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Water Water Everywhere

June 24, 2012

gardenblog47.jpgNowadays a water feature is more or less considered to be an integral feature of any garden design, whether it’s simply for a focal point, or a pond for wildlife, or being used for its ambient sounds of moving water for relaxation. Surprisingly water features have been used in gardens for longer than you may think.

Far back in ancient Egypt around 3000 BC we see the earliest records of gardens, and yes, these gardens did have water features, although most were used for practical purposes. Gardens where mainly enclosed in a courtyard fashion and water channels where formed to irrigate the crops and plants. Later in history, the Moorish gardens of Spain incorporated fountains into their courtyards where people could cool off and have some relief from the hot dry climate.

In Japanese gardens, running water served a practical purpose and water features were sited near to teahouses where the water was used for purification purposes before the ceremony itself, as guests would wash their hands before entering the teahouse. Other practical water features in Japanese gardens include the “deer scarer” where the bamboo pivoted arm collects water and then swings down against a stone with a loud clunk, thus scaring any deer or other wildlife away from the garden and crops.

Nowadays we truly are spoilt for choice with the variety of water features available, although I always suggest that the main consideration for any water feature is that of the safety of small children. If you do have children, then I would strongly recommend the type that has a sealed reservoir, like the cobble or millstone fountains. Other safe styles of water features aredscf0018.JPG narrow and shallow rills or streams which are becoming quite fashionable.

If you are considering a water feature, you could opt for a formal type such as a raised brick one. The choice is endless and you’re bound to find a type to suit your garden, or even get someone to design one for you.

Alternatively, instead of a simple water feature, you may consider having a pond. If you are planning a pond, do remember that it’s best to locate it in an open site where daylight can get to surface-living aquatic plants. Also avoid water features near trees as not only will the falling leaves clog up the water, but tree roots may also damage the pond. There are several types of pond available, from concrete types which you can make yourself, to pre-formed fibre types, toughened plastic moulded ones, or butyl rubber sheet types.

 

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