what is a water feature

Water features are a popular addition to any outdoor space, providing a soothing and visually appealing element to the environment. But what exactly is a water feature? In this expert guide, we will explore the definition of a water feature, discuss the importance and benefits of having one, delve into the various types of water features available, provide design ideas, and offer tips for maintenance and care.

Definition of a water feature

A water feature can be defined as any decorative element that incorporates water in its design. It can range from a small tabletop fountain to a large pond or waterfall. The purpose of a water feature is to create a relaxing and tranquil ambiance by visually and audibly incorporating the element of water.

Importance and benefits of having a water feature

Having a water feature in your outdoor space can bring numerous benefits and add a touch of luxury to your surroundings. Firstly, water features have a calming effect on our mental and emotional well-being. The sight and sound of flowing water can help to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall mood.

Water features also attract wildlife, such as birds and butterflies, creating a harmonious and natural environment. Additionally, the sound of running water can help to mask unwanted noises, providing a peaceful oasis for you and your guests.

Types of Water Features


Fountains are perhaps the most common and well-known type of water feature. They come in various sizes and styles and can be either wall-mounted or freestanding. Wall-mounted fountains are a great option for smaller spaces, while freestanding fountains make a bold statement in larger gardens.

Wall-mounted fountains

Wall-mounted fountains are perfect for adding a touch of elegance and charm to smaller outdoor areas. They can be easily installed on a wall or fence and provide a soothing water feature without taking up valuable floor space.

Pond fountains

Pond fountains, as the name suggests, are fountains located within a pond. They create a beautiful focal point and can be combined with aquatic plants and lights for a stunning nighttime display.


Waterfalls are a popular choice for those seeking a more dramatic water feature. They can be natural or artificial and add a sense of tranquility and serenity to any outdoor space.

Natural waterfalls

Natural waterfalls are created by the natural flow of water over rocks and other natural elements. They provide a more organic and authentic look and are a great option for larger, more naturalistic gardens.

Artificial waterfalls

Artificial waterfalls are man-made structures that mimic the look and sound of a natural waterfall. They can be tailored to fit any space and are a fantastic addition to contemporary and modern gardens.


Ponds are a versatile water feature that can add a sense of tranquility and natural beauty to any outdoor space. They can be used to house aquatic plants, fish, or simply serve as a relaxing focal point.

Garden ponds

Garden ponds are the perfect choice for those looking to create a peaceful oasis in their backyard. They can be designed with various depths and sizes to accommodate different plant and animal life.

Koi ponds

Koi ponds are specifically designed to house koi fish, which are known for their vibrant colors and graceful swimming patterns. These ponds often feature filtration systems to ensure the water remains clean and healthy for the fish.


Swimming pools are a popular water feature for those seeking a functional space for recreation and relaxation. They come in various shapes and sizes and can be customized to fit any backyard.

Swimming pools

Traditional swimming pools are designed for swimming and recreational activities. They often feature steps or a ladder for easy access and can be enhanced with additional water features, such as fountains or water jets.

Reflecting pools

Reflecting pools are shallow pools that are primarily designed to create a mirror-like reflection of the surrounding landscape. They add a sense of tranquility and elegance to any outdoor space.

Factors to Consider when Designing a Water Feature

Available space

Before designing a water feature, it's important to consider the available space in your outdoor area. Determine the size and shape that will work best for your space, ensuring that it complements the overall design and layout of your garden.


Establishing a budget is crucial when designing a water feature. Consider the costs of materials, labor, and ongoing maintenance to ensure that the project aligns with your financial resources.

Style and aesthetic

When designing a water feature, think about the overall style and aesthetic you want to achieve. Consider whether you want a more contemporary, traditional, or natural look, and choose materials and designs that complement your desired style.

Design Ideas for Water Features

Contemporary water features

If you prefer a more modern and sleek look, consider incorporating clean lines and geometric shapes into your water feature design. Materials such as stainless steel, glass, and concrete can create a contemporary and minimalist aesthetic.

Traditional water features

For a more classic and timeless look, opt for traditional water features with ornate details and natural materials like stone or marble. Consider incorporating statues or sculptures to add an artistic touch to your design.

Mediterranean-inspired water features

If you're looking to create a Mediterranean-inspired oasis, consider using elements such as clay or terracotta pottery, colorful tiles, and lush greenery. Incorporate cascading water features and playful mosaics for a vibrant and inviting design.

Maintenance and Care for Water Features

Regular cleaning and upkeep

To keep your water feature looking its best, regular cleaning and upkeep are essential. Remove any debris, such as leaves or twigs, and clean filters or pumps regularly to ensure proper water flow.

Water quality management

Maintaining good water quality is crucial for the health of your water feature. Test the water regularly and adjust the pH and chemical levels as needed. Consider using natural additives or beneficial bacteria to promote a healthy environment for fish and plants.

Winterization techniques

For those living in colder climates, winterization techniques are necessary to protect your water feature from freezing temperatures. Drain and cover the feature or use a de-icer to prevent damage to pumps and pipes.


Water features can transform any outdoor space into a serene and inviting oasis. Whether you choose a fountain, waterfall, pond, or pool, the benefits of having a water feature are plenty, from promoting relaxation and tranquility to attracting wildlife and enhancing the overall aesthetic of your garden. Remember to consider factors such as available space, budget, and style when designing your water feature, and be sure to properly maintain and care for it to ensure its longevity and beauty.

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