Water Features in the Garden
A water feature can enliven a garden, providing an interesting and attractive focus for a sitting or planting area. The most common - and practical - water features are ponds, waterfalls and fountains. A pond can be anything from a cut-down barrel on a patio or terrace to an extensive mini-lake. It can be a home for frogs, newts and dragon-flies or an outdoor fish tank. Waterfalls and fountains fill the air with moisture and tranquil sound, adding extra dimensions and interest. Ponds, waterfalls and fountains can easily be constructed from ready-made kits or basic ingredients available from a local garden centre or online suppliers.
Ponds occur in nature and can be relatively permanent (except during periods of drought) or short-lived after heavy rain. Garden ponds generally are fresh rather than salt water. Around the world, animals and plants have adapted to pond living and gardeners have the choice of using entirely purchased species or allowing their ponds to be colonized naturally - at least in part.
Natural ponds can occur in natural hollows, behind blocked streams (including those where beavers have constructed dams), or in depressions where a soluble rock such as limestone has dissolved away. The gardener has to create an artificial equivalent by creating and lining a hollow or providing a container. The first decision (as with any garden feature) is where to site the pond. This decision is based on a balance of pleasure and practicality. Ask yourself the following questions:
* What position in the garden would provide the most attractive setting at all times of the day and throughout the seasons?
* Do I want to be able to see it from a window, porch or conservatory - for example, in winter or when the weather is wet/windy?
* Will it be a main feature of the garden, or a hidden surprise?
* How much sunlight would the pond receive throughout the day/year?
* If the pond has to be dug, are there any tree roots in that area?
* Is there extensive tree or shrub cover nearby that might result in leaves falling into the pond?
* Can top-up water or electricity for pumps be brought easily to that position?
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