What are the Best Tips for Building a Water Feature?

Gregory Hanson
Gregory Hanson
A streams can be lined with rock to give it a natural appearance.
A streams can be lined with rock to give it a natural appearance.

Water features vary widely in price and difficulty of installation, and a homeowner should carefully asses their budget and willingness to do or pay for upkeep before choosing one. They also require careful installation in order to avoid problems with misdirected water, plant matter buildup, or nuisance insects.

When considering building a water feature, it is a good idea to begin by evaluating how much time, effort, skill, and money are available for the project. The simplest water features are things such as free-standing fountains, which require very little upkeep and can simply be placed, filled, turned on and enjoyed. Small ponds or streams require more work and planning, but can be constructed using simple pre-cast plastic forms, which makes building a water feature of this type a fairly simple task.

Larger ponds and water gardens, especially those that will feature running water, require careful planning and a good bit of work. When building a water feature of this type, the flow and depth of water should first be planned. The hole for the water feature is then dug and should be lined carefully with gravel, fortified with a resilient undercoating, and then covered with rubberized pond material. Any pumps, filters, or skimmers will need to be positioned and connected in accordance with manufacturer’s directions and may require special channels or electrical wiring, which must be planned for from the beginning of the construction process.

While a rubber pool liner is excellent at holding water, it does not have the most natural appearance. During the process of building a water feature, natural elements can be added to enhance the visual appeal of the water feature. Streams can be lined with stone or gravel to simulate the appearance of a natural watercourse. Plants can be used to screen the edge of a pond, and floating plants can be used to add a living touch to the water.

Water features can add certain dangers and nuisances to a yard, in addition to improving its appearance. Even a properly-installed water feature may leak, and care should be taken when building a water feature to ensure that any overflow will not pose a flooding risk to nearby structures. Still water features will provide spawning ground for mosquitoes, which can turn a lovely water feature into the bane of a backyard. Using running water in a water feature, or using preventative chemical treatments or fish populations can limit this problem, but frequent cleaning of water features is always a good idea.

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    • A streams can be lined with rock to give it a natural appearance.
      A streams can be lined with rock to give it a natural appearance.