Landscaping Outdoor Water Features


Frequently Asked Questions Answered on Landscaping Water Features

How To Make A Home-Made Water Feature?

Making a homemade water feature is a process and learning this process is what the skill is all about. 

If you observe wisely any sort of water feature has three parts.

1) A water reservoir at the very bottom
2) A system to take the water at the bottom on top (water pump)
3) A water cascade that makes the whole thing beautiful.

If you can build and synchronize all these three at a time then what you have is a water feature.

It's not always necessary to have water "flowing" in a water feature. For example a water pond with "water lilies" is just a simple water feature as against a splashing water fall in your backyard.

However there are several factors that will decide which kind of water feature you want to go for in your garden. Here are some of them.

1) Availability of space in your garden
2) Budget or the kind of money you want to spend
3) Time for maintenance once it's built (very important)
4) Your passion

Have you noticed the last part?

Your passion probably is the most important factor here. In spite of all the negatives if you love having a beautiful and big waterfall splashing in your back yard garden then you should go about erecting it in your garden.

If you want to do it yourself without professional help then the easiest and fastest way to get started is to get a water feature kit that will make your life easier.

Of course you'll have some limitations as far as it's design are concerned but once you get an idea of how the whole thing works you'll feel better about yourself that you were able to build something amazing that you can show it to your friends.

If you don't like the idea of using kits because of their limited design capacities you can just buy one by one item and assemble it yourself. Here are some of the cool items you can buy today right from the Internet.

  • Decorative stones 
  • Gravel
  • Marble stones polished/unpolished
  • Granite stones
  • Carved stones
  • Standing stones
  • Pebbles of all sizes
  • Colorful stones
  • Slate slabs
  • Small boulders
  • Big rocks
  • Mulch
  • Barrels and pots of a variety of sizes
  • Water containers
  • Readymade water cascades
  • Fountain pumps of a variety of power
  • Solar panels to run water pump on solar power
  • Submersible pumps
  • Colored filters for lights

Depending upon your own design you can but these and many more items one bay one and assemble them to form a simple water feature of your own. 

Here is a small video I found where this person shows you how to make your own water pond in your backyard.

Remember there is no method as perfect and when you start out make sure to note down what you did and what worked for you. This will be a great learning experience.

Which Aquatic Plants Are Best Suited for a Water Feature?

Here are some aquatic plants you can use in your water features.

rentukoita by mwri, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  mwri 

Water Irises

Yellow Iris Marsh Marigold
purple iris by Muffet, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Muffet 
Hairy Water Clover by pellaea, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  pellaea 
Purple Iris Water Clover Cyperus
Water Poppy Water Hyacinth Water Lettuce

How Do I Calculate The Electricity Consumption Of A Water Feature?

The main part of a water feature that will consume electricity is the pump that is used to carry water on top from there it will flow down through the water feature cascade.

To find out how much electricity the pump will consume you'll have to check it's specifications and calculate.

Normally the calculation is like thins

  • Power X Period Of Running X For How many days

100 watts X 1 Hour everyday = 1000 WattHours (0.1 Kwh)

And if you run this everyday of the month or just 20 days of the month then it becomes

100 Watt Hours X 20 = 2000 Watt Hours ( 2Kwh).

Now the question remains how to turn those many Kwh into money spend

For that do this calculation

  • Wattage x Hours used 1000 x Price Per kWh = cost of electricity

So as per our calculation

100 X 1 1000 X 15Cents = $0.015 (That's very minimum)

How To Protect Underground Electrical Conduit That Runs Towards Outooor Water Feature Pump?

Protecting an underground conduit is much more than just digging a trench and inserting your conduit in this.

Depending upon in which location your conduit runs it's necessary to protect your electrical conduit with enough preparation. 

There are several conditions under which you will have to decide how much deep you must dig the trench through which your PVC conduit will run.

Here are some of them

1) Conduit running through garden with lawn on top surface
2) Conduit running through garden with hard paving on top surface
3) Conduit running through garden with a combination of above two.

If you live in the United Stated then there are different rules for how much you must dig the trench and you can get the official information about this by calling the 811 number.

Similarly each country has it's own rules and regulations about safety of electrical conduits and cables when you are dealing them in outdoors.

However no mater what sort of conditions you are dealing with the, if you follow the diagram below you'll have a safe electrical cord running through your garden till your water feature.

