Sunday, April 23, 2006

Waterfalls and Ponds

By Christina VanGinkel

If you have strived to make your garden, a peaceful, serene spot to sit and wile away the stress, but something is missing and you just cannot put your finger on it, maybe it is a water feature such as a pond or waterfall. Both of these can be excellent additions to a garden space that does double duty as a natural stress reliever.


If you happen to live in town or near a busy street, a fountain not only provides a natural spot of beauty, it can also camouflage the noise surrounding your garden. A bubbly sounding waterfall or even a rhythmic flowing one can mask the noise of cars and neighborhood kids. If you have a large yard and garden area, it may be necessary to put in more than one, especially if you have several seating areas in the space. Be sure to take the size and the layout of the space into consideration, along with the normal level of noise when deciding on a waterfall(s). Garden centers often have a good selection of outdoor waterfalls, as do home supply centers such as a Home Depot or a Lowes Home Improvement Centers. Besides camouflaging the noise around a space, a fountain is a good way to add visual effect to a garden. I have seen ones made specifically for a garden space that were made of copper that would age to a beautiful patina over time, stainless steel for a utilitarian feel, and one made of stone that very much resembled the rounded rocks one would find in a stream. I have also seen ones made of slate, glass, sandstone, ceramic, and even ones made to resemble a natural stream, so wide ranging of styles, that no matter your personal preference, chances are you will be able to find a waterfall that fits both your needs and your style.


Depending on the size of your garden, a pond could be a small, artificial one made of resin, or of plastic liners in a hand-dug hole. However, it could also be a manmade pond dug with heavy equipment of a size that you could potentially plant fish in that you could fish for if you so desired, or large enough that migratory ducks, geese, and other animal life take up residence on a part to full time basis. Ponds come in just about any size or shape you could imagine, and while a large one may need a source of natural water, if you have the space, you can put one in just about anyplace you desire.

If designed and placed well, both large and small ponds can be ideal places to expand your plantings to include water based ones. Small ponds can also become home to species such as Koi fish.

One of my favorite gardens that I have ever been in was not overly large, and actually combined a small, hand-dug pond that the owner lined her self with a plastic lining made for pond linings, along with a waterfall that she places in the center of the pond. She stocks the small pond each spring with her koi, and bought every book she could find on plants suitable for thriving along the shore of a pond. Her house and garden are smack dab in the middle of a busy residential area, with a somewhat busy street on the one side. Yet, when you walk through her garden gate and approach the pond and waterfall, it is such a serene spot that you can literally forget where you are at! The sound of the waterfall masks the surrounding noises, and the peacefulness of the plants and pond combined is enough to make you forget that you are in the middle of a busy neighborhood.

If your garden or yard is lacking that something special, that one thing that makes you able to enjoy your space to its fullest potential, it might just be missing a water feature such as a pond or waterfall. Be sure to consider the options of one or the other, or tackle it head on, as my friend did and employ both for your own little piece of paradise in your very own garden hideaway.

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