View this Exmark Original video from their Done-In-A-Weekend Projects series to discover the pros and cons of a various types of backyard water features, and how to choose which is right for you.
My wife and I decided to add an outdoor water feature to our front yard to complement a recent landscape project. We settled on a fountain style water feature and were able to install it ourselves, but we also realized that we hadn’t considered that there would be some ongoing maintenance involved to keep the fountain in good condition and operating correctly.
The term water feature is a little ambiguous, but it can be broken down into two groups: water fountains and water ponds. Both involve the use of recirculating water by means of a pump, but the complexity of each may vary greatly based on style, size and design. I thought I would share some of the information I learned while researching the ongoing maintenance involved in keeping a water feature operating efficiently.
Water fountains are self-contained and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Fountains can be large and weigh several tons or they can be very small and function as a center piece on a table, but most DIY styles of water fountains fall somewhere in the middle. From cascading waterfalls with multiple bowls to simple vase style fountains with water running down the sides, the choices are endless. The basic components involved in all fountains are a bowl or container to hold the water and a pump to cycle the water through the feature by way of plastic or rubber tubing. Other than the aesthetic look and style of a water fountain, the biggest difference between them is the volume of water circulated.
Water ponds tend to be more elaborate and require a lot more design and installation work than a water fountain. There are small ponds that compliment flower gardens and also large ponds that are designed to hold fish and cover large areas of a yard. An averaged size pond probably runs in the fifteen foot by twelve-foot range and may have a stream in the design.
The size and scale of the water pond and your personal DIY capabilities usually will dictate if you have the ability to install one yourself. You may want to consult a professional landscaper before you decide to start a big water pond project.
The soothing sound of a trickling water fountain can create a great outdoor ambiance on your patio or in your back yard. The flowing water will attract song birds and even butterflies to your landscape, but there is some basic maintenance that will go a long way in keeping the fountain both running properly and aesthetically attractive. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
As mentioned earlier, water ponds are usually more complicated to maintain than water fountains. Depending on the size and style of the water pond, they may be very elaborate and contain plants, rocks, waterfalls, flowing streams and even fish. With spring approaching, here are some maintenance suggestions for water ponds.
Pond chemical additives: There are many companies that manufacture chemicals that can be added to ponds that will boost beneficial bacteria which will help keep your pond clean. These bacteria actually “eat” the sludge and debris caused by fish food, fish waste, leaves and other organic material that falls into the pond. Adding these chemicals won’t hurt wildlife and can be done manually or through an automatic pumping device set to periodic releases.
At MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.