Creating a Water Garden or Water Feature Design
It takes a lot of labour to build, but once that’s done, a water garden or water feature design is not only charming and interesting but also labour-saving. Anyone who is getting on in years and finds gardening an effort might do well to consider making a formal rectangular pool the most important part of their garden. If the surround is paved to ensure easy walking and to avoid grass cutting, then labour has been cut almost to the limit. Such a garden can be made as part of a patio. A few beds, perhaps no larger than aslab can take shrubs or perennials.
At one time, making a pond or a water feature design was sheer hard labour. Not only had the area to be excavated but also to be lined with concrete. And although this method is still a good one, there are now far easier ways of making water gardens and not only are the ways easier, but the results are often more effective and certainly more quickly attained.
Once the hole has been dug (this is by far the longest and heaviest part of the job) you can make a water garden in a day.
There are three main types of plastics which replace the backbreaking, time-and-money-consuming business of lining the pool with concrete. The least expensive is to line the interior of the pool with plastic sheeting. This can be clear, black, blue or stone coloured, or pebble patterned also. If possible the plastic should be laid on a bed of sand or peat so that no sharp stones can break through it. Cover the whole of the area and allow a foot or so overlap at the edges. The plastic sheeting must be smoothed over the bottom of the pool so that no wrinkles show and the overlap at the top should be weighted down with a littleand then a stone edging, which should reach just an inch or two over the edge. Once all the wrinkles are smoothed away, the water can be let in.
The next method is very much the same except that the plastic sheeting is much thicker, tougher and more elastic. Some specialist companies make up special sizes so they fit exactly, even to making a ledge for little plants. This tougher sheeting will stretch, which means that it merely has to be fitted over the hole and when the water flows in, it stretches and fills the cavity exactly, the water pushing out all the wrinkles.
The easiest plastic water feature designs of all, are those pre-fabricated in fibreglass. These come in several different shapes and sizes and all you have to do is to dig out the hole to fit the shape exactly and then drop in the pool, making quite sure that it is level. This type of pool will last almost indefinitely.
One of the greatest virtues of water in the garden is that it moves. Even the most sheltered pool on the stillest of days shows some shimmering in the mirror of its surface.
If water has this sweet facility of movement, then we should take advantage of it and use artificial means to increase the flow, getting a turbulence, a spray, a gurgle, a drip, a waterfall or a fountain! Modern equipment places at our fingertips all the inexpensive means of using water as a water garden or water feature design to best advantage.
An additional advantage of making the water move is that you improve its quality. It becomes aerated; pondweed, algae and other nuisances suffer inhibition in growth andenjoy the greater oxygenation.
To get water movement, you need a pump. This takes water from the pool and pushes it into the air from a fountain, up to the top of a waterfall or chute to tumble or cascade down any way you like. Pumps can be housed above the pool or submerged in it, depending on the functions they have to perform. Submerged pumps are small in size and consequently inexpensive, while surface pumps are sometimes quite large, powerful and more costly. Most of us, with a comparatively small water feature design find we can manage with a small pump.
Perhaps the most convenient of the small pumping systems is a submersible, virtually foolproof type. Completely silent in operation, it is joined to an electric supply, placed in the water feature design and operates immediately when the supply is switched on. It will operate a fountain or a waterfall and a built-in flow adjuster can be used to control the height of the fountain or the flow down the chute.
If, instead of a fountain, you prefer to move the water in a stream or waterfall, you will need plastic tubing to carry it from the pool to the source of the stream. This is generally the top of a bank, where a chute or series of chutes or streams leads down to the pool again. This plastic piping should, of course, be hidden both as it leaves the pool, by means of an overhanging rock or similar disguise, and as it winds to its exit. Here it can merely be buried a few inches under the soil.
Cascades and waterfalls are now as simple as garden pools to construct, for just as polythene liners and prefabricated plastic or fibreglass pools have done away with the necessity for concrete, so new pools, waterfalls, streams and cascades are now available, some with a natural rock finish that blends very happily into a rock garden. These can be used singly or in series, depending on the result desired and the space available.
Traditional garden water feature designs with fountains and water cascades are not, however, to everyone’s taste nor do they always fit harmoniously into some modern gardens. Fortunately all water flow systems are so flexible that the ways in which they can be used are almost limitless. To take a simple fountain, for example, there is no real reason why the jet should rise from the pool and fall into it again. The jet can be placed some distance away at an angle to allow the water to arc into the air before falling into the pool.
Again, there is no reason why the surface of the pool should consist of water. Some people prefer a pebble splash area. For this, the water feature design is constructed in the normal way but a platform of wire netting is stretched over the surface. On this is placed a layer of pebbles of different sizes, shapes and colours. The fountain jet rises through this layer from the filled pool beneath, and the falling spray of water keeps these pebbles permanently wet, glistening and cool.