Design a water feature into your landscape for beauty and, yes, even for practicality.

The serenity of a pondCredit: Photo by Jane Gates

There is something magical about the look and feel of water in the garden. It has been a treasured component of landscape designs for thousands of years. And you can include it in your garden, too. Whether you have a big yard or just a small patio, you can have a water feature add sparkle to your garden.

Water gardens can come in the simplest form of a bird bath or a fancy, twirling sprinkler- head distributing droplets over a lawn or garden in glittering swirls. Or you can design something that bubbles up over a pot or spills out a watering can. You can add the splash of clear liquid in the smallest of spaces with a little tabletop fountain, or create an eye-catching focal point with a large, elaborate fountain.

Higher maintenance water features can be seen with ponds, waterfalls and bogs. But the effects, uses and maintenance here can vary drastically. Some bog gardens can offer double duty by being incorporated into an eco-friendly design that improves drainage. Sometimes situating a bog or pond at a low point where water would naturally collect can work as a filtration system to turn a drainage problem into an asset.

Pond building can take many forms. You can build a pond as a small accent or make it into a major part of the landscape. It can be constructed with a rubber liner or be poured in concrete. It can be designed to look like a natural outcrop in your garden, be assembled to look like a contemporary sculpture, or spill over a wall into a romantic geometric water feature. Ponds do need care and once they reach balance after a year or two, they will need to be watched to make sure plant life, fish, rain and other materials don’t swing the balance too acidic or too alkaline.

Fountains, ponds and even waterfalls can add the refreshing sound of water to your garden. If you want a waterfall without a pond, you can build yourself a pondless waterfall in which the water falls into a tub covered with permeable paving and is recycled over the waterfall again without there needing to be any open water.

Water features will sparkle in the sunlight and cool the summer air. Make sure you keep yours clean and make provisions to avoid pests and mosquitoes. Adding a water garden to your landscape can turn your garden area from something ordinary into something sparkling and special.