Designing and Installing a Water Feature

Does the sound of flowing water relax you and lull you to sleep?

Have you ever wanted to enjoy the view of a waterfall in your own backyard without having to drive far to find one?

While it might not surprise you that the sound of water can have a soothing effect on people (there are many studies that attest to this), it might be quite unrealistic to drive to the beach, lake or forest to find a waterfall after a long day of work (especially if you have dinner to cook, kids to help with homework or a side hustle to tend to).

And yet, nature provides a sense of serenity, calmness and peace: something we all crave to enjoy after a long day.

Which is why we have good news for you!

Designing and installing a water feature isn’t nearly as hard as you might think, so you can easily install a waterfall in your garden and relax to its soothing sound and view.

All it takes is following a few simple steps and voila! You’ll have a beautiful and serene space with a water feature to help you relax, all in the comfort of your backyard.

Ready to learn how?

Let’s dive in!

Choose your location

As with any renovation or construction project, the first course of action is to choose the best location. This is as important for structural and general engineering purposes as it is for the aesthetic design. For example, do you want to see the water feature from your window, hear it from every room in the house, or just enjoy it when you’re outdoors? As well as the following, there are many other things to consider before you commit to building your water feature in any random location. To help you get started right, we’ve compiled this checklist of things to consider:

  • Foundation: As with any infrastructure, a strong foundation will determine if it will stand the test of time. So (before building your water feature) ensure that your chosen location is strong enough to sustain it. It’s also important to consider if you can you easily dig into or excavate the area. If your preferred spot isn’t conducive for digging with an excavator, fear not. You can build an aboveground water feature instead.
  • Typography: The importance of typography (the slope of the land) will reflect the most recommended water feature to install. For instance, if you want a flowing stream, you’ll need to install it on a slopping location. If you want an above ground fountain, a flat surface is best. And if you would rather a fast-moving waterfall than a slow-moving stream, it’s important to consider the grade of the slope as one requires a stepper slope than the other.
  • Size: Once you’ve established the right foundation and appropriate typography for the water feature, it’s time to decide the size. You want your water feature to be big enough to fit into the chosen space comfortably and not look too awkward or clunky when compared to the rest of the garden aesthetics.
  • The pump: All water features require a pump to be able to run the water. For a pump to work, it needs to be located near an electrical source. If you don’t have near the chosen location, you can hire an electrician to install a conduit underground. Whichever you choose is an important consideration for your water feature’s location.
  • Refill: Sometimes (especially in hot summer months), your water feature will need a top up because water can evaporate. Installing your water feature near a hose will simplify this process. Alternatively, if your chosen location for the water feature suits all the other considerations except being near a hose, you can purchase an extended hose for those times when the water will need a refill.

Decide on the materials

Once you’ve decided the location for your water feature, it’s time to choose the materials. The beauty of water features is that they can be made from a variety of materials such as natural stone, boulders, pebbles, flat stones or gravel. Since it’s a water feature  you’ll also need to build a waterproofing membrane, pump and possibly some silicone to enforce the infrastructure’s foundation and make it strong.

When choosing the pump, get one that is suitable for the size of your water feature. Ensure that it has enough power to get the water to the top of the feature and if you’re unsure, opt for a bigger size.

Prepare the area and the feature

Now that you’ve decided the best location and invested in all the materials, you can start preparing the area to build the water feature. This may involve moving some things like existing stones or pavers or (if you’ve decided you want your feature in the middle of the garden) digging a hole for both the feature and the pump.

Generally, the pump needs to be placed inside a sump which filters the water and keeps the levels consistent. We recommend that the sump is completely level with the surface so that the pump can work as effectively as possible.

We briefly mentioned in the first point that if your water feature doesn’t have an energy supply nearby, you may need to hire an electrician to bury the conduit in the ground. While they’re at it, you might also wish the electrician to install an additional powerpoint, especially if there is no power supply near the water feature.

Finally, if your water feature includes pots and other containers, we recommend waterproofing them. This is where the waterproofing membrane is useful. We recommend applying a couple of coats to the inside of the pot and waiting a few hours between each application for best results.

Set it up

When it comes to setting everything up to be fully functioning, if your water feature is a pre-prepared pot, you’re pretty much ready to go! All you need to do is connect the pump to the pot and you’re set. However, if you’re building your feature from scratch, you’ll need to put your design hat on and get creative.

For example, if you want the feature to resemble a natural landscape, the first step is to fill it with rocks and pebbles. If you’re building a stream, place some boulders, pebbles and flat rocks around to help the water flow effectively. The larger boulders act as side barriers, while the smaller ones are typically used to guide the water. Additionally, add some gravel into any exposed areas.

Next, it’s important that the area is thoroughly cleaned. Spray the rocks and gravel with your hose and run the pump at the same time to filter the water and continue running the hose until the water runs clear.

Finally (and this is probably the fun part), consider adding colour or life to your water feature design by planting flowers or shrubs to give the area some life. Or you could add a few fish into the stream (so long as the water is deep enough for them). Just remember to feed them regularly as well.

Invest in your outdoor area with Armstone

There you have it!

Follow these simple steps to the T and you’ll have yourself a beautiful and relaxing water feature to enjoy in your backyard.

And if you need any help with bringing your idea to life, reach out to our team of natural stone experts at Armstone online or at 1300 560 560. We can help you choose the most appropriate polished pebbles, natural stone tiles and pavers and wall cladding for your water feature project.

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