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Choosing a water feature for your garden

Melanie Whitehouse / 08 July 2016

Find out how to choose a water feature for your garden, plus find out where best to put it and how to care for it.

Water feature
A water feature can help create a sense of tranquility in the garden.

A water feature in your garden will help you relax, keep you cool on hot days and bring a feeling of tranquillity to your outdoor space.

There have never been more water features to choose from and most can be bought ready-made and installed with the minimum of fuss. From cascades to wall fountains or small, bubbling pools, the choice is yours.

Classical water features

If you want something classical, then you don’t have to spend a fortune. Choose something in an authentic-looking finish that resembles old terracotta, aged bronze or lead. Capital Garden Products has a range of traditional wall fountains starting at £116 that are made from lightweight fibreglass in traditional but timeless designs such as dolphins, gargoyles and lion’s heads. All you need to install them is an electric power point – no plumbing is required – and a pump, from £43.

A classic fountain used as a centrepiece, like the Napoli, £945, from Haddonstone, will add a touch of Italianate elegance to a traditional-style courtyard. Formed of two ornate shell bowls and pedestals, water drips from the fountain head, falling gracefully from one bowl to another.

Bring nature to your garden and choose a bird bath that doubles as a bubbling fountain and is powered by the sun, such as the Celtic Spring Glass Bird Bath water feature from Primrose, £84.99.

Find out how to create a classical formal garden

Visit our Home and Garden section for gardening guides, home improvement tips and much more.

Modern water features

Primrose stocks features such as rock cascades, tiered water fountains and water walls. The latter can be bought in various sizes and designs, made from copper or stainless steel, with integral reservoirs and even built-in coloured lights.

UK Water Features has a selection of water blades, from £49. They come in various lengths and are fixed onto or built into a wall, giving a solid sheet of water that falls continuously into a reservoir below.

Orbs that bubble softly onto a bed of stones are a popular choice for a small garden. A stainless steel orb will give a contemporary look but for something more classic, opt for granite or sandstone. Again, UK Water Features has a wide choice, or try your local garden centre.

Read our tips for designing a contemporary garden

Where to put your water feature

Avoid dark corners – splashing water will make them feel even more dank – and put your water feature where it gets sun for most of the day.

Most water features need a pump to power the water, which means you need a power point nearby and a cable to connect them. To comply with regulations, the socket must feature a Residual Current Device (RCD) to protect you from electric shock. Installation must be carried out by a qualified electrician.

Electricity supply not possible? A solar-powered or battery feature is the answer. Solar panels must be situated so they can feed on the sun’s rays, though, or your feature won’t work.

Find out how to create a wildlife pond

Top tips

Water needs to be kept clean and clear, so buy an algae stopper – from most big garden centres or online – to keep it crystalline.

Keep pools and fountains covered if your grandchildren or other youngsters are around. Even water as shallow as 500mm deep is lethal to a little one.

Plant climbing evergreens to disguise unsightly pipework and cables on walls.

Buy water features that double as planters and pot up with herbs that like to be kept cool and moist.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.