There are gardens, and then there are gardens with water . Even the simplest of water features can transform your outdoor space into a tranquil getaway — even if you just need to get away from the hullabaloo happening inside of your home.
The sounds of babbling water or the light dancing off the surface work wonders when it comes to clearing your mind, and it creates a cool space that attracts birds, wildlife, and beneficial insects.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the main types of water features, how to choose the right water for your garden, maintenance tips, and more.
Best Solar Power Water Fountain
Best Indoor Water Feature
Best Outdoor Water Feature
Best Water Features for 2021
Benefits of a Garden Water Feature
There are so many good reasons to treat your garden to a water feature! Here are just a few:
- Masks noise – The gentle burbling of a water feature creates a calming backdrop that blocks out a good amount of background noise from traffic, kids, and suburban life.
- Attracts wildlife – During dry weather, a water feature is a benefit to your local ecosystem, creating a cool space for birds, lizards, and beneficial insects to rest and rehydrate.
Here are other ways to attract wildlife to your garden.
- Creates a focal point – Whether they’re small and simple or large and dramatic, water features create an eye-catching focal point for your garden design.
They are very effective when used to create a space with tropical native plants or to contrast against hard landscaping.
- Calms and cools – Water features act as natural air conditioners, helping to cool and humidify the air around them. This helps create a soothing, relaxing space to enjoy even in the heat of summer.
Types of Garden Water Features
When looking for the perfect water feature for your garden, it’s a good idea to get to know the most popular options available, along with their pros and cons.
There’s more to a backyard water feature than the soothing sound it makes. A pond can be just as serene in its stillness, and, like the above water feature, you can make it just as big or small as you want it.
The steps are easy, too. After outlining the shape you envision for your pond, dig it out and lay out the liner. Once it’s situated, place rocks around the edges to keep the liner in place.
Fill it with water and voila, you are all set. Just make sure you don't forget to keep your pond aerated.
Even the smallest of terraces or patios will be no match for this bamboo basin — in fact, it’s designed with city dwellers in mind. Find a bowl or pot that will fit on your space.
Then, find a cup large enough to hide your pump and tubing. This cup will sit on top of two or three pieces of bamboo, which you can simply tie together with twine or string that you already have laying around.
Line the bottom with rocks, add water, and turn it on. The traffic and street noise will be muted by the soothing sounds of trickling water.
Indoor Water Features
Who says you need a garden to enjoy the sound and feel of nature? Indoor water features are a beautiful way to introduce moment, humidity, and relaxation into your space.
These water features tend to be small and decorative, more like indoor art than a natural pool or waterfall, and the designs can range from traditional clay pots and buddha water features to minimalist modern tabletop water features that create an eye-catching centrepiece.
Just be sure to get a good quality indoor water feature, as the last thing you want is to get a leak!
Outdoor Water Features
Outdoor water features are the more traditional option, coming in a wide range of materials, designs, and sizes. Although they tend to be a bit bigger than indoor options, you can find compact designs to place in a flowerbed or by your window.
Typically, these run using larger, more powerful pumps and need a bit more maintenance than indoor models, but they also have the advantage of attracting birds, butterflies, and pollinators!
An in-ground fountain uses a basin buried underground to keep water circulating over the different levels. These water features are easier to blend in with your greenery, and all you need to do is bury the basin, install the water feature, cover the basin with mulch or stones, and you’re good to go.
Although these units can cost a bit more, you’ll often find more creative designs that you don’t get with other models. Maintenance may be a bit harder as well due to the basin being buried, but the only time you’ll really need to access it is to drain it for winter (if needed).
Above ground fountains give you ease of use and portability. Changing the water or performing maintenance on the pump becomes a simple task, and you can always pick it up and move it (provided it’s not too heavy) if you want to rearrange things.
Of course, you’ll need to make sure you have enough open ground in your garden for it to sit, which can be difficult if it’s already packed with plant life. You don’t want to be crushing any plants or flowers with the base of your fountain!
Electric and Solar Water Features
Electric or solar power water feature, which one should you pick? Both have their good points, so it can be a tough choice. With electric water features, you know your fountain will always be running.
These fountains also tend to offer more variety in design, as they don’t have to depend on a solar panel in them to supply power. However, solar fountains have really taken off in popularity lately as green technology becomes more popular and more affordable.
Since they use the sun’s power, both environmentally friendly and won’t increase your electricity costs. They also don’t need a power cord or outlet, so you have more freedom in where you can place it.
Choosing the Water Feature's Material
The material your water feature is made of is the other big thing to consider. Something like resin or fiberglass is nice because it’s lightweight, easy to move, and available in tons of finishes.
However, it can crack in extreme cold, so it’s best for warmer climates, such as the more temperate or tropical areas in Australia. If you don’t experience regular snow in winter, you should be fine.
Stone is always a popular option, as it has a natural, rugged, and beautiful look unmatched by any other material. Of course, it’s going to be quite heavy, so plan on keeping it in one spot once you have it set up.
Another popular option that’s great when you want to add a splash of colour to your garden is ceramic. Fountains made from ceramic tend to have bright, bold colours and a glazed finish that gives them a glossy look, making them really stand out anywhere you place them.
Ceramic is more fragile than other materials, but it’s great when you want something decorative.
Water Feature DIY vs Professional Installation
Today, most water features are easily installed by yourself, as they come as a complete kit. You may need a little extra help placing heavier parts, but it’s nothing that you can’t usually get a friend or neighbour to help with.
Of course, if you can’t lift the heavier items and have little DIY experience, a handyman or local gardening service can take care of it all for you quite affordably.
If you are very experienced at DIY, then it’s up to you how advanced your water feature will be. Some people prefer buying the complete kits, others like adding handcrafted elements, and others still enjoy building their own water feature entirely from scratch!
