Of all the Earth’s natural creations, nothing can stop even the most hurried traveler like the great waterfalls, even the small tropical one tucked away deep in the rain forest. There is something about the sound of water moving over rocks and ledges that draws out the human emotion of contentment. Technology has now brought this luxury to the homes of all who dare challenge Mother Nature to a duel of creativity. Special liners, pumps and skimmers have given the average homeowner the upper hand in the challenge. We even have water features that we can place on the nightstand – assuming you have excellent bladder control.

Modern day materials have made it possible for homeowners to create a water feature as unique as themselves. You can build one large or small, formal or rustic, interactive or strictly for viewing. When dreaming of your ultimate water feature, you should take the following into consideration:


This is crucial to the success of your endeavor. Place your water feature in a location that looks the most natural; water never flows uphill, and it always takes the path of least resistance. Make sure the water can be viewed and heard from all the key points throughout your house and yard. It must be in a place you can access for maintenance and use. Most importantly, make sure you are not digging over any utilities or septic systems – this could be a very costly mistake if overlooked.


All water features will have some amount of weekly work involved. Think about the hours you devote to the monoculture of grass; compare the enjoyment you receive between the grass and water. Decide how much time you are willing to invest in the upkeep, because this could be a factor in what kind of water feature you build. For the fish and plant lover who demands only the most natural look, you will be installing a traditional open body water pond. This type of pond will have trickling streams and cascades falling into deep pockets of water to create a low rumbling sound. You will enjoy the activity of all the creatures that visit and share in the tranquil beauty. Open ponds will be as active as the water cascading into them. Fish, birds, frogs, flowers and foliage will all help to complete this ever-changing masterpiece. All this epic beauty comes at a price of time and labor, for these kinds of ponds require a feeding of beneficial bacteria, cleaning of filters and the occasional pond drain and muck out. If you truly appreciate all that encompasses the natural water pond, it will only be a labor of love.

“A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”
           – Henry David Thoreau


Pondless water features have become the star of the moment; they provide the waterfalls, streams, and the bubbling fountains – all the sounds most people desire – without the effort that an open body of water requires. Safety has also been a huge boon to this type of waterfall, in part because you don’t need to worry about toddlers or Aunt Linda falling into an open pool of rocks and water. As a general rule, this type of pond is much easier to take care of on a weekly basis. Rocks provide your filter and the algae bloom is greatly reduced due in part to its short exposure time in the sun before disappearing into the rocks. With pondless water features you can also have many different variations of falls. You can easily fill up a planter urn with water and have it cascade over the sides or have a rock with a bubbling hole drilled in it. Different ways to reflect your personality are very easily attained with a pondless system.


Lastly, there is the wonderful world of container gardening. This is where most great water gardeners begin their journey. Simply use a waterproof pot and install a fountain pump and some rock – even some small plants if you like – and suddenly you have become your very own water artist. This type of water gardening is easy and gives much leeway to mistakes. After all, it is much easier to dump a 10-gallon pot out and start over than to pump out 5,000 gallons of water – not to mention the city water bill. This is a fun and exciting activity with the younger ones in the family.

Fun, excitement, discovery and, yes, even some aggravation await all who wish to lend a helping hand to nature in creating a place all their own – a place where water reveals its real power. Water has a healing power unlike any other spectacle on this earth. Imagine sitting on a shoreline listing to the rhythm of nature as the water gently laps the shore. Or resting under a lodgepole pine, eyes closed, listing to the millions of different tones as the water tumbles over the ancient rocks as if it were telling a story of a time long past. Bodies of water, big or small, occupy some of this world’s most mystical and coveted places. They are places of peace, solitude and reflection. It is within the reaches of these great places that time stands still, all things frozen, except the movement of water.

And you can have all this, even in your own backyard!

Questions about your next water feature project? E-mail Ryan and Jamee, info@windsorsnursery.com