This figure shows an 18" deep trench with 2" concrete layer on top. The concrete layer ensures that if someone who doesnt know that the conduit is running underground digs through won't harm the set up.

Another thing is if you want to run a fountain pump for the water feature then it's necessary that you must get the power from a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) Outlet

* In case of conduit where there is a concrete slab above you can dig up to 12 inches because it is less harmful for the underground PVC conduit to get disturbed.

* In case of conduit which is below road traffic such as pathways in garden or even vehicular traffic you may dig up to 24 inches.

If you want more detailed information about how you must safely carry out this task and what kind of safety precautions you must carry out check the National Electrical Code (NEC).

You can look for Table 300.5 about how you must carry out this. This table gives you the minimum cover requirements for your clarification.

If you are still unsure about doing this yourself it is advisable to ask help with a building inspector or a construction expert.

How Much Time IS Required For Charging a Solar Powered Water Feature?

1) The easiest way is to first read the manual that comes with the solar kit and do as per their guidelines.

2) If you don't have the manual with you then you can check with their website for any instructions about how long you must charge 

3) If you can't even find it on their website then normally a period of 14 to 20 hours of continuous charging will be sufficient to get started with your first run.

What Sort Of Treatments Are Required For Water In a Water Feature?

There are several ways you can treat water in a water features so that it remains clean and you and your family keep son enjoying it's beauty. Here are some tips.

1) Replace water in the water feature once a month. See that it does not get too much sunlight other wise you'll see an immediate growth of algae which will be difficult to remove.

However if you still see algae growth then you can add a solution called as the Fountain Cleanser so that you get fresh water.

Always remember to read instructions about whether it's safe for fish, cats, birds or other animals to drink this water or not. Not every solution you get in the market is safe for animals. SO make sure you read instructions.

2) Another very common problem with water features is formation of foam. You can prevent this by adding a solution called as "EasyCare FounTec Algaecide and Clarifier, 8 oz. Bottle"

What Are Different Ways Of Maintaining A Water Feature?

There are many ways you can maintain a water feature so that it keeps on working for years to come. Here is a check list of the kind of things you should check so that the overall maintenance cost is close to none.

1) Check for electrical points that supply power to pump if you have one.

2) regularly check growth of algae in your water. If you find the algae growing rapidly then you can add a non harmful solution available in the market that prevent growth.

3) Check for any cracks in the reservoir of the water feature. If neglected you have a hard time getting these corrected as these grow in size.

4) Regularly clean the reservoir by making it empty completely. Many fountain cleaning and cleansing products are available in the market that are safe for humans s well as pets and birds.

How To Prevent The Water In A Water Feature Smelling Bad?

The primary reason fro water smelling bad is because of lots of bacteria.

One easy solution is to first drain out all the existing water from water feature and clean it's reservoir.

Now when you add new water to it also add "Chlorine Bleach". This will kill any growth of bacteria and the water will remain smell-free.

Where Can I Buy The Best Quality Water Feature?

There are many places where you can buy amazing water features for either indoors or outdoors. here are some options to choose from so that you get a good variety of designs available to choose from.

1) First check you local landscaping malls and check their accessories sections. You may find some good designs with decent pricing

2) You can check local landscape designers who can help to build custom water features. If you are ready to spend some money then this options is the best out there.

3) Check for some of the best designs out there.

What Educational Degree Is Right For a Water Feature Designer?

Ideally speaking landscaping design is the best approach to start with. Landscaping covers most of the stuff required for building a water feature. For example here are some things you'll learn in a landscaping course.

1) Design basics
2) Botany
3) Aesthetics
4) Water and how to use it in connection with architecture

So a combination of all these will be your water feature, right?

if you really want to learn this stuff then one good advice ids to start under someone who's in this business and learn on practical levels. As with many more education streams, learning from books and learning on practical life is a big difference.

How To Keep Mosquitoes From Breeding In a Water Feature? 

Once you understand the basics behind what sort of water mosquitoes use to breed or lay eggs it will be very easy for you to prevent them.

Mosquitoes need calm and still water to lay eggs. However if you manage to stir up your water reservoir with any device then it will be impossible for mosquitoes to breed in this constantly vibrating water.

What you need is a "Water wiggler" that will shake the water continuously and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs.

However there is a simple solution if your water reservoirs is smaller in size. If you change the water once every week then it will be impossible for mosquitoes to breed in this water because it takes a week for a mosquito to go from egg to an adult.

If you just throw away the water once a week all the eggs will be gone with it.

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