Different types of water features to consider for your garden

There are countless benefits to including water in your garden design. A water feature can become a focal point, increase biodiversity and create a sense of calm and relaxation within your outdoor space.

There are many options when considering water features, especially if you are lacking space or you are not keen on the idea of a traditional pond. Here we take a look at alternative types of water feature for any garden, no matter your space, time or knowledge constraints.

Pondless waterfall

If space is tight, or you do not want the additional task of maintaining a pond, waterfalls can still be created with a simple system that re-circulate water from an in-ground reservoir. Using rocks and gravel to form a cascading waterfall, you can create a pleasing feature.

With a little creativity, pondless waterfalls can be used to form a wonderfully biodiverse area with moisture loving plants that will attract even more wildlife to your garden. By forming small pools that overflow and cascade down, you will create little areas for visitors – most notably you will find that birds will enjoy drinking and bathing among the rocks.

Alternatively, in a more contemporary space, a waterfall blade (usually in stainless steel) will create a curtain of water which can re-circulate from a sunken reservoir. This creates more sound than the gentle cascade of a waterfall over rocks, although care must be taken to set up correctly to ensure that water does not bounce away into the surrounding area as this would rapidly empty the reservoir.


Traditional fountains are synonymous with grandeur. However, modern garden fountains come in all shapes and sizes, suitable for any taste or style.

Small, modest fountains can sit subtly among your beds to create a surprising feature that satisfies the senses. Alternatively, a larger fountain is much better suited as a central focal point.

Many small fountains are self-contained, and some are solar powered, meaning they are easy to install and do not need additional plumbing. A small amount of maintenance will be needed though to ensure your fountain remains topped up and in working order. Again these can attract wildlife into your garden.

Contemporary and unique water features

If you wish to make more of a statement with your water feature, something a little more contemporary can create a stunning focal point. The UK boasts many contemporary artists, blacksmiths and sculptors who specialise in creating unique water feature pieces. A little research will help you find one suited to your taste and budget.

A modern art-piece water feature will not only draw the attention, but it can create a perfect focal point, especially when juxtaposed against a naturalistic planting. In fact, starting your garden design with a statement water feature may help to dictate the feel and design of your garden.

Oriental style water feature

Orientally inspired garden design is hugely popular across Europe, not least because of the focus on simplicity and tranquillity. Japanese Zen gardens were traditionally created by Buddhist monks to show reverence for nature with water playing a key part – although sand and gravel would be used to represent water by using a rake to create a rippling effect.

A small orientally inspired water feature, such as a bamboo fountain or serenity cascade feature, which create a subtle trickling effect, is all you need. These types of water features are best suited to minimalist, contemporary gardens that are designed to calm the mind – not overpower the senses.