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Buyer's Guides

Water features

There are many different types of water features, really to suit everyone's situation and taste, and there are many reasons for having water as a part of your garden design. Water features in the garden add so much; they look good, they attract wildlife and everyone loves to relax to the sound of running water.

Planning is important

There are so many ways of adding water to the garden from a stand alone unit to a whole waterfall. If you only have a garden the size of a postage stamp, you can still include a water feature - planning it out is an important first step. Look at what is available and match to fit your situation and pocket.

Probably better for the environment - and your wallet too in the long run, there are a number of solar powered pumps that need little maintenance. Well worth thinking about if you are installing new.

Because water introduces a sound element into the garden, a water feature doesn't have to become the centre piece of the design. Tucked away somewhere, people will always find the source of that trickle, and if used in association with some mirrored walling, you get double the effect in a small garden - you see the reflection and hunt down the origin at the same time.

Smaller features

Water, like fire, is fascinating. It never forms the same shape twice, is always altering, dancing and mesmerizing. Modern designers these days add colour to show garden ponds and features. Black water forms a mirror, when used to reflect some thick Bushy Horsetail Equisetum Scirpoides (3 or 5 pack, from ££9.99 - click here) at the water's edge, it makes a stunning effect.

Novelty water features have their place, and have been very popular for many hundreds of years. How many country houses sport a fat carp spewing water into the air, or a young chap constantly filling a pond from the edge - poor chap, he must have something wrong with him!

Try to match your garden with the feature. Think this to yourself, "Will it fit?" It can be as outrageous as you like, but do try to naturalize the feature with the rest of your design.

Blades, dripping water from one to the other, flowing pots pouring an everlasting flow of water from a rock, and water walls have become increasingly popular and a number of stress relieving feature designs are now available. If you want to introduce planting with your feature, you can find some stunning water and planter combinations, as though your show plants are growing through or in a mini waterfall itself - only do make it a show! Try some bold planting - Astilbe, for example, makes a tremendous 'look at me' plant in such situations.

Then there is the centre piece itself - attracting the eye to a fountain or some clever combination of design and splash combination. If you are looking for a water feature that is to be the central part of the garden, try to combine chic and boldness, and add a single plant to the scheme.

Thankfully, the combination of polished granite, water and lavender, makes a brilliant feature. If I have seen one sphere of cold stone, or stainless steel ball bubbling into a bed of lavender I have seen a thousand. And to be honest I find them absolutely delightful. It just goes to show that you cannot have too much of a good thing.


One of the maintenance jobs is to keep the feature from being clogged with algae, and every now and again need a good clean. You can use 'Fountain Safe' (££9.99 - click here) which you add to the water to stop algal bloom. Many pumps have a filter which needs removing and cleaning from time to time. In the winter it is a good idea to dry them off to stop damage from expanding ice, but to be sure Primrose have 'Fountain Frost-Free' (££10.99 - click here). Apart from that, water features will give years of trouble free enjoyment.

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