from Hydria. ‘Most water features are resin, and this can work well provided they are UV stabilised and will not fade in sunlight.’

    ‘To ensure your water feature is long-lasting, resin or polyresin are great choices,’ adds Claire from Lights4Fun. ‘They are happy to be displayed outdoors throughout the year, they are also very lightweight so can be moved around your outdoor space with ease. Fibrestone is another superb option. Its textured finish will perfectly imitate that of real stone with the added benefit of being lightweight and weatherproof.

    How much electricity does a garden water feature use?

    The cost of water feature ideas is an ongoing on. Running costs vary on how they are powered, as well as the size and style of the design. ‘A medium sized water feature with a 12W pump will cost as much as a £1 per day to run,’ offers Simon from Hydria as a good rule of thumb.

    Do you leave water features on all the time?

    ‘There are reasons for and against doing this,’ says Will from Haddonstone. ‘Firstly, leaving your water feature on all the time can be expensive as most pumps run on electricity. Secondly, there is a risk of the pump burning out from being in constant use, or if there is a sudden loss of water. Sometimes this can be caused by storms where the water gets blown over the side of the pool surrounds or fountain.’

    ‘Keeping the pump running 24 hours a day does however prevent the pump becoming calcified and this can in turn mean that it lasts longer. However, we recommend that anyone planning to do this keeps a close eye on their fountain to mitigate the risks mentioned.’

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