Incorporating Water Features into an Outdoor Space

Incorporating water features into an outdoor space can be a refreshing way to liven up your backyard. And even if you are not quite ready to put in a pool, there are still plenty of other options.

For some people, home renovations are exciting and fun, even though they can take a lot of time and money. For other people, any home construction project is reason enough to run out the door screaming. All the noise, time, inconvenience and money can just seem like too much to handle. This is true no matter what the renovation in question – something small indoors like taking down a wall, or something much bigger outside, like installing water features. But outdoor landscaping can have a big impact on your home, your quality of life, and your ability to sell your house for a good price whenever it is that you finally put it on the market. And though these projects can take a lot of time, involve a fair amount of money, and make a big ruckus, they don’t need to be feared or escaped.

Impress with a Vanishing Edge Pond

Many of us have seen or heard of infinity pools, but for those looking for something a little less ostentatious or a bit more natural, a vanishing-edge pond can be just as impressive for a lot less money. Landscape designer Scott Cohen says that some homeowners use the ponds for just that reason. “The homeowner wanted to capture the views without the expense of a vanishing-edge swimming pool,” he said about one particular pond. There are a number of different ways to install a vanishing-edge pond, and how you install yours will depend on your needs. This article from Deck and Patio explains some of the options.

How About a Stairway Fountain, an Orb Fountain, or a Bubbling Container

Cool water features

Alpine Waterfall Tabletop Fountain


Don’t have the space for a whole pond? If you already have stone steps or other stairs in your outdoor space, consider installing a stairway fountain. This understated outdoor water feature is classy and unexpected. There a number of different designs for stairway fountains – they can be added into existing staircases, mounted on the wall, or even put on a table. For example, the Alpine Waterfall Tabletop Fountain with LED Lighting, available on Amazon, involves minimal installation work and can be used indoors or outdoors.

birdbath orb water feature

Aquarius Birdbath Solar Stake & Orb


If you are looking for something fairly easy to add to your already lovely outdoor space, consider buying a few orb fountains in varying sizes. You can even transform your own bowling balls into the orbs if you are feeling particularly crafty! Alternatively, if you already have a few garden pots you are not using, you can convert them in bubbling containers, perfect for a small apartment terrace. Or, if you’d like to buy a fountain with an orb feature, consider the Smart Solar 3058MRM1 Aquarius Birdbath Solar Stake with Glass Orb, available on Amazon.

For the More Unusual

Like fountains and birdbaths but looking for something a little less expected? Asian-inspired copper basins can make for a bold addition to your backyard. Water flows out of an Asian-influenced spout made from bamboo and into a copper basin below. If you are looking for something to add a more “zen” element to your yard, this might be it.

But before you go shopping for a new water feature, review these basic instructions about installing a water fountain yourself. Any installation involving water will require some plumbing work to keep it running. You should consider the pump you will need, the amount of water, the speed of the water, and the output. Don’t forget to think about the necessary piping and how you will conceal it. And of course the weather in your region will also matter – will the water feature function year round or will pipes freeze in the winter? Will you need to de-install the water feature when the temperature drops? What will that mean for the remaining landscape?

Though these considerations are important, don’t let them dissuade you from doing more research. Water features are often simpler to install than they appear. Just ask a professional for his/her input before making any major investments.

About the Author: Mike Zook is a home improvement professional, specializing in outdoor design and landscaping. When he’s not working, you can find Mike reviewing door retrofitting companies in Chicago.

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