Falling Water

By Diane Schlindwein

February 20, 2009 5 min read


A pond or fountain might be the perfect accent

Diane Schlindwein

Creators News Service

If you want to add character to your outdoor living space, a fountain or pond is a great way to revamp a landscape.

Whether it's a large impressive plot or a small area that's tucked away on your property, water is the way to go, said Jennifer Zuri, marketing communications manager for Aquascape, which specializes in water gardens.

Basic features include ecosystem ponds, pondless waterfalls and decorative fountains called fountainscapes.

"The pondless waterfall has become popular over the last few years," Zuri said. "Those are good for people who want to enjoy the sight and sound of running water without maintaining a pond.

"A lot of people like them because they have toddlers and don't want to worry about them around water. And kids love playing in the waterfalls -- that's a lot of fun for them."

They are also fun and relaxing, said garden expert, author and television personality P. Allen Smith. "I always look for ways to include water in my designs. Since water is a source of life, it carries a restorative power as a symbol of renewal."

Do-it-yourselfers can easily put together a container garden that includes a small fountain, said Smith. "You don't need a lot of room to create a beautiful place to relax," he said. "The container garden is a perfect example of how you can enjoy a water fountain in the smallest of spaces. A container, small pump, source of electricity and plants are all you need. Oh, and water of course!"

Any kind of pottery that will hold water works fine. Just be sure to add plants that will thrive in both water and soil.

Of course, some people not only want a larger pond, but they also like the added interest of fish in their water. Most often they raise koi -- hearty Japanese fish that can live year-round, even in cold temperatures.

"Koi are great for pond," Zuri said. "They will hibernate as long as the water is 24 inches deep and you keep a hole in the ice. All winter long you don't have to worry about them.

"Koi live a long time and they do have babies, which people can share with friends so their pond doesn't become overpopulated. When they get used to you they'll even eat out of your hand. They really become pets."

If you aren't interested in koi but still want fish, there are shubunkins, or a type of goldfish, mosquitofish and South American catfish known as plecostomus.

Once people have a fountain or pond, they usually can't imagine not having one, Zuri said. "We always hear from people that they love their water feature, but wish they had put in a larger one.

"We have found they enjoy them so much they usually upgrade about three times. Our installers tell us that if they put one in a customer's yard, they usually get called back to put in a few more in the same neighborhood." Some people even install their own ponds, she added.

Water features can be used anywhere, but most folks put the ecosystem ponds in the backyard close to a sitting area, Zuri said. "The pondless waterfalls are good for curb appeal or can really be anywhere. Some people who have large gardens put decorative fountains along the paths for added interest."

No matter how big or small you want it, a fountain or pond can be a wonderful addition. "Water can be used in many ways on any scale -- from large pools to wall fountains. Depending on the application, it can serve as a subtle accent or as part of the floor in a garden room," Smith said. "Water appeals to each of our senses, soothing us as we sit and listen to its movement."

Zuri agreed. "Water features add value to property and they are just a great way to de-stress. People sit out on their patio, listen to the waterfall and watch the fish or whatever. It is so much better than sitting in front of the TV."

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