Garden designer Joy Grey tells us adding a water feature of any kind will change the whole appearance and feel of your garden adding another dimension and enhancing its ambience.

Water has a sensory value and an ability to soothe and calm, plus it attracts a variety of wildlife. But with so much choice, it is helpful to understand the four basic types of water feature.


Ponds add tranquillity and attract wildlife enhancing your garden’s ecosystem. Reflecting pools are decorative, usually have formal, geometric shapes and for added beauty are often located near a decorative landscape feature which is reflected in the surface of the water. Ornamental pools are generally located near a deck or patio and designed around an ornamental piece such as a spouting statue, a vertically cascading fountain or a bell fountain. Water gardens are living water features, replete with aquatic plant life full of vibrant colours and textures. Plants, both inside and outside the perimeter of the pond create a lush natural setting. Fish can be added to almost any type of water feature. 


The sound of tumbling water combined with a refreshing mist carried by the breeze is both beautiful and refreshing.


Like fountains, waterfalls and walls add sound, motion and vitality to your water feature. They bring a vertical dimension capturing interest from a distance as they dance and flow, further enhanced by back lighting.


Streams are ideal for meandering along paths and walkways. They act as natural filters and are often designed to flow into waterfalls and cascade into a pond to help sustain the entire ecosystem of a water feature.

 There are of course important things to consider before embarking on a water feature. From a practical viewpoint, is the proposed position for your water feature within reach of power and water supplies? You’ll also need to consider exposure. Hot sun and wind can rapidly reduce water levels, meaning you’ll need to top up water levels more frequently. How often will you need to maintain and clean it, top up the water, are there overhanging trees and so on. Safety is important – should it be child-proof? A pond can have a grill over it just below the water’s surface. Consider a simple bubble fountain which children can enjoy safely. What will your water feature be made of? Options include; stone, metal, slate and wood. Think about how it will weather and blend with the rest of the garden. How much noise will it make? Bubble fountains produce only a slight noise, a water blade will produce a lot more. 

Your garden might not lend itself to a magnificent fountain in tune with Renaissance Italian gardens but the addition of a bubbling pebble pool, a trickling artificial stream or even a sunken bowl will be a rewarding and magical element!

The Grey Cottage, Goose Green, Gullane EH31 2AT
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