Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Simple Ways to Add Water to the Garden

I once thought having a water feature in my garden would require a major investment of time and money, as well as a lot of space. I was wrong. When I finally added a small pool to my city garden, I opened the door to an enchanting world that delighted my senses and enriched the garden’s design. Like a mirror, the glassy surface of a still pool reflects the blue sky and shifting patterns of clouds. Water ripples with the slightest breeze and sparkles in sunlight. The sound of moving water is always soothing; it is especially refreshing on a hot day.

No garden is too small for water. You don’t need to install a pond; any water-tight vessel can be transformed into a water garden. Appealing options include kettles, urns, glazed pots, and stone troughs. Millstones make attractive fountains, and there are many distinctive carved-stone and concrete fountains and basins, available from art galleries, specialty garden shops, architectural salvage centers, and even antiques shops.

Another benefit of water gardening is that wildlife flocks to water like obsessed gardeners to a rare-plant sale. Dragonflies dart through the garden on gossamer wings, and frogs lull you to sleep with their curious serenade.

Use your water feature as a focal point in a garden bed, or at the end of a vista. Place a basin where you can view it from a window, surrounded with contrasting plant forms. Try a simple reservoir of still water or add a bubbler for sound and motion. I added a small pump to my pool to mitigate the roar of traffic along the busy street that bordered my former garden.

A small pump will add the sound of flowing water. A whimsical face spurts water into a concrete basin, accented by an oak-leaf hydrangea ( Hydrangea quercifolia ).
A simple birdbath brings the light of the sky down into the garden, as colorful glass floats shift with the whims of the breeze. In contrast to the small, smooth orbs, the huge crinkled leaves of ornamental rhubarb ( Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum ) add focus to this scene in the center of a circular garden room.

You can also float glass balls on the water’s surface to create moving sculpture and dancing reflections. Water features are magical, whether you choose a simple birdbath, a still reflecting pool, or an ornate fountain.

View Comments


  1. WallStreetGreed 06/27/2014

    Is that a live alligator in the rectangular pond photo??? O_O

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 37%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."


View All