water in the garden outdoors

Use of Water in your Outdoor Space

Using water in your garden design will add another element of interest to your garden, it's an investment that you may well thank yourself for later.

As humans we have an inbuilt affinity to water. Aside from the physiological connections we have with water, we bear a psychological and aesthetic attraction to the media. As an element in an open space, it brings many benefits and can be used in multiple ways within the landscape.  

The following are some considerations when planning a water feature as an element of your landscape layout.

Audible benefits

We find ourselves attracted to the coast, to lakes and water-bodies as places to relax and recuperate. Think of the many references to the term ‘water lapping against the shore’ and the soothing audio effects that water can have on both body and mind. Depending on the design of your water feature, various water ‘noise’ can be achieved. This can be beneficial in several ways. Obviously the sound of running or falling water is in itself is pleasant, but it can also be very useful for distracting from other ambient noise such as local traffic or perhaps even that neighbour’s irritable dog!

Visual benefits – movement and flow

Water as a medium is visually very attractive. Consider its properties and how it responds to its surroundings. It ripples and moves in the wind, looks fascinating when falling, splashing or simply just still and reflecting! A sense of calm can be achieved by calm water displays, while dramatic effects can be created with faster flowing water. 

Reflection and light

A carefully located water body will reflect the light and sky, introducing a mirror-like effect in your open space. This use of the feature can be used to great effect in a north facing garden which suffers from a lack of direct light. A water feature can be turned into a dramatic element of the dark hours if they are subtly lit. Refer to an electrician for advice on waterproof submersible lights, not something for the DIY enthusiast! 

Healing and mediation benefits

Water has long been long associated with healing and meditation benefits. Water and planting are two items that are actively incorporated into the design of therapeutic gardens. In the Buddhist tradition, water is a symbol for serenity, purity, and clarity of thought. Why not achieve some of that clarity in your own back garden? 

Safety considerations

Safety considerations should be in place particularly where children are concerned. Water depth and barriers to the water should be well thought-out and implemented appropriately. 

Maintenance considerations

A water purification or a filtration system is well worth implementing. Location of the water feature and its planted surroundings will often determine the amount of maintenance that a feature will need. Leaves and moss are two items that will need looking after, so be warned that this is not an entirely labour-less installation.

Ecological benefits

A water feature can be a living feature harbouring an entire ecosystem of fish, frogs, insects and small birds. It can also double as a water attenuation system, a feature which should be designed in consultation with an engineer and landscape architect.

 If you need any advice when planning out your garden space, can call to our garden centre in Cork or call us on 021 4888134.