Water features have long been a popular feature in landscapes but they have crossed over and now have become an essential element.  What happens when a trend becomes mainstream (pun intended)?

An American Society of Landscape Architects Survey cited 84% of architects will use some form of water in their designs and 86% say they will increase their use of water in the landscape.

The reason for this popularity is water’s versatility.  There are infinite ways to incorporate it in your landscape:

1. Waterfalls and Ponds

It’s amazing how a project of this scale and change the entire feel of a property.  It not only transports you to a different place but it completely improves the local environment.  It provides a refuge for all of the local birds, pollinators, amphibians, Dragon Flies, migratory birds and native aquatic life.  They are an oasis in the middle of the urban desert for the owner and the local wildlife.

2. Reflecting pools and pondless waterfalls

While still providing the natural benefits of their larger cousins, these features can be scaled down to fit into most landscapes.  The resulting maintenance reduction is another benefit.  Start ‘em up and shut ‘em down is all you have to do (if you install an automatic re-fill system).

3. Bubbling Rocks and Fountains

These features will give you the sight and sound of water but subtly is the name of this game.  I subscribe to the Olmsted school of thought that says nothing in the landscape should stand too far above its neighbors.  The rocks are more for the natural garden and the fountain for the formal.

4. Water Walls and Rills

This is the trend-setting category.  Two-story water walls are the best example but that concept can be scaled down to fit into a small but highly visible space for smaller budgets.  My favorite right now is a water course filled with pebbles on the sides and in between a stepper walkway.  It gives you the feel of walking on water.

And of course you can capture your rainwater and re-use it for the water features for even more sustainable benefits.  But in the end, it’s the mental health benefits which water provides that make adding it to your garden such an appealing prospect.