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Choosing the Best Water Feature For Your Landscape

Bring the soothing sound of water to your backyard

stream with rocks

Adding a water feature to your landscape design is a unique way to invite the sights and sounds of nature to your backyard — but with so many choices available, how do you know which one is best for you?

Water is soothing and gives us refuge from our busy lives, and creating water features for our clients is something we’re especially passionate about — in fact I just became a Certified Aquascape Contractor! (more on that later…)  

But before we go to your property and start digging, it’s important to choose a water feature that suits both your vision and your landscape — so I’ve written this post to make that decision a little easier.

What do you mean when you say “water features”?

Nothing has the power to relax you and wash away the stresses of the day like listening to the sound of water as it trickles down a stream or bubbles over rocks — but the kind of water feature you choose depends on the size of your property, your budget and your personal preferences.


If you like the idea of being surrounded by nature while you hand-feed your Koi, you should consider including a naturalized pond in your landscape design. 

The average backyard pond is 10’x15’, but if space is an issue you can build one that is quite a bit smaller, although I wouldn’t recommend anything under four feet. Small, shallow ponds warm up quickly in the sun and are more susceptible to the growth of algae and bacteria, making them more difficult to maintain.

If you intend to have fish in your pond, it’ll have to be at least three feet deep so the fish have the space to swim and grow. You’ll also want to include space for aquatic plants both inside the pond and around the edges (known as “marginals”).

A landscape company that specializes in water features can incorporate a beautiful, naturalized pond into just about any landscape. In fact, part of my certification process required extensive knowledge of pond design as well as pond construction — two subjects that are dear to my heart (and why I’m known as the “pond nerd” in the family).

You can also add a variety of features to your pond, such as waterfalls, spillways and bubbling rocks.

stream with rocks

Swimming Ponds

If you're trying to decide between adding a pond or a pool to your backyard, a swimming pond may be the perfect solution. 

Swimming ponds are eco-friendly and blend in perfectly with nature. They stay clean through natural filtration so you don't need chlorine or other harmful chemicals, and you don't need to perform numerous daily or weekly chores — just keep them skimmed and free of debris.

pond with waterfall

Pondless Waterfalls

If your space is limited, pondless waterfalls are a great alternative. They’re easier to maintain than a pond since all you need is a pump to circulate the water — no skimmer or filtration system is required.

They are just as beautiful as the ones built into natural ponds and are created using the same natural materials, including boulders, rocks and aquatic plantings — and the sound is just as soothing.

pondless waterfall

Water Features & Fountains

This category includes features such as bubbling rocks, basalt columns, fountains. These are great choices if space is an issue or you want to add a water feature closer to your home. 

 They are low-maintenance and can be incorporated into a larger water feature (like a pond) or standing on their own. And adding a fountain to your front yard adds a touch of elegance and style.

 Those are the basic water features. And once you decide which kind resonates with you, it’s time to start designing — that’s when the fun begins! 

rock water feature

What to look for in a water feature designer... 

When choosing a company to work with, it’s important they be experienced, artistic and dependable. 

If your pond is built by a landscaper without enough knowledge or expertise, you may run into issues with either the design or the installation, which could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

I hate seeing people throw away their hard-earned money… which is why I decided to join Aquascape’s certification program. They have the most comprehensive training for designing and building beautiful ponds, waterfalls, fountains and more — which means we could offer our clients an even higher level of service than before.

Ready to take the plunge?

If you’re ready to move forward with your project — or you’d like more information about water features — schedule a consultation with us today. We’d be happy to discuss your project and help you decide which water feature is right for you.

Written by  Pat Vandenberg