Is an outdoor water feature right for your landscape?

Published 2:33 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2022

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The sounds made by water are universally loved. People flock to the ocean for the waves. Others seek out mountain waterfalls. So many of our parks include a water feature, and for good reason, as it draws in viewers that find it attractive. Something primal, something romantic, something calming and reassuring is found in the sounds associated with moving water.

The popularity of waterfalls and streams, ponds, and fountains in landscaping do ebb and flow as well. I think it’s not that the trickles or roars ever become unpopular; rather, it’s distractions that dampen demand for water features periodically. The craving for the lovely sounds of a roaring ocean or river does not change much over time. The peaceful trickle beside the patio is still calming in challenging times.

Adding waterfalls to your yard can give you that look, that sound, and that ambiance that may be missing in your own personal paradise. A wilderness quality is realized when you can have the sights and sounds created as part of your landscaping. The well-built, well-planned landscape that includes a waterfall does produce the feeling of living in paradise.

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In addition to nicer views, and relaxing sounds, a water feature is good for the birds and other wildlife.

I see people buying big sacks of birdseed, but they don’t seem to think about the bird’s need for a drink or for a bath. Any yard having a good spot for the feathered guests to drink and bathe is a winner.

Ponds allow the homeowner to have fish, perhaps frogs or turtles. But many water features do not have ponds associated with them. There’s a pondless waterfall, trickling statue or fountain. I’ve even seen a firepit and a waterfall constructed as a single feature beside a patio.

Quite frequently, a corporation will have a lake, fountain, or some manner of waterfall near the front of its headquarters. Many an upscale community builder or homeowner association will place an impressive waterfall at the entry of their development. Even retention ponds often have a floating fountain sometimes in the nicer parts of a community.

But the average person doesn’t have to have a huge feature in order to enjoy the atmosphere that musical waterfalls produce. The self-built feature can be quite nice. Advances in the equipment for mechanical, as well as biological filtration have made building and keeping a waterfall and pond working properly much less troublesome than it was 30 years ago. Just be aware some instructional books on maintaining water features still give instructions on doing it the old way that so often result in green ponds and lots of extra upkeep.