Backyard water features for relaxation without the excess
July 13, 2012 | 11:00 am
(Updated: March 18, 2013 | 5:43 pm)
Whether you’re working with tight spaces or just a tight budget, the garden water features found in the pages of Better Home and Gardens are often impractical or impossible for most homeowners. But just because you cannot afford to outfit your yard with a marble fountain or mountain-high waterfall doesn’t mean that you have to ditch your visions of a soothing fountain outside. There are alternatives – downsizing the pomp but keeping the flare.
Bubblers provide the gurgle of running water without artificial streams and ponds, requiring only a pump, a reservoir and a sculpture. The pump, which can be small, sends a bubbling cascade over the sculpture in a continuous, low-maintenance and eco-friendly cycle. Bubblers can be made from anything that can withstand constant water – salvaged pillars, ornamental structures, bowling balls – the sky is the limit.
For those who want a more natural look than a wet sculpture – with none of the labor associated with building the system, a portable pond does the trick. The structures are usually made with wooden bases can be drained and taken with you wherever you may go. They can be greened with compact water plants such as pygmy water lilies, and surrounded by high grasses or foliage if you want to disguise the base.
Consider seating around the edge of your pond to give admirers a place to sit and appreciate – it will surely be a favorite spot in the yard.
For urbanites without even a foot of grass to spare, a portable pond can be downsized into a potted pond, adding a splash of the outdoors to a balcony in the concrete jungle. Pick a pot that is at least 20 inches (50 centimeters) tall and 18 inches (45 centimeters) in diameter, fill it with water and add potted water plants to the feature, using bricks as platforms and pebbles to weigh them down. Three types of aquatic plants should be included in your pot: an immersible oxygenating plant, a floating plant and a tall plant with leaves. This combination will provide layer and depth to your miniature aquatic ecosystem, while keeping the water clear and nearly algae-free.
These three unconventional water features banish any previous prejudices attached to stuffy fountains, showing that any space can be equipped with the soothing sound of running water, no matter the budget.