The Wonders of Water
There are many different elements that go into the artistic elevation of an outdoor space. When it comes to landscaping and water features, there’s plenty of room for your creativity to really shine. For this article, dear readers, we will be hyper focusing on the latter element and what it can offer you and your outdoor experience. While pools could technically fall under the definition of a water feature, we’ll be looking more closely at features that are either additional to a pool or perhaps even separate from one. From fountains to waterfalls, the possibilities spread out before you are endless. For this fascinating topic, Melbourne Pool + Outdoor Design’s Robin Harper sits down with Andrew Plithakis from Liquid Blue Pools to discuss the many ways in which a stunning water feature can create impressive visuals in your garden.
Having constructed hundreds of in-ground concrete pools for the past 20 years, Plithakis knows a thing or two about water features. He prides himself on creating maintenance-free designs that go hand-in-hand with self-cleaning and self-dosing systems. Having more than a few impressive accolades under his belt, including the 2021 National Pool of the Year, Plithakis and his team care deeply for the quality and excellence of their work. Working alongside modern technical advancements to ensure he is delivering the best pools and water features on the market, Plithakis graciously shares his experience and professionalism.
TYPES MAY VARY
When it comes to the different types of water features found in a residential garden, what fits can really depend on the environment and space your home has to offer. According to Plithakis, “A fountain can be an attractive focal point in a garden or courtyard. It can also be used to create a relaxing sound that can help mask unwanted noise.” If you already have the luxury of a pool on your property, or the space for a pond, then the addition of a fountain could be the perfect choice in adding that ‘wow’ factor to your outdoor area.
If you’re looking for a more dramatic flair, then a waterfall can be a great addition. Plithakis says that waterfalls can “add a natural and peaceful feel to a garden”, emulating a tranquil ambiance that can be difficult to come by if you’re located in the hustle and bustle of the cityscape. The waterfall, much like the fountain, is another popular addition to pools and ponds as well, as the flow of water can be cycled back into the body of water without being too wasteful.
But if you aren’t all that interested in having a water feature as dramatic or as loud as waterfalls or fountains, perhaps a water garden is the right choice for you. What specifically defines a water garden, according to Plithakis, is that it is “a type of pond that is deigned to grow aquatic plants such as water lilies and lotus. It can be a beautiful and calming addition to a residential estate.” A water garden would be ideal for homeowners interested in replicating the beauty and gentleness of wetlands. Don’t be surprised if this choice attracts other appreciators of the pond – namely fish, frogs and dragonflies!
If you’re on a bit of a budget and have limited space, container water gardens are a great option. “They can be created using any watertight container like a large ceramic pot, a wine barrel or a repurposed bucket,” says Plithakis. “Aquatic plants and a small fountain pump can be added to create a simple yet beautiful water feature,” he says.
IT’S ALL IN THE ELEMENTS
We’ve talked about some of the water features you can have in a garden, now let’s dissect how a water feature can interact and complement other elements of the surrounding landscape. “Adding plants around the water feature can create a natural and harmonious look,” says Plithakis. “Aquatic plants like water lilies, lotus or water hyacinths can be planted directly in the water, while ornamental grasses, ferns and flowering shrubs can be planted around the perimeter,” he says. These plants would be excellent for a pond, as the addition of these plants could create a wonderful biosphere. However, if you do add these plants to your pond, remember to do your own research on them first!
“Rocks and stones can add texture and visual interest to the water feature,” says Plithakis. “They can be used to create a waterfall or a natural-looking edge around the water feature,” he says. Particularly if you’re aiming for a more tropic or desert feel to your backyard, your choice in stones can really add to that. Sandstone is usually a good choice for a desert paradise, while volcanic rocks, such as lava rock or basalt, are often used to emulate the ambiance and feel of a rainforest. For the rocks hidden amongst your plants, mossy rocks are also an excellent choice that can add to the overall vibe of your garden.
When it comes to making your outdoor space a true showstopper in your home, water features are the way to go. Whether it’s adding fountains or waterfalls to your pool, or creating wetland habitats for plants and critters, any addition is bound to captivate you and your guests. Plithakis gives his signature of approval for water features: “The sound of flowing water can have a soothing effect on the mind and body, creating a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere in the outdoor space.”
Images courtesy of Liquid Blue Pools