Water Features 101: What You Need To Know Before Adding One to Your Landscaping

Imagine this:

Lounging on your patio, soaking up some sun or staying cool in the shade, with a good book in one hand, a cool drink in the other…and the tranquil sounds of moving water nearby.

Sounds pretty fantastic, right?

The great news is that you don’t need to move to a lakeside cabin to enjoy this kind of scenario. You can add the calming sights and sounds of water to your own yard with a water feature.

If you’ve thought about adding a water feature to your landscaping, but aren’t sure where to begin, we’ve got you covered. Here’s an overview of everything you need to know about water features before you have one installed.

Why Add a Water Feature to Your Yard?

Water features offer nearly endless benefits. They add texture and movement to your landscape, along with soothing sounds and visual beauty. But they can do even more:

Add Tranquility to Your Yard

A water feature can be a calming influence in your yard, fostering relaxation and a peaceful atmosphere. Flowing water can transform any yard into a magical oasis that calms the mind and revives the spirit.

Mask Noise Pollution and Improve Air Quality

The gentle sounds of running water can help mask nearby traffic or other noise pollution. Flowing water also releases negative ions, which purify the air and have been linked to reduced depression and anxiety.

Attract Birds

A fountain or birdbath will bring more feathered friends to your yard to have a drink or take a bath. If you’re a bird watcher or nature lover, adding a water feature will bring you hours of enjoyment.


You might be surprised to learn that many water features actually use less water than would be used to care for the same sized patch of lawn. Plus, as previously mentioned, a water feature offers birds and other creatures water to drink and bathe in.

Boost Curb Appeal and Property Values

Adding a fountain or other water feature can boost your home’s curb appeal and improve your property value. It’s a good investment toward a future home sale, bringing visual interest and charm to your yard that will woo potential homebuyers.

Types of Water Features To Choose From

Depending on your space, preferences, and budget, there are many different ways to incorporate water into your home’s landscape. Choose from:

  • Ponds. With or without fish or aquatic plants, a pond will treat you to the dance of light on the water’s surface and bring peace and tranquility to your yard.
  • Waterfalls. Ahh, the sound of a waterfall…there aren’t many sounds more soothing than that! Choose from a standalone waterfall or add one to your pond or pool area.
  • Fountains. Large or small, extravagant or simple, a fountain brings both beauty and the relaxing sounds of running water to your yard.
  • Streams. Looking for a larger water feature? Consider having a babbling stream installed, running through your yard.
  • Birdbaths. Simple or elaborate, a birdbath can enhance your gardens. Sit on the deck or patio and watch the birds while you drink your coffee for a relaxing morning.

This is only a brief list of options—there are many ways to incorporate water into your landscape design. Large or small, we can design and install a water feature that will accentuate any landscape.

Things To Consider Before You Add a Water Feature to Your Landscaping

Sustainable landscaping

Before you start planning your water feature design, there are a few things to consider:

1. How Much Space You Have

Think about how large you want your feature to be in relation to your yard. It’s important to scale it to your yard’s size: for instance, a small pond works great on a large lot, but can overwhelm a smaller yard.

2. The Layout of Your Yard

Want to see the glint off the water or hear the sounds of a bubbling fountain through your windows? Place your water feature close to the house.

Make sure your water installation is placed away from overhanging trees and shrubs, which can drop leaves into it that could clog it up. And if your yard has differences in elevation, install your water feature on higher ground, as in lower parts of your yard it could flood when it rains.

3. Your Budget

There’s a water feature for nearly any budget, from simple birdbaths to more elaborate streams or koi ponds. For larger features that incorporate movement, keep in mind that you may need a GFCI outlet installed (for smaller features, solar power is often sufficient).

And think beyond the costs of installation: most water features will have some kind of ongoing maintenance costs, including cleaning supplies, thermometers, and water costs.

4. The Effect You’re Going For

What kind of sound would you like? A gushing waterfall, a babbling stream, or a still pond with very little sound?

Are you interested in incorporating some aquatic life like koi or goldfish? If so, you’ll need a plan to care for them during the winter.

Do you want your feature to blend into its surroundings or stand out? Choose from natural-looking materials like stone or bamboo, or go for a more contemporary statuesque look with ceramic, concrete, copper, or fiberglass. Make sure the style of your water feature will mesh with your home and current landscaping.

5. How Much Maintenance You’re Willing To Do

Every water feature will require some maintenance, but some need more than others. For instance, a fountain will need to be drained and cleaned on a monthly basis. And most water installations need some kind of algae control to prevent algae from growing.

In colder states like Minnesota, you’ll also need to winterize your water feature, draining the water and bringing any pumps or other delicate elements indoors.

6. Local Regulations or Codes

Check with your city, county, or HOA to see if there are any rules that regulate water features: size, noise level, type, etc. And if you’re DIYing your water feature, check to see if you need a permit for installation (when you have a contractor handle your installation, they’ll typically take care of getting the permit).

Landscaping Ideas to Boost Your Home's Property Value

A well-placed and planned water feature brings another element of nature to your garden with the sights, sounds, and scent of water. There’s no better way to add a relaxing and intriguing element to your garden design!

Ready to get started on the water feature you’ve dreamed of? Contact us today.

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