Outdoor Water Features

Fountains and more!

They say there are three things for which you can watch forever: fire burning, water flowing and shining starry sky. Why not to add one of those relaxing things to your front or backyard? Transblue offer many different styles of fountains and other water features, so you can get what you really want for your dream landscape design!  

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Fountain

There are many variations of water features that you can have in your house. Lets talk about some of them.

Fountains

One of the most common water feature is a fountain, so we will starts with that.

Variety of decorative fountains is humongous, so let's begin with the fountain styles

Fountain styles

Wall fountains: a good choice for a small garden or a backyard, because they require less space.  Built in or freestanding, this type of fountains has a slim profile.


Trough fountains: design of these fountains got its inspiration in barnyard. These fountains are fairy simple in style and shape, so it can easily fit in any backyard décor.

Floating fountains: this type of the fountain is a good choice if you have a pond or some other waterbody on your property. This fountain looks like a spray of water that emerges from a nozzle in the middle of waterbody, which can give some “magical” sense.

Courtyard fountains: usually they require a bigger space to be installed. Those fountains are freestanding, usually have symmetrical shape, with multiple tiers and self-circulating pump system.

Waterfall fountains: are great choice for rock gardens or on a slope. In this case waterfall fountains work with power of gravity, which move water from higher lo lower basins and then get recirculated by a pump

What else do you need to know about fountains? Quite few things:

 

What is a source of power?

Two most popular power options are being hardwired and solar powered. If you live in a warm state with a lot of sun solar powered option can be your best bet. In most areas you must hire a licensed electrician to install a hardwired outdoor fountain or/and get a permit to do so, since it is considered as an addition to your home’s electric grid.

Source of water

Most outdoor fountains are connected to a home’s water supply, so unless you shut down the water, they won’t go dry. One more option is smaller fountains that can be filled using a water hose, without a permanent connection. These fountains will use a pump to re-circulate water on a continuous basis. These fountains have to be checked periodically to make sure that they have sufficient amount of water.

Different finishes

The finish is an important step, because finish of the fountain makes a big difference in the way the fountain looks and also care it needs. Stone fountains look more natural and blends up with surrounding easier. On the other hand, bronze or copper fountains provide a contrast to outdoor settings. However, bronze or copper require a little more care, than stone.

Lighting options  

You can include some lighting to your fountain, so it can be seen and enjoyed even during the evenings (and nights). Some fountains have lighting included, but you also can place lights around the fountain. Lights don’t have to be white though. Amber lights are considered to be soothing, while multicolored lights provide fun environment.

Complementary décor

Fountain is a great and beautiful addition to your outdoor space; however, many people like to add even more to that and “dress up” the area around the fountain. A paver path, patio, benches and plants – these are some common option.

Water efficiency

You need to check with your local laws to see if there are any restrictions for a water usage. In any case, re-circulating pump helps to save water.

Cleaning a fountain

All water features need to be cleaned time to time and fountains are no exception. Even if your fountain has a cleaning cycle, you still should drain the fountain and wipe it down. The best practice is to follow manufacturer guidelines for cleaning the fountain. That way you will keep your fountain in tip-top shape.

Winter care

People who are in locations that experience freezing temperatures during the winter months will need to care for their fountain to prevent cracking when the water freezes. Fountains should be drained before the first deep freeze. If fountain is connected to the home’s water supply, then shutoff valve needs to be installed, so water can be turned off to prevent frozen pipes.

Ponds

One of the amazing water features for your backyard is a pond.

One of the most important thing is the location of the pond. Of course, it needs to be location where you can enjoy your pond: see it from the house, be able to sit next to it in a hot summer day. It shouldn’t be far from the house, deck or your patio, so you can watch the fish in it. However, you need to avoid the low-lying stops by any cost, which gather water naturally, even if it is convenient. Extra water can create nutrients that cause “explosion” of algae, which can harm fishes and look of your pond in general.

