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Top 5 Backyard Water Features

Going grand is great, but a small fountain can make just as much of an impact. See more famous garden pictures.
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There's nothing like being near water to relax the body and ease the mind. But what happens when you're landlocked, many miles away from the nearest lake or ocean? A backyard water feature may be just the thing you and your garden need.And if you don't have a backyard at all, that's OK, too. These can be featured just as easily on a small patio, deck or shared courtyard space.

Water features add life to any backyard area -- literally. Butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies and many more birds and insects are drawn to moving water, creating a learning garden as well as a focal point in your landscape. They're also great breeding grounds for plant life, a place where you can introduce any manner of colors and textures through flowers and leaves and stems. Here are five great ideas for creating water features on a small scale.

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Fountains come in all sizes and shapes and are an optimal small water feature for your backyard. The soothing rhythm of falling water can quickly turn any outdoor area into a Zen retreat. You can convert just about any garden statue or pot into a fountain with a circulating pump, a spout and some sort of basin to catch the water. For an Asian influence, use a bamboo spout with a copper basin, or for a gothic touch, send the water out of the opening of a cement gargoyle's mouth.

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A water wall creates a stunning focal point for any backyard. But, you wonder, isn't it large and expensive? Fortunately, a simple version is well within your realm and can be accomplished on a small scale and with a reasonable budget. All it really requires is the wall, which can be made of materials like slate or a framed sheet of glass, a pump and a basin that's visually balanced to the size of the wall and large enough to hold all of the water that flows down the wall.

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Who wouldn't love to have the roar of a waterfall within earshot while enjoying a cocktail on their back lawn at sunset? While the roaring falls may not be realistic, there is a way to do falling water on a small scale. Waterfalls require ponds to catch the flow, but a disappearing waterfall only requires an underground reservoir big enough to keep the pump below water. Cover the top with rocks, and enjoy your falls without the pond maintenance.

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There is no limit to the variety of colors you can incorporate into your backyard space.
There is no limit to the variety of colors you can incorporate into your backyard space.
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There are a number of stunning plants that thrive in bog-like conditions, so a water garden is a great way to bring them into your landscape. Water gardens can get pretty large in scope, but if you're looking for an easy project with a small footprint, you can buy an above-ground pond kit that you can assemble yourself. Add a few ground layers for plants with different root lengths, and then stock up with beautiful flowering plants like irises and structurally striking plants like horsetail. And don't forget the water lilies, with their gorgeous lotus flowers. You also can customize your water garden depending on how much maintenance you want to put into it. Don't have much of a green thumb? No problem. You can get plants that you don't have to pay much attention to. On the other hand, if you have all the time in the world to play in the dirt, then you can get a little more adventurous and exotic with your plant choices.

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The premise of a bubbler is that the water bubbles out of the pump and flows back down into the basin to be recirculated. Because the water doesn't flow like a typical fountain, there's no need for a spout or a second basin. You can buy an already made bubbler or turn any small garden pot into one with a pump, some rocks and some pool tubing. You can also make them small enough to be portable, so they can be easily moved around your garden.

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Sources

  • "32 inspiring garden fountains." Sunset.com, 2010. http://www.sunset.com/garden/backyard-projects/great-ideas-fountains-00400000045254/
  • "How to Make a Slate Water-Wall Feature." Hgtv.com, 2010. http://www.hgtv.com/home-improvement/how-to-make-a-slate-water-wall-feature/index.html
  • McClure, Mary Fran. "Small water features can be soothing addition to garden." Wenatcheeworld.com, June 21, 2010. http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2010/jun/21/small-water-features-can-be-soothing-addition-to/
  • "Niagara Falls." World-of-waterfalls.com, 2010. http://www.world-of-waterfalls.com/eastern-us-niagara-falls.html
  • "Planting Water Features." Hgtv.com, 2010. http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/planting-water-features/pictures/index.html
  • "Pond Plants I Water Lily Pads and Aquatic Plants Are Good For Your Water Garden." Garden-pond-filters.com, 2010.
  • Prichard, Beau. "About the Bellagio Fountains." Travels.com, 2010. http://www.travels.com/destinations/usa/the-bellagio-fountains/
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  • "Water Features for Any Budget." Hgtv.com, 2010. http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/water-features-for-any-budget/pictures/index.html

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