Want to make sure that your garden feels calming and soothing? Check out these easy and inexpensive ways to add water to your garden.
Our gardens have a calming, restful aesthetic partly because they simultaneously please so many senses — sight, smell and sound. There is nothing more soothing than the sound of water trickling onto pebbles, or the sight of birds bathing in a fountain, so I make sure I have water features both in my back and front gardens.
These water features do not need to be elaborate or expensive. This is especially true in the fall when garden centers are clearing their seasonal stock of fountains and pumps. In my opinion, it makes economic sense to plan for next spring by taking advantage of the savings now.
Read on to find easy ways to add water to your garden.
Add A Bird Bath
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The simplest way to put water into the garden is with a bird bath. No pump or electricity required…just fill it with the hose!
I like my blue ceramic bath for its gorgeous jolt of color and its ease of cleaning. Birds like fresh water to bathe in and to drink so the water needs to be changed regularly.
Positioning it close to bushes that provide some cover makes sure that the birds will use it.
Unfortunately, the raccoons like it too and tip it over regularly (you have heard about ‘the raccoons’ before…they caused my deck makeover)! A DIY hanging bird bath is one way to get around this. They are easy to make by placing a shallow glass bowl in a wire hanging basket and filling it with water.
When a bird bath starts to leak or breaks, it is easy to transform into a planter. Add some plants or another container (or both as we did with this one) and it becomes its own focal point.
Purchase a Ready-Made Fountain
The easiest way to add running water is to purchase a fountain that is already assembled with the pump. Some basic assembly may be required to join the pump by a hose to the water outlet.
These are available in many different styles and materials from cement, composite, ceramic, and metal. They can be traditional or contemporary so there is lots of opportunity to satisfy your individual preferences.
My tiered metal fountain, purchased from Lowe’s, is super easy in that the water comes out of the top and trickles over the sides of the top tier.
Birds love to drink or bathe in it and I like to hear the gentle splash of running water.
Of course, there are also lots of ways to make your own fountain…read on to see a few of them.
Build a Water Wall
A water wall is beautiful on a deck as a backdrop for a collection of plants in containers. The water is pumped to a conduit with holes in it at the top that allows the liquid to flow down a wall into a container.
To get the splashing sound you need to have rocks at the base of the wall. These units can be purchased ready made or you can build your own.
I used glass tiles for mine and it has held up well for many winters here in Canada.
Create a Mini Pond
An in ground feature adds lots of interest to your garden. It takes more planning and sweat equity than the others mentioned, but once it is built it is essentially maintenance free.
If you want to go all out, you can find detailed instructions on how to do this at The Family Handyman.
Or you can take the easy way out, and do what I did (much simpler):
1. Use a clay pot for the water dispenser and an old laundry tub to catch and contain the water at the base.
2. Place pond liner under the pot, down the slope and tuck it over the rim of the tub.
3. Add gravel and rocks to make the creek bed and sides. Some of the larger rocks are lava rock and are therefore light weight and easy to lift. I purchased these at Home Depot. Next year I plan to add a water plant for interest in the little pond.
It’s the perfect spot for my alligator to hang out (this garden art came from the gift shop in the Florida Everglades).
Make A Wall Sculpture Fountain
Another very simple way to introduce water is to create your own wall fountain using the following:
- outdoor wall sculpture. Lion’s heads or gargoyles are popular for this purpose.
- pump – The size of the pump you need is dependent on how far and high the water needs to be pumped. Click here to use Home Depot’s easy formula.
- hose and connector
- tub or some other vessel to catch that will catch the water
- (optional) pond liner
- (optional) river rocks
Also, don’t forget to figure out where you can plug it in.
1. If your wall sculpture does not have a hole, carefully drill one where you want the water to come out. It should be the same size as the tubing for the pump.
2. Hang the outdoor wall sculpture on a fence or wall.
3. If the tub you chose is not water proof, line the inside with pond liner. Attach it to the inside of the vessel close to the top using nails or staples. These should be high enough up that they are above the water line since they could cause leaks.
4. Attach the hose to the pump.
5. Place the pump in the bottom of the tub.
6. (Optional) Fill the tub with rocks. This hides the pump from view, and adds to the splashing sound.
7. Attach the hose to the fence and thread it through the hole in the sculpture.
8. Fill the tub with water.
9. Plug the pump in.
10. Adjust the flow from the pump to have the water running at the desired speed and volume. I set mine to a gentle trickle. The sound and volume of Niagara Falls is not relaxing!
As you have probably noticed by now, regardless of what type of running water feature you choose, they all use the same principles. So if you feel like getting creative, you can create any kind of fountain you like with the same basic steps…like this teapot fountain from hometalk.com (click here to see the instructions).
Or drill a hole in a rock and have it be the fountain.
A piece of driftwood is used as a fountain in this Japanese-inspired garden.
I hope we have inspired you to add a water feature to your garden!