Making a splash: Bring life to your garden by installing a water feature this summer | Home & Garden

There are few things in life that inspire such feelings of tranquility and peace as the sound of moving water.

Whether your outdoor space consists of sprawling acreage or a small garden, adding a water feature to your yard can add a sense of vitality to the area, and provide necessary sustenance for wildlife.

“Water features are really the missing link to your garden,” said Montray Brooks, the fountain and pottery specialist at Southwood Landscape and Garden Center. “Everyone has flowers, everyone has grass, but having a source of water really brings it all together and will bring so much life to your garden.”

When selecting the right type of water feature for your home, there are many aspects to consider: what your yard and garden will allow for, what style will best match your home’s aesthetic and more.

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Before you pick a water feature

Before you head to your local landscaping or garden center, it’s important to take stock of how much space you have in your yard or garden so the feature you choose will look proportionate, Brooks said. A fountain that’s too big might overwhelm your space, while one that’s too small may not stand out the way you want it to.

“A lot of people come in and might be attracted to several different types of fountains, so it’s important to know what the window of space you have in your garden looks like and what will fit there,” Brooks said.

Whether you’re looking for a simple birdbath, a wall fountain or a self-contained fountain, first consider the style of your home. For example, a modern-looking fountain may not match a ranch-style home. Try to have an idea in mind before you start shopping, Brooks said.

It may be helpful to bring a photo of your yard or garden to a landscaping professional, so they can help you select the right water feature for your space.

It’s also important to make sure you have a big enough door or fence to move the water feature through when it’s being brought to your yard, as well as the resources necessary to do so.

“A lot of people have privacy fences, which makes it really difficult to transport their fountains,” Brooks said. “Make sure you have the manpower to move your fountain, and if you don’t, get the help of a professional.”

Fountain materials

Fountains are constructed of a variety of materials, each with their own benefits. Granite fountains tend to be more durable and last for several years, but due to their heaviness, they can be difficult to maneuver, according to Carved Stone Creations.

Fiberglass fountains can be made to look like granite and stone, but are much lighter. Since they aren’t as strong or durable, however, they won’t last as long and may become damaged by the elements.

Fountains made of porcelain or ceramic materials are beautiful to the eye but are much more fragile than most fountains, so its best to place them somewhere where they won’t be exposed to too much wind or rain.

No matter what type of fountain you choose, make sure to be very prudent about where in your yard or garden you choose to install it, because you won’t want to move it again. Your water feature will require access to water and power for it to run, so remember that when choosing a spot for it.

Cleaning and maintenance

Once you or a professional installs your new water feature, you should expect to do some regular maintenance to make sure it keeps running correctly, Brooks said.

Most water features circulate the same water until it starts to evaporate. Because of hot summer temperatures, especially in Oklahoma, it’s wise to top off your water feature semi-regularly, Brooks said. If the water dries out, you may risk your water pump burning out.

“You have to be careful about making sure your fountain has enough water to protect your pump, because if it keeps running without water, it could really damage it,” Brooks said. “A good rule of thumb is everytime you go water your flowers, water your fountain as well.”

Give your fountain a good scrub at least once a month, and utilize a commercial algaecide if you see yours starting to turn green, Brooks said. If your water feature is located near a tree or bush, check to make sure falling debris isn’t clogging your system.

“The leaves that fall in will be attracted to your pump and will get sucked in — you may not even notice it at first, but it’s important not to let any leaves or sticks fall into your fountain because they could stop your pump from spinning, Brooks said. “The debris might look small, but it can really mess up your system.”

When the weather starts to get colder, take proper precautions to make sure your water feature lasts through the fall and winter months. You’ll want to drain the fountain, shut off its water supply and drain the pipes that lead to the water supply, so they don’t freeze when it gets cold outside, Brooks said.

To ensure your water feature doesn’t get clogged by falling debris during the winter months, it may be smart to cover your feature with a blanket or tarp, or move it inside.

“You want to make sure your fountain is covered for the whole winter, because leaves, rain or snow will freeze and clog it up,” Brooks said. “You still need to check on it the same way you would check on your flowers or plants, though — just because it’s not running, doesn’t mean you don’t need to check on it. This fountain will be there for awhile if you take care of it.”

The benefits of having a water feature in your yard or garden are plentiful not just for you and your family, but for the environment, too, Brooks said.

“Your fountain can serve as a water source for birds, bees and other creatures that need water more than ever right now,” Brooks said.

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