Water Feature Trends for Your Outdoor Living Space

As you dream about your perfect landscaping, do you imagine water? The trickle of a creek, the splash of fountain, or simply the placid mirror of a tranquil pond?

Bringing water into the landscape is a beautiful way to enhance your garden. Water’s ever-changing qualities are a visual delight, and the sound of moving water is innately relaxing, and can mask a nearby street or highway.

Moving water also generates airborne negative ions, which some call “nature’s antidepressant.” Negative ions are the reason that it simply feels good to sit by a flowing stream or stroll through a nursery where the sprinklers have been showering the plants. Hike to the base of a waterfall, and you’re awash in a shimmering mist of water, along with a big dose of negative ions. Have you noticed how good it feels there?

Water features also invite wildlife into your space, ranging from dragonflies to deer. The flicker of koi or goldfish in a pond offers a gentle reflection of nature, as does the evening call of frogs.

If you’d like to consider incorporating water into your landscaping, here are some options.

Start Small: A Pond in a Pot or a Birdbath

A simple, small-scale option is turning an attractive non-porous pot, bowl, bucket or bird bath into your starter water feature. Keep it simple by incorporating only inorganic decorations, such as rocks, marbles or glass. With a small electric fountain, you can bubble water over the decorative elements or through some bamboo.

If you’re a little more ambitious, craft a mini-pond or a pond in a pot. Fill an attractive vessel with easy-care pond plants. Search online for instructions (use terms like mini-pond, container water garden or pond in a pot), then enjoy watching your own little ecosystem grow and thrive on your patio or table. This is a great project with kids.

Traditional Fountain

For a larger scale water feature, consider a traditional recirculating fountain. Classic terracotta, ceramic, stone or marble are all lovely. Typically these involve water cascading or trickling down to an exposed basin where it collects, and a small pump which transports water up to circulate again. These are an economical choice which require little maintenance: simply top off the water to make up for evaporation and spillage, and clean out algae as needed.

Pondless Water Feature or Creek

In these features, water streams or tumbles from high to low, replicating a natural creek or waterfall. The lower end is a concealed reservoir, and a pump recirculates the water back to the top. These offer the pleasant song of running water without the maintenance and safety concerns of a pond.


A backyard pond will generally be the most expensive option. However, when properly constructed and balanced, they don’t require as much maintenance as you might expect. Thoughtful building encourages them to be stable, self-contained ecosystems in which the water stays fresh and oxygenated, allowing plants to flourish, along with possibly fish and frogs. Design options are infinite, ranging from formal to modern to natural.

Safety and Maintenance

Like with any home improvement project, it’s important to install correctly, maintain properly and keep it safe.

If electricity is needed, have a qualified professional install a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet.

Contact your local building department to verify that you are compliant with any safety or building codes. Certain ponds will have the same barrier requirements as a swimming pool. Think beyond the legal requirements and make sure your feature is safe for all the pets and people involved.

Make sure the pump is accessible. In Minnesota, you’ll need to remove the pump and store it for winter.

The Pleasure of Water Features

A well placed and planned water feature brings the flavor of nature into your garden with the sounds and smells of water. There’s no better way to add a relaxing yet intriguing element to your garden design.

Ready to get planning on the water feature you’ve always wanted for your yard? Contact us today!

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