Design solutions: Water
Garden designer Andrew Wilson takes a look at the use of water features in the garden, considering the practical implications of incorporating these highly popular garden furnishings into your outdoor space
The water feature is a rather generic term that covers a wide range of ways to use water in the garden. We dealt with ponds and pools in another article (click here to read) but apart from this relatively simple use of water, there are other more dynamic and exciting options.
Popular water features
KEY POINTS TO TAKE AWAY
- With larger features, locate the pump and reservoir in a separate underground chamber that can be reached through an inspection cover to make maintenance easier. If the cover is located in paving, use recessed lids, designed to take the paved surface to render the cover ‘invisible’.
- In hard water areas the pH of the water should be neutralised to prevent limescale building up on the surfaces of the water feature.
- Consider using disinfectants to kill algae in the water. Bromine and chlorine are the most common chemicals used, partly for their ease of application and because they remain within the water over a period of time. Consult a water feature specialist. Legionella is also of concern, especially with misted or sprayed water. This bacterium can also be controlled in this way. UV light provides an alternative method of control, although the residual qualities of bromine or chlorine provide greater assurance. The additives won’t be harmful on contact with treated water.
- In the case of cascades or fountain jets, consider wind conditions. Wind can blow water from jets and cascades out of a receiving pool, causing water loss from the system and potential damage and staining to surfaces.
- Clear materials such as glass or Perspex (acrylic) will need additional cleaning and maintenance as they rely on transparency for their impact. Staining and scaling will be most noticeable with these materials, especially when the system is switched off.
- A gallery of water sculptor William Pye’s works for large-scale public and small-scale domestic spaces
- Domestic scale water features hand-crafted by sculptor Lucy Smith in glazed clay www.lucysmith.org.uk
- Advice, design support and maintenance of a wide range of water features. www.fairwater.co.uk
Words Andrew Wilson. Andrew is a garden designer, writer and lecturer, and an assessor and judge for RHS Show Gardens.
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