Water features can add interest to a garden in many ways. They can add structural interest, a sense of movement, an interesting sound, and even a sense of fun.
Some common types of water feature:
Natural Ponds, Streams and Cascades
A natural pond needs to be fairly large in order for it to look ‘natural'. Also the larger it is, the more likely that it will become ecologically balanced. It is important to use the right type of plants to encourage this balance. Having said that, any size pond can benefit wildlife, even an old washing-up bowl sunk into the ground.
Natural ponds, whatever size should have some way for wildlife to get in and out - either sloping sides, rocks and plants, or a ramp.
You can add movement by using a small fountain pump or by adding a small stream or cascade.
A swimming pond is an ecologically-balanced naturalistic pond designed for swimming - one for the larger garden.
A formal pool can either be raised above the ground or at ground level. Remember that if you want it at ground level, the soil from the cavity of the pool will need to go somewhere and may be costly to remove this from the garden. Formal pools are generally linear in nature and suit a more formal or contemporary garden. They should be chemically treated to avoid algae build up.
A rill is really a formal stream as the water runs from one place to another before re-circulating.
Sculptural Water Features
There is a wide range of water features on the market from sandstone spheres to metal cubes where water circulates around a closed system with a thin film of water cascading over the side of a sculptural object onto a pebble surround and into a reservoir below.
These are safer for children than open bodies of water and can offer a relaxing sound as the water trickles over the feature.