Backyard water features can add a new dimension to your landscaping. The sight and sound of flowing water is relaxing and pleasant. These tips can help you choose the right feature for your yard.
One of the first things to consider is the size of water feature you need in your backyard. Do you want a centerpiece for the landscape, such as a large multi-tiered fountain, or just something small to put on a pedestal in a rock garden? Water features come in every height and width you can think of, from small tabletop styles to large fountain with statuary and gazing pools. Measure the space where you will place the feature before you even begin to look at options.
There are two water source options. Flow through features are the least common. The water feature is hooked up into a hose that brings in fresh water, which circulates through and then drains elsewhere. More common and much more water conscious are recirculating features. These include a water reservoir and a pump. Water is pumped from the reservoir and to the fountain before draining back into the reservoir.
If you have a handy power outlet, then plug-in fountains are one option. Just make sure the outlet is a GFCI outlet, as these contain a safety switch that cuts power if water gets into the socket. You can also hardwire the fountain into the electrical circuit. Another option is to use solar power. Water pumps with integrated small solar panels are readily available. These allow you to put in a fountain anywhere, even if there is no power outlet available.
Circulation water features are a must if you are concerned about pests like mosquitoes. Insects like mosquitoes don't lay eggs in moving water, so some sort of pump and fountain feature or bubbler is a must. For ponds and other features that don't typically have a fountain feature, you can use a bubbler to slightly disturb the water surface and prevent insects. Choose a fountain or bubbler that moves all of the water in the water feature, not just a section.
Maintenance can be simple or difficult, depending on the design of the water feature. The more narrow hoses and water flow areas, the more difficult it is to clean. If simplicity is the goal, choose a fountain with water inlet areas that can be easily accessed for cleaning. Further, make sure the pump housing is easy to open so you can clean and replace the filter without too much effort.
Talk to a landscape designer to learn more about your backyard water feature options.