Hardscaping & Landscaping Blog

Archive for May, 2012

Why Wait to Have a Water Feature?

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

 

Often when people are asked to name their favorite places to vacation or visit their answers  revolve around one thing: water. Be it an ocean or lake, or even just a small pond, people love being near water, and with good reason.  While water is a naturally occurring resource that we depend upon, it is also one that people have come to appreciate for other purposes. Water is no longer simply a necessity to sustain life, but a way to enjoy it as well. One of the many ways people now enjoy water is through the use of water features.  Water features bestow a natural elegance to any property, allowing homeowners the chance to indulge in a space  that is as beautiful as it is relaxing. They become like a mini vacation, only at home.

A water feature can be anything from a small bubbling fountain to a water fall and even an entire ecosystem pond.  There are water features to fit nearly any budget, making them a wonderful way to enhance your home. The following are different types of water features to consider when looking for ways to make your home stand out from the rest:

Fountainscapes:  Fountainscapes are the perfect way to ease into the use of water features around your property, and standalone fountains are perhaps the simplest way to test out your interest. They are exactly what they sound like, easy to use and install fountains that can be found at any home goods supplier. They require little maintenance and usually nothing more than added water. If, however, you are looking for something a little more natural-looking, try out a container water garden.   Container water gardens, as their name suggests, are any water-proof container in which you can hold aquatic plants and/ or fish.  Planting such a garden gives homeowners a chance to see what goes into making a fountainscape while exposing them to new plant species and decorative concepts. Bubbling urns and spitters are two final fountainscapes to keep in mind. These are typically larger water features that sit atop a reservoir from which water continuously bubbles or spits up through an urn or fountain.

Ponds:  Ponds are another attractive choice when looking to upgrade your yard into a beautiful oasis. They are also surprisingly low-maintenance. Provided all the elements required to sustain an ecosystem are in place it will essentially take care of itself.  Necessary components include circulation and filtration systems, fish, aquatic plants, and rocks, gravel, and bacteria. The circulation system introduces oxygen into the water while causing the water to flow, thereby creating the calming sound of running water. The filtration system is actually two-part. There is the mechanical filter that most people are familiar with. It skims debris from the water and helps to keep the pond clear. In addition to the mechanical filter is what is called a biological filter. This type of filtration works by using the aforementioned gravel to create a surface on which beneficial bacteria can grow to remove excess nutrients from the water. This is also where the fish come into play. Rather than becoming the nuisance that they may seem, fish actually feed from the pond floor and on any string algae that grows.  Similar to the fish, aquatic plants thrive on the excess nutrients within the pond. Additionally, they provide another chance to customize your water feature. There are all sorts of aquatic plants to choose from, and how you arrange them in your pond will add your own unique touches to the color and lushness of your pond.

Waterfalls: A waterfall is an impressive water feature that many homeowners justifiably favor. They create a beautiful landscape, and with so many plants and rocks to choose from, they can be customized to fit your needs exactly. Waterfalls can even be made without a pond.  This is a particularly nice option for families with young children. Instead of the water falling into a pond it circulates down into a covered reservoir and back up to the top of the fall, much like a more expansive version of the bubbling urns mentioned above. With a pondless waterfall families can enjoy the natural wonder of a waterfall at home without any of the safety risks. Pondless waterfalls also tend to be less expensive, which is a plus for any family in today’s economy.  This flexibility is what makes waterfalls the perfect fit to any home.

There are a myriad of practical benefits to installing a water feature on your property. As everyone is aware, homes near the water are coveted properties and as such are in high demand. This means that they are worth more and hold a greater value. Instead of moving to a pricey new location, you can compromise and improve your own property value by installing a water feature. Water features are aesthetically pleasing and make for an attractive gathering place. They naturally draw people in, making them a spectacular background to host events for family and friends. You may even attract some local wildlife. Furthermore, the sound of water has long been used for its calming effect.  It has been proven to relax the body and mind, and even lower blood pressure.

Certainly with any of the above choices you could create a mini oasis, a place to get away from it all. That is the really enticing aspect of a water feature. It’s the knowledge that no matter how stressful life becomes you can always have a place of your very own to forget about it all for a while. Imagine coming home from a tough day at work. Instead of running around and taking care of chores, further straining your nerves, you could take a few minutes to go outside and relax. Meditate on the sound of a burbling  stream, letting it drown out the noise in your life, giving yourself a place to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the wild flowers. Above all else, owning a water feature makes it possible to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.