Here's a helpful video from Bunnings on how to turn an ordinary plant pot into a water feature.
How to Maintain Your Water Feature
Here’s a basic guide on maintaining your water feature.
- Cleaning – Once a week, clean your water feature out either by hand or using a skimming net, and clear out the debris basket. It’s also a good idea to do this after a storm or after you’ve done garden maintenance, as leaves, grass, and sticks can easily get into the water feature.
- Pump – Follow the user instructions on how to clean the pump, making sure that the filters are properly washed out. When these get blocked up, they will slow the flow of water and can cause the pump to burn out.
- Water level – Regularly refill the water feature to keep it at the correct level (usually around 1cm from the lip), making sure to fill it well through heatwaves. If you notice that the later level is dropping dramatically without explanation, you may have to check for a leak.
- Emptying – It’s a good idea to give your water feature a good cleaning once a year or if you notice significant algae or pond scum build-up. Fully drain the basin and scrub it clean using a brush.
We don’t recommend using a chemical cleaner as this can impact the natural ecosystem and damage plants.
- Mosquitoes – In warm seasons, mosquitoes may move into your water feature. To Get rid of these pests, try to keep the water moving as much as possible, as they only like still water. You can also introduce fish, tadpoles, or frogs that will feed off the larvae.
Another eco-friendly solution is to clean your water feature more regularly in the spring and summer, or use bacillus thuringiensis which will kill off the larvae but be harmless to pets, beneficial adult insects, and plants.
Best Water Feature Reviews
Solar Power Water Features
This fountain has a modern, Zen feel, and is suitable for indoor or outdoor use as long as the panel can get enough exposure to the sunlight. It features 3 gently cascading levels, is made of a durable polyresin, and has a reasonable flow rate of 250 litres per hour.
The great thing about this water feature is that it comes with a rechargeable battery, so you can keep it running even after the sun goes down.
Designed to fit neatly into a bird bath, this solar water fountain keeps mosquitoes away and creates a pleasant, gentle spray that cools the air and encourages birdlife.
It comes with a 1200mAh battery to keep it running on dull or cloudy days, and the panel floats just on the water itself to become completely unobtrusive. It can also be used in a fish pond, pool, or garden pond.
This is a great, inexpensive kit that is ideal for a DIY project. It’s easy to install, offers 3 different types of spray, and the submersible pump works off a solar panel so all you need to run it is sunshine.
It’s a good option if you want to keep the water moving in a pond, set up your own water feature using a pot, or create a spray around your bird bath. This isn’t a kit for very large water features, as the flow rate is around 210 litres per hour.
Indoor Water Features
This modern wall water feature is an elegant and eye-catching feature for any home and can be used indoors as well as in the garden or on a patio.
With a natural stone and galvanised steel construction, it’s high-quality, rust-resistant, and attractive. The water pump comes with a 1-year warranty and the fountain weighs 20kgs.
Dramatic, Zen, and compact, this indoor water feature is just what every home needs. Weighing 14kgs, it’s substantial enough to make an impact while fitting easily into any room or entertainment space.
The gentle trickle of this elegant fountain will soothe and relax you – and the pump comes with a 1-year warranty for even more peace of mind.
Buddha water features are elegant, timeless, and designed to ease away the stresses of the day. This buddha sits on a lotus flower, creating a gentle pool for the water to trickle through.
Made of durable polyresin and bigger than you might think, this water feature makes a powerful impression in your home.
Outdoor Water Features
This two-tier outdoor water feature is a compact and elegant solution to digging your own pond. It’s big enough for small fish and aquatic plants, and the gentle overflow will help prevent mosquitoes and oxygenate the water.
In addition, this model comes with a plant and waterfall filter, LED lights, a pump, clay grow media, and decorative gravel.
Simple and Zen-inspired, this pale grey resin water feature is a simple and elegant option for your patio or garden that will easily double as a bird bath.
It comes with LED lighting for night viewing, is easy to assemble, and the pump is included. It’s lightweight at just over 6kgs, making it easy to move around your garden or patio.
This rustic water feature adds a pretty visual element to any garden and looks great located amongst plants and flowers. It’s corded, so you will need an outlet nearby, and the durable plastic construction makes it fully rust and weather resistant, which is ideal for coastal homes.
The 3-layer design is coated to look like natural brass, and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
Best Water Features Australia
Best Solar Power Water Fountain
We love this Solar Powered Fountain Kit because it’s so versatile and affordable! You can use it with almost any design or size water feature, although it’s best suited to smaller ponds and birdbaths.
If you want to make your own water feature, this has almost everything you need.
Best Indoor Water Feature
With a mix of modern design and traditional materials, the Stone Wall Indoor Outdoor Garden Water Feature Water Fountain is our top pick for indoor water feature!
It’s bold and large while still being compact for smaller indoor spaces, and the durable construction ensures it lasts a long time whether it’s inside your home or in your garden.
Best Outdoor Water Feature
There’s simply nothing better than the Aquascape 78325 AquaGarden Pond for our team! We love that you can have a full, natural pond ecosystem on your patio or in your garden without any of the mess or fuss of an installation.
This rustic yet modern pond offers a soft overflow of water, a home to tadpoles, fish and freshwater crabs, and an air of tranquillity to your garden.
Get Ready to Relax with the Best Garden Water Features of 2021
If you’ve been trying to find that perfect finishing touch for your garden, then you need a water feature. It’s sure to be a welcome addition, creating a tranquil atmosphere for all to enjoy – even the birds and bees.
When buying a water feature, remember to consider how much DIY you want to do, whether you need access to an outlet or not, and how you can best maintain it. We hope you are enjoying the best water feature for your garden soon this summer!