When designing a pond, you want to create a pond that looks natural, like it has existed there. Use natural flowing lines and rocks of various size. What you have to think about is designing the edges. Ring of the same sized rocks around the pond, surrounded by the grass is won’t look natural. Instead, try plants to transition the pond’s edge into the rest of your landscape and incorporate a variety of different rocks. The best ratio for rock size is 1:2:1 (1 small, 2 medium, 1 large). To maximize enjoyment from your pond, you need to include interactive areas along the edges, so you can dangle your feet and feed the fish. For that, consider adding a large, flat stone (-s) at the pond edge, where you can sit. If you have pets, they will love this place too!

Plants help to provide a natural transition from water to the landscape. Any aquatic plants make it look more natural and play critical role in keeping your pond “healthy”. In the pond itself you can plant beautiful waterlilies or add some water lettuce. It is not only pretty, but provides shade for your fishes.

You should consider steps or levels in your pond. There are very important reasons for it: safety – ledges allow easy access in and out of the pond for maintenance, and also stability. Terracing is much more stable and reduces the risk of the walls collapsing into the pond. Steps create areas for aquatic plants. Check plant tags for depth of planting in the pond and create interest on the pond’s bottom as well as giving it a more naturalistic appearance. Finally, steps create a more efficient utilization of materials and installation practices because it’s easier to build a series of small walls as opposed to one large wall.

Now, lets talk about filtration. Ponds need a skimmer to remove debris, so you need to make sure that there is enough room to place it in. This will keep your water clean and it won’t become a “swamp”. If you want to have a waterfall, place your skimmer to the opposite side of the pond.

Speaking of waterfalls… they can be short, tall, long or stream-like. Waterfalls and streams are highly versatile and create soothing sounds of the running water. When designing a waterfall, the main thing to look for is elevation, because it can work against you. Elevation working for you will have the slope coming towards the viewing the viewing area, such as patio, or deck. Of course, you can simply carve out the hillside to create a natural area for a watercourse.

Birds Baths

One more water feature you can consider adding to your yard is a birdbath. It is usually much smaller than fountain and does not require as much planning and costs less.


Setting up

The best place for the birdbath is in a shade, so the water can stay cooler and fresher. It is a good practice to arrange stones in the water, so birds can stand on them and drink without getting wet. Water should not be deeper than 1 inch at the edges and 2-3 inches in the middle.

The best way to make your birdbath attractive to birds is to provide dripping water. Many birds find it irresistible. You can buy a dripper or make your own with a plastic container.

Types of Birdbath

Possibilities are almost limitless – material, shape, size and all have own advantages and disadvantages. For example, concrete baths are very popular. They look more natural and blend with landscape nicely. Birds like concrete baths because of their rough surface and stability. These baths cots more than plastic though and are heavier.

Plastic bowls placed in iron-rod (or wood) are lightweighted, hence easily moved and cleaned. However, these bowls usually have step slopes and slippery surface, which is not very comfortable for birds. Plastic also is more fragile, than concrete.

Ceramic birdbaths can be very ornamental and pretty, but glazed ceramic is extremely slippery, which will make it hard for birds to sit on.

Hanging birdbath sometimes are easier to place, but water spills from them easily, especially on a windy day.

Ground-level birdbaths or dipping pools are the most attractive for the birds. They can be made larger than regular birdbaths and attract other wildlife, such as treefrogs. However, because they are ground level, they may put birds at greater danger from local cats. To protect birds, make sure to place your birdbath in a wide-open area, so birds have a better chance to detect a predator.

Winter birdbath – birds need bath all year long, even during the winter. Fortunately keeping yours ice free in winter is not as critical as many people believe. Birds have several physiological mechanisms for conserving water and can usually get plenty from snow or dripping icicles. If you are true bird-lover and want to provide ice-free birdbath, you can get one with built-in, thermostatically controlled heaters. Immersion heaters are also available at most places bird feeders are sold.

Maintaining Your Birdbath

Change the water every two days or so, to provide safe drinking and bathing place for the birds. While bathing they will leave some feathers and droppings, which makes the bath unsanitary for other birds. This also makes algae to grow much faster. In addition to that mosquitoes like to lay their egg in the still water, and you don’t want the eggs to hatch.  Don’t worry though, there are safe chemicals that can be added to a bird bath to keep it cleaner and make regular cleaning easier.