Water features to enhance your yard

By Adam Bailey

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]From waterfalls to koi ponds, garden streams to birdbaths, here’s a list of all the best backyard bubblers, gurglers, and soothers. These are just a few water features associated with tranquil, idyllic outdoor spaces. You might, however, be surprised to find out how they impact your home’s value.

A manicured lawn, colorful flowers, and stylish patio furniture all make for a pleasant exterior, but they don’t necessarily help your house standout from any others in your neighborhood. Give your landscape design a boost by adding a water feature. In addition to being a pretty thing to look at, there are many benefits to including a water feature—like a garden creek or small pond—in your landscape. Water is soothing to the senses, it adds texture to your yard, and can buffer noise pollution. Whether you have a big or small space, there are different ways you can incorporate a water feature. Keep reading to see ideas for how a water feature can elevate any yard.

1. Garden Creek. This one will take a bit more work, but a babbling garden creek is a wonderful backyard water feature to make you feel like you are right in the forest. This water feature is ideal for larger backyards and for homeowners who want to incorporate something into a large portion of their yard.

2. Splash Pad. If your kid loves running through sprinklers, then you can easily upgrade backyard water adventures with your very own splash pad. Splash pads at home have the same appeal of a splash pad you would find at a water park, but there isn’t any required transportation since you are already at home! Splash pads can be a good alternative to swimming pools be-cause they are safer, cheaper and much easier to maintain.

3. Outdoor Shower. The ultimate water feature is one you can step right into. A back- yard shower provides a liberating alternative to your daily shower routine and lets you extend the pleasure outdoors.

4. Koi Pond. If you have the space and resources, consider building a tranquil koi pond. You’ll want to make sure you have enough space, so the pond is large enough to allow fish to live comfortably and grow. Koi eat plants, so you will need to add non-toxic plants to the pond, such as water lettuce, water lilies and other floating floras. If you don’t want to maintain the pond to the point of keeping koi, you can also use a number of different pond designs minus the fish.

5. Bird Bath. This is one of the simpler and easiest to maintain water features which also attracts wildlife into your outdoor space. A bird bath doesn’t have pumps, filters or costly installation. It’s a budget-friendly way to add a water element to either your front or back yard. Bird baths come in in various colors and shapes, so you are sure to find one which fits your home’s style.

6. Fountain.  Fountains  are a good way to add some water into your landscaping. Fountains typically come in kits, so they can be installed with ease. These are also available in a variety of styles and sizes to fit your needs. If you love the sound of moving water, a fountain is a great addition that is still easy to maintain. If you place your fountain in the middle of the garden, birds can enjoy it. You can also keep it next to a window or patio and enjoy the soothing sound. Consider installing this feature in a prominent area of your yard like close to your front door to greet visitors and guests. There are almost endless options with a fountain. Some designs include pipe fountains, spouting fountains and disappearing fountains. There is even one called a ball fountain and doesn’t require much setup. Fountains will typically fit into any sized yard.

7. Waterfall. A waterfall is a great way to incorporate some movement into your garden. Concrete, rocks and fiberglass can be stacked to create a path for water, while grasses, succulents and flowers make great additions which add some color.  Pondless waterfalls  are great for smaller backyards. These are also low maintenance and can be designed with plants and stones for a natural look. For a more modern feel, you can create a staircase waterfall, which can be created to fit any size yard.

8. Water Wall. Not to be confused with the waterfall,  a water wall is a great way to transform a drab wall into one with character. This is a great feature for smaller yards that want to incorporate something beautiful into the landscape.

Backyard Versus Front Yard Features

There are water features that are typically more appropriate for a backyard setting, instead of a front yard. Anything designed with relaxation and tranquility in mind should be considered for your backyard. You probably don’t want company relaxing by your koi pond in your front yard or your kids partaking in a splash pad. However, some water features compliment any outdoor area. For example, a fountain or bird bath work well in both the front yard and backyard.

Maintaining Water Features
While some water features are easier to maintain than others, there are several things you will need to know, along with seasonal considerations. With most water features, you will need a skimmer, and its parts, in order to keep the surface of the water debris free. A debris basket will be the first line of defense inside the skimmer. This will collect any debris, such as leaves or twigs, that blow or fall into the water. It doesn’t take long to empty the debris basket.

Every water feature will experience water loss and evaporation. The amount of water loss will depend on the water feature, along with the amount of sunlight and the temperature. During any hot spells, additional water will need to be added to counteract evaporation. In order to check the water level, open the skimmer mouth. The ideal water level should be set at about ¾-inch below the top of the mouth. During the fall and winter, as leaves start to fall, you may need to empty the debris basket more often.

If you live in an area where water freezes, you will need to decide if you want to keep the feature running or winterize it. The best time to perform a pond cleanup is early spring. To clean a water feature, drain it, then use a garden hose to rinse the gravel and rocks. Start at the top and work down to the bottom. Turn on the clean out pump to remove the dirty water. Once the bottom begins to look clear, remove the pump and begin filling the water feature again.

Water features add plenty of style to any yard. Some water features are more functional than others, such as a splash pad or a bird bath. However, no matter which features you choose, it is import-ant to maintain them, especially during colder weather, providing you with years of enjoyment out of your outdoor living space.

Regardless of what you choose, adding a backyard water feature to your home can be a great way to promote relaxation, peace, and even being one with nature. Before spending a huge chunk of money on a permanent water feature, it’s best to run your plans by an experienced landscape architect, con-tractor, or maybe even a real estate agent. Any one of these professionals can help you gauge your proposed water feature’s impact on your home’s marketability.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]