The Garden Guide

Water Design Guide

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Life on Earth depends on water. Therefore water is a more important element in landscape and garden design than plants.

In wet climates, water is taken for granted. Still falls the rain - and it is often sufficient for plant growth. But in dry climates irrigation is necessary and the world's oldest garden illustrations (of ancient Egyptian gardens) all have a pool as the central feature.

In China, houses and gardens have long been planned according to the geomantic principles of feng shui. The literal translation is 'wind and water'.

In modern books on garden design, one frequently reads that 'a real garden must have water'. The usual ways of obtaining wate are:

  • rainwater harvesting: all gardens should do this
  • excavation to the water table: this is the best way of making a pool
  • daming a natural watercourse
  • using a piped supply (note that a natural supply will be source of nutrients while a mains supply will be sterile and may contain chlorine - unless your community practices sustainable water management and seperate supplies of purified and grey water

The chief modes for handling water are:

  • standing water (garden pools, ponds, lakes etc)
  • flowing water (garden streams, channels, rivers etc)
  • falling water (garden waterfalls, cascades, weirs etc)
  • a spray of water (garden fountains, sprays, jets etc)