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Water features for backyard gardens

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 24 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Water Features Gardens Pots And

It’s not only large gardens that can enjoy the benefit of water features and although those of us with more modest backyards may have to do a little scaling down to achieve our goal, there’s definitely a place for water in even the smallest of small gardens.

Pots and Containers

Building a water feature in attractive pots and containers is one of the most popular ways to bring water into small gardens, backyards and patios. This approach has lots of advantages, particularly where space is really limited and it enables you to match the look of other containers and planters to get a unified overall look which can help small gardens look larger and less 'bitty'.

Plastic containers are an obvious choice, but traditional half barrels or stoneware pots are very effective too – in fact, any attractive container will do perfectly well, obviously provided it’s water-tight! If the container is large enough, it’s possible to have a small fountain or water spout to give you the sight and sound of moving water; for really small spaces, it’s probably best to concentrate on some really imaginative planting. There are some surprisingly showy aquatic plants available that will do well in even the smallest plastic containers – so there’s no need to feel hard done to – although it’s important not to over-crowd these small water features.

Troughs and Wall Fountains

If floor-space is limited, but there’s a suitable wall available, troughs and wall fountains can be good alternatives to consider. Planting isn’t really an option for these kinds of water features, but they do offer an ideal way to get the wonderfully calming sound of running water in restricted spaces. There are a whole range of designs on sale, often with animal heads acting as the 'spout', the water then being re-circulated via a pump in the trough.

Bubble Fountains

Bubble fountains are another old favourite for small gardens, although they’re not really suitable for yards or patios unless you can dig down a bit, since they need a hole to accommodate the small reservoir which holds the pump. There are plenty of ready-made ones to chose from, but they are all very similar – the container part is buried and covered over with a mesh, on top of which you arrange a set of smooth cobbles. Switch on and water is pumped up a short pipe from the reservoir and splashes down over the cobbles before falling back through the mesh cover. The fact that there’s no open water makes them especially suitable for homes with young children.

Self-Contained Water Features

As a quick visit to almost any garden centre will quickly reveal, there’s a tremendous variety of self-contained water features available – and in a wide range of sizes. From ball fountains and miniature water walls to interlocking pot cascades and even full-blown fountains, there’s almost certainly something to suit, however small the garden.

The great advantage of this type of feature is the ease of installation. Pick your spot, make sure it’s level, fill up, switch on and then simply sit back and enjoy and with so many now offered with solar powered pumps, things couldn’t be easier. As water gardening goes, it really doesn’t come much simpler!

Introducing water features to small gardens does take some thought, if only because there’s seldom much opportunity to change things in limited space once they’re in place – which obviously makes it important to try to get everything right at the outset. The good news is, however, that although the scale of the features themselves may be restricted, the scope for enjoying something really special doesn’t have to be and there’s always room in every garden for a wisely chosen water feature.

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