The Garden Guide

Water features - review

Landscape and Garden Product Directory

Garden designers, writers and owners agree on one point: EVERY GARDEN SHOULD HAVE A WATER FEATURE. But it seems rather easier to go wrong than right in the design.

WATER SUPPLY alternatives:

  • use a natural water course [the best solution but also the least common]
  • excavate to the water table, thus forming a natural pond [very successful if the water table is high in your garden]
  • collect rainwater water runoff from roofs, pavements, lawns etc [most gardens should do this - but few do]
  • use piped water from the mains supply [the most expensive and the least sustainable solution]

WATER RETENTION alternatives:

  • natural retention [as mentioned above]
  • a flexible rubber or plastic pond liner [relatively cheap but damageable - and ugly if visible]
  • a rigid fiberglass pond liner [more durable than a flexible liner - but ugly if visible]
  • waterproof concrete [structural concrete - a 1:2:4 mix - is waterproof but needs to be well detailed with with waterbars at joints. Concrete is also ugly if visible.]

WATER BODY alternatives:

  • lakes and ponds (with irregular shapes)
  • tanks and pools (rectangular)
  • streams and channels (linear, with flowing water)


  • gravity
  • mains powered pump
  • wind- or solar-powered pump

WATER MOVEMENT alternatives:

  • streams and cascades
  • bubbles
  • fountain, sprays and jets
  • whirlpools

ECOLOGICAL alternatives:

  • chemically sterile water
  • ecologically unbalanced (euthrophic) water - usually unclear
  • ecologically balanced water - usually clear
Medium fountain3 original

Medium blue pool  original

Medium reed swirling original

Medium lily pond original

Medium water original

Medium water vapour2 original

Medium glazed pot fountain original

Medium hotel pool original

Medium water barca3 original