Water – The Sound of Nature

Water – The Sound of Nature


 Enhancing the garden with water features 

No matter how large your garden is, a water feature will always add to your enjoyment. Whether it’s a crashing natural stream lifted right from a scene in the Cascades, or a small rill flowing into a low bowl nestled on a patio, water will add delightful sound to your garden reverie.

It’s also important to consider the beneficial effects of water to provide a source for birds and other neighborhood wildlife.

Nearly every garden at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show incorporates a water feature of some kind. If you’re wondering how to add water to your garden, the garden show is the place to see all styles and shapes of water features that can fit any budget. There’s a wealth of ideas and inspiration to be found. Here’s just a few from past shows:

(Above) Garden designer Phil Wood put a formal water feature, with a whimsical blue tile fish fountain, in his Mediterranean garden built for the 2005 show.

A breath of Spring greeted show goers in 2006 with this gorgeous garden by Dreamscapes Landscape & Design, who created a pond with flowing rock pillars surrounded by blooms.

In 2007 Karen Stefonick Design tuned a simple rectangular pond into a contemporary performance art work with the addition to two perfectly placed jets of water arcing over the pond. 

Wells Nursery designed this natural stream surrounded by colorful conifers, grasses and broadleaf evergreens for their 2007 show garden. This is a garden with year round beauty.

The interesting puzzle shape of this 2008 contemporary pond by Garden Dreams Design adds to its appeal, and its simplicity could easily be replicated by a homeowner.

Even if you only have a small patio, adding a water fountain in a handsome ceramic container helps to mask the noise of streets and neighbors, as shown by this 2009 garden by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD).

Looking like a scene outside Leavenworth, the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA) created this rustic cabin with running stream in 2009. Who needs a vacation home when your own back yard looks like this? 

Another small space idea – a vertical concrete panel, undulating water, and uplighting. All the elements you need for a dramatic focal point on a patio, as created in this award-winning garden by Karen Stefonick Design for the 2010 garden show.

In 2010 the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals (WALP) designed this water feature as a room divider, tucked into a narrow space. It had fine columns of water dripping into a long rectangular trough.

Cultivar LLC built this award-winning small-space garden (only 6 ft. x 8 ft.) that included a short rill flowing into a low bowl of recycled metal.

You’ll feel like you’re out hiking in the Olympics with a natural stream such as this, created by Kinssies Landscaping for the 2011 show. A look such as this can be scaled to any size garden.

If your garden style calls for a more formal fountain then place it outside a kitchen seating area such as this Wight’s Home & Garden display at the 2011 show.

No space? Try a simple bowl carved from a pillar of stone such as this one by Looking Glass Design for the 2012 show. Be sure to place it near a window so you can be entertained by the birds as they bathe.

Dakara Landscaping used natural river rock and a wooden bridge for their twisty stream adjacent to a patio for the 2012 show.

Washington Association of Landscape Professionals (WALP) showed an inventive way to enjoy roof runoff in their 2012 garden, by funneling the water into spouts that emptied into a river rock pond at the base of an elevated seating area.

Another simple bowl from a large granite stone — even empty it’s a focal point outside a window. Designed by Native Root Designs and the Washington State Nursery & Landscape Association (WSNLA).

The Pond Store and Creative Gardener Design built this natural waterfall and Koi pond in an old ‘ruin’ garden, with wooden decks and large stepping stones to allow access to the other side.

These gardens show that you don’t need a lot of space to bring the sound of water to your garden, whether you want a subtle drip or a roaring waterfall, or something in between. For more inspiration, bring your camera and notebook to the 2013 show, to be held February 20 – 24 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. Early Bird Tickets are on sale now, but don’t wait – prices go up after February 20! ~ Janet

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