For thousands of years Asians, and especially the Japanese, have known the tranquility and serenity of the sound of running water. Incorporating water features is a wonderful addition to any garden. It can range from running streams into waterfalls into ponds, to fountains and birdbaths.
Interesting artworks are available to purchase – unique sculpture fountains with a variety of pump and water flow configurations, birdbaths ranging from simple to exotic. There are so many fountain suppliers, from local building and home improvement centers to specialty shops and online catalogs – way too numerous to mention all the styles and types that are available. Same with birdbaths that invite our local winged friends into the garden for a drink and a splash. At Details Landscape Art, one of Sonoma County’s finest landscape contractors, we often install these pieces in our gardens. We also design and build ponds and waterfalls.
Depending on the topography we may recommend a meandering creek running down to a waterfall, which spills into a pond. We can also build a pondless waterfall with a hidden reservoir! All our water features are natural looking. We use a lot of rock – large moss-covered placement boulders, small and medium fieldstone boulders, river rock lining the walls of the creek bed or pond, cobbles and smaller gravel all blended to look as natural as possible. We plant ornamental grasses in and on the edges of the water, decorate with logs or driftwood if we can find them, and love to add koi.
The river or creek, depending on its length and elevation change, may have two or more spill rocks en route to its final destination. It may turn and change directions, and it may have a fork or a secondary branch in it.
When the pond has fish, we like to install a biological filter that maintains the correct level of good bacterial for the health of the koi. The size and type of pump used to circulate the water back to the top depends on the size and length of the water feature and the size and water volume of the pond itself. Koi are delightful little creatures that add a nice level of interest to the water feature.
Adding koi to a pond, however, definitely adds maintenance.The water clarity and PH must
be kept perfectly. Algae provides a healthy food source for the fish, but must be kept under control.
Plant material in and around a water feature adds to its beauty.
Some water loving plants we like to use are:
Tulbaghia violacaea (Society garlic) – we use both the green variety and ‘Silver Lace’ which has a pale green leaf with a white edge. Both produce a profusion of spikes with lavender flowers all through spring, summer and fall, which are then deadheaded in winter.
Juncus or rush – a low area bog plant that can tolerate wet conditions
Details Landscape Art loves to use a variety of elements in their gardens…wood structures, masonry, patios and walkways, beautiful plant gardens, and garden art. Water features are yet another interesting element in the garden.