Whether you are looking for a wall water feature, a DIY birdbath or to make your own fountain, you’ll find lots of inspiration for easy and inexpensive water feature ideas for your garden.
Our gardens have a calming, restful feeling 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 to create that relaxing vibe.
Read on to find easy water feature ideas to add to your garden.
Add a bird bath
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The simplest way to add a water feature to your 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.
Placing the bird bath close to bushes that provide some cover makes sure the birds will use it.
Unfortunately, the raccoons like it too and tip it over regularly!
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.
Or fill a pie pan with water and place it somewhere that the cats can’t get to.
A rock in the middle helps to weigh it down and gives the birds a place to perch.
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.
Finally, add some landscape lighting to make sure your bird bath stands out at night.
Build a water feature wall
A water feature 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.
DIY waterfall feature
An in-ground water 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 a low-maintenance option.
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 (which is much simpler).
In my mini waterfall, the water runs from the clay pot at the back through the rocks into the small pond.
Make a wall sculpture fountain
Another very simple way to introduce water is to create your own wall fountain.
Made from a wall sculpture, a galvanized tub and a pump, they’re inexpnsive, easy to install and don’t take up a lot of space.
Perfect for a small garden, deck or patio!
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.
Running the water down a piece of driftwood is another way to create a fountain, like the one in this Japanese-inspired garden.
Install a ready-made fountain
Of course, if you don’t want the work of a DIY project, the easiest way to add running water to your garden 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, but it’s only a few minutes of setup.
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.
This tiered metal fountain is one of my favorites.
Birds love to drink or bathe in it and I like to hear the gentle splash of running water.
I hope you have found some water feature ideas you can use in your garden!
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Have comments or questions on our water feature ideas? Tell us in the section below.
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This post was originally published on September 29, 2016 but was updated with new content on September 15, 2022.