Water Features that Transform the Garden – Whatever the Size

Feb 14, 2017 - POSTED BY Anna Halloran - Gardeners Choice

Nature by Design! Man has always sought to tame nature and this beautiful small lake that we created in Old Boar’s Hill, just outside Oxford, is a stunning example how, by mimicking nature, you can create the best of both worlds. Designed Nature. Part of the beauty of water is the way it reflects the garden surrounding it. Not just the beautiful shrubs and trees, but the naturalistic waterside planting that edges the lake. Amongst the many different waterside plants used were some beautiful grasses and irises. Acorus calamus, Lythrum salicaria and Sirpus zebrinus for the grasses and Iris laevigata, Iris pseudacorus and Iris versicolor featured amongst the Irises. But not many of us have 8 acres of garden to play with, so this blog features ideas for smaller spaces as well. Take Photo 2, which was taken last summer at RHS Wisley, this elegant, circular water feature would look beautiful in both small country gardens and small town gardens.

Then you have water features for medium sized gardens.  If your water feature is close to your house, it often looks better to be designed in a more formal way. This water feature is from another garden we designed in Old Boars Hill, Oxford, and I took the inspiration for the water jets that come from the sides of the feature, from the Alhambra in Spain. There is lighting in the pond itself and the feature is overlooked from the sitting room, and it makes a wonderful vista day and night from inside the house. Photo 4 is a water feature especially designed to house some mature Koi Carp for clients in Hertfordshire. These carp need both depth and a separate area just to enjoy and explore, so the narrower water rill is their playground, and the square water feature at the end of the water feature is their home. Photo 5 depicts a peaceful, contemporary garden we designed in Jericho, Oxford, where the water is treated almost as another surface to enjoy as you walk down the garden. 

Returning to ideas for very small gardens, why not include a water feature with a sculpture as a focal point if you have a small garden? This wonderful March Hare sculpture was on show at RHS Wisley, and I include the details of the sculptor who presented this work on show there in Photo 7. This would be a perfect feature if you have a young family, as I am sure the children would love the sculpture. The RHS often puts on Sculpture Shows in their gardens around the UK, and they are a great way of seeing promising artists and their work in beautiful garden settings.

The last two photos show 2 small town gardens, with very different styles, and with very different water features. Photo 8 is a garden we designed in Oxford, which has soft, curvaceous lines, and the water feature is designed to be part of the circular Indian Sandstone patio in the corner of the garden. Photo 9 shows a garden we designed in Fulham, London, which had a contemporary, open plan kitchen, which opened seamlessly out onto this patio with its central water feature. A garden which I hope you’ll agree looks good even in the snow!