Splish splash - our favourite water features
One of the biggest ways to create atmosphere and added dimension to a garden is with water. Indeed, water plays an important part in the ancient art of Feng Shui and you won't go far wrong with a flowing fountain in front of your home.
This will activate and keep positive energy (chi) and allow it to enter your home, as well as looking stylish and enhancing your entrance. Water, whether still or trickling, will also introduce a feeling of tranquility and relaxation into your home or garden.
One practical option for busy professionals with restricted time and space is a mini tabletop water garden in a ceramic bowl or pot. This is a simple but highly effective way of introducing water as a feature and is ideal for use in a conservatory or on a balcony or deck. A tabletop water garden may be small but it will reflect light and, with the correct planting, is a great way to attract wildlife. Use any container that is suitable for holding water and choose suitable aquatic plants such as miniature water lilies.
Style with flexibility
The next step up could be a self contained water feature, with the emphasis on design and simplicity of use. There is a huge choice of styles and materials to choose from, including metal, ceramic, concrete, porcelain, rock or stone, wood and resin. A mini circular fountain on a pedestal is a versatile design that will look good pretty much in any setting, while a bubble or jet fountain, set within a ceramic container, urn, globe or sculpture, is a popular option, particularly if you have small children around.
Alternatively, if you want a more natural look, then pick a rustic log or a natural stone cascade with a surrounding bed of pebbles. Plant around them appropriately with ferns, forget-me-nots or hostas, as well as species that are particularly attractive to wildlife, such as borage, phlox or Sweet William. A stone birdbath without any gadgetry will serve equally well as a charming centrepiece.
Cascades and waterfalls are a natural progression from a bubble fountain, bringing drama and movement to a garden. A contemporary stainless steel wall with continuous sheets of water produces a stunning effect, yet will still fit into a restricted space. Wall mounted spouts will also provide impact and are ideal for courtyards or terraces.
Finally, you can't beat an attractive pond - even on the dullest day it will fill your garden with light. You can choose from in-ground or standalone designs and if you don't want the hassle of creating your own shape, go for a pre-formed liner made from plastic or fibreglass. Square, rectangular or circular shapes suit formal gardens, while irregular or kidney-shapes work well within informal settings.
1. A contemporary stainless steel wall with eyecatching continually flowing sheets of water, www.bonhamandbonham.com
2. This woodland log water feature is ideal for a garden, patio or even conservatory, as it is completely self contained, Charles Bentley Natural Woodland water feature, £99.99, BuyDirect4U.co.uk
3. A simple circular lily pond will look stunning and provide a tranquil focal point for relaxation
4. Wall fountains or water spouts, often featuring lion heads or mythical grinning masks, are ideal for small courtyards or patios, Grotesque wall fountain, £119, www.haddonstone.com
5. This elegant water bowl is built from ultra high performance concrete to withstand extreme temperatures, Water Bowl Scupper 26" with basin, www.solusdecor.com