Tips on Choosing a DIY Water Feature
Need help choosing a DIY water feature that will help inject visual interest, calm—and wildlife—into your backyard landscape? If so, landscape designer and Done-In-A-Weekend Projects host Doug Scott has all the intel you’ll need! He’ll discuss the available types and styles—and pros, cons and maintenance considerations for each—so you can select the one that’s right for your yard.
Types of Water Features
Fountains are one of the most commonly selected water features. Namely, because they provide pleasing sights and sounds, while also accommodating space and budget constraints you may have.
Water gardens—gardens of plants that live in and around water—and fish ponds literally bring life into outdoor spaces. Best suited to more naturalized spaces, both are more complex and costly, and will require additional maintenance. Additionally, you’ll need to plan on dealing with land and air predators that will likely pay them a visit.
Streams help create a natural, meandering setting, “connect the dots” between separate spaces and aid in drainage management. While, like streams, waterfalls help add yard drama, they’ll also allow you to take advantage of natural drops from one area to another.
Water Feature Maintenance
Fountains. You’ll need to periodically drain and wipe down fountains to remove excess dirt and debris. Clean any pumps by soaking them in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, then rinse and re-attach them before refilling the fountain. And finally, drain and move fountains indoors in the winter to prevent cracking or freezing.
Water gardens, fishponds, streams and waterfalls. Significantly more complex to maintain than fountains, each of these water features will require the appropriate amount of beneficial bacteria to be added regularly throughout the year. And, don’t forget the regular pump filter checks to ensure they’re free of debris. If you’re not interested in enlisting the help of an outside contractor for ongoing maintenance, there’s a wealth of online DIY videos that’ll guide you through the process.