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How to Add a Cool Water Feature to Your Yard

From the blissful sound of flowing water to the delight one feels when watching ornamental carp frolic, there are myriad reasons to consider adding a water feature to your landscape design. A small fountain, a koi pond, a burbling waterfall, or even something as ambitious as a full lake can turn your yard or property into a special place to rediscover yourself and to reconnect with family and friends.

Of course, adding a water feature can seem like a monumental task that has no clear beginning. So start by dreaming! When you imagine a water feature on your property is it natural, like a waterfall or a flowing stream, or something more formal featuring stone, glass, or concrete? Once you've answered that question, consider these options:


Classic fountains: Landscaping done in miniature can support this water feature so don't think of space as a barrier. Fountains come in many footprints and can even be hung on walls, and most are affordable and simple to install. In some cases, they can even be installed by a homeowner in just a few hours.

Fish pools: Koi ponds and similar features blend the formal and the natural in relatively small spaces. Just make sure that you're up to the task of caring for the pretty ornamental fish that will glide through your pool, inspiring meditative thoughts.


Running water: Larger properties can become the site of man-made streams every bit as beautiful as Mother Nature's creations. Crafting a creek of rocks and cement requires careful planning but the results can be stunning. Short on space? A bubbler can give you the same tranquil burble as a brook in a smaller setting.

Falling water: For natural ambiance you can't do better than a rushing waterfall but keep the noise factor in mind. Typically the larger the rush, the louder the fall – though the materials you use can temper the sound.


Ponds and lakes: For the grandest properties, there's nothing like installing a small lake or pond that can be stocked with fish or floating lily beds. The addition of a tiny dock can even make your personal pond the site of many pleasant summer paddles.

Whatever type of feature you add, make sure that you carefully consider (or work with a landscape architect to account for) drainage and grading. There is always the danger of flooding when you're working with water and this is especially true when a project is large or complex. Thinking about the challenges a water feature may present now can save you a lot of heartache later.

And throughout the idea and planning phase, remember that you are creating your personal sanctuary. Your property is your space to get away from the hustle and bustle of a fast-paced world. Ultimately the water features you choose should be those that give you a sense of serenity and make returning to your center easy – even if they're not trendy or the norm for your neighborhood. In everything you choose, make your landscape your own.

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