Enhance Your Backyard Enjoyment: Just Add Water


Installing a water feature in your backyard is a great way to create instant aesthetic value to any setting. Options abound for the do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner. Selecting the right water feature for your budget, skill level and commitment to maintenance, can leave many people uncertain about the best choice.


Novice DIY-ers may be well served by visiting a “big box” hardware store and pulling a one-size-fits-all system off the shelf. But for the homeowner who wants to make sure the end result is customized for their yard, visiting a water feature or irrigation supply store is the best way to ensure you get expert advice from an experienced landscape industry professional.


Options Abound

With the wide variety of water features available, there is something for nearly any budget and skill level. Common types of water features include reflection ponds, streams, fountains, Koi ponds and formal water gardens. Pondless water features are also among the most popular as they work well for budget conscious homeowners.


The style selected by a homeowner should complement the look and feel of your existing yard. A yard with a formal English garden, for example, would benefit from a formal looking water feature that includes a fountain. However, a free-flowing landscape would be better served by a natural looking, irregular shaped pond or waterfall.


Key Decisions: “Pay Now or Pay Later”

Just like when you bought your home, proper location of your water feature is critical. The best location is one with an absence of overhanging deciduous trees that will drop leaves into the water, resulting in a clogged pump and a generally less attractive waterscape.  Avoid direct sunlight because it will result in more evaporation and algae growth than a shadier site.


Other considerations may be proximity to an outdoor seating area that would benefit from the sights and sounds of moving water, or tying the water feature into an existing element such as a swimming pool. And naturally, the size of the water feature will directly impact the cost.


Maintenance is another important decision. While some water features are virtually maintenance free, others require time and effort to keep them looking beautiful.


Building the feature right the first time is the biggest factor in keeping maintenance to a minimum. You’re either going to pay now or pay later, so if you invest in quality materials including a quality liner and a good filtration system the system is going to do most of the work for you. Choosing a quality pond liner is the most crucial decision and it is something that should never be compromised.  A rubber liner gives you the most in design flexibility due to their ability to conform to nearly any shape. The cost difference between a cheap liner and a quality liner is not that significant and rarely makes or breaks a project in terms of overall cost. The liner is the building block of the entire water feature. The rock, plants, fish and everything that goes into the ecosystem you create are dependent on the quality of the liner.

Enjoy the End Result

Remember to follow these key tips for a successful water feature installation and you’ll enjoy the benefits for years to come.

  • Set a budget
  • Know your skill level
  • Keep maintenance in mind
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Install a quality liner
  • Use re-circulated water