Backyard water features can liven up any space and give it a unique, professional look. From a tranquil garden pond to accent fountains, today’s water features come in a wide variety of styles to fit almost any yard size and budget. They also provide homeowners with the opportunity to add more landscaping around their yard that can make a water feature look like it’s simply sprung up naturally from the ground!
For some, however, backyard water features present a mystery and more than a few questions. Where does the water go? Do you have to connect it to a water source? Do I need a full backyard garden pond? We’re solving these questions and more as we explore the question, “how do water features work?”
I’m Interested–How Do Water Features Work?
We’re glad you’re interested! Water features add value to your home and can be relatively simple to maintain after installation. With a variety of styles and sizes available, there’s a water feature design that’s perfect for almost any yard. So then, how do water features work?
We’re taking a look at these major parts of every water feature installation to explain how it works and why it’s important:
- Water feature pump for recirculating water
- A water reservoir for reserves
- Water feature tubing for delivery throughout the system
Water Feature Pump
First up in our exploration of “how do water features work?” is the pump. Most of today’s backyard water features are recirculating. This means they reuse water after filtering it from the reservoir and is why they’re less expensive to operate than if they required a constant source of new water. How does the water go from the base of your installation to the top, though? That’s where the water feature pump comes in.
A water feature pump is designed to move water upwards from the bottom of your installation to the top so that you can experience the falling or trickling effect desired. In some designs, the water feature pump is located in the basin itself and hidden from view with clever landscape design and installation techniques. Other designs may have a specific chamber to hide the pump from view.
Water feature pumps are labeled by the gallons of water they can pump per hour (GPH). Different ratings can be used to determine the optimal water flow for your backyard water feature. Factors that influence which pump you need may include the height of your water feature (how far the water has to travel upward) or the height of the spray you want in a recirculating water fountain.
Water Feature Reservoir
Next up in our exploration of “how do water features work?” is the reservoir. As you might have expected, you can’t have a recirculating water feature without a reservoir. Simply put, the water feature reservoir is the area where the pump is located and where water gathers for recirculation throughout the feature. In a garden pond, the pond itself serves as the reservoir. But what about in pondless waterfalls or water fountains?
In fountains and pondless waterfalls, you still have a reservoir, it’s simply hidden. For pondless waterfalls, instead of a large basin filled with water for a pond, you’ve got a deep hole filled with rocks (typically) that the water spills into. The water then continues through the gaps between the rocks and makes its way down to the pump for recirculation and filtering. The rocks in a pondless waterfall are also particularly adept at keeping larger debris away from the pump so that the water can be recirculated with ease.
Water Feature Tubing
The last stop along our road to answer “how do water features work?” is to examine water feature tubing. This tubing serves as a delivery system for water in recirculating installations. If the water is the car, consider the tubing to be the road it travels along its way from basin to the top!
For recirculating water fountains, a tube typically runs to the top of the structure while water pressure from the impellers found in the pump give the spouting effect. For larger fountains, multiple tubes may be used to create a larger effect of water shooting from the top.
As part of how to maintain a water feature after installation, especially for fountains, it’s important to make sure the tubes are not clogged by minerals found in the water. Some people may opt to use distilled water in their backyard water fountains to avoid this more easily. Since fountains are self-contained, you only need to top the water off every so often when it dips below a certain level and you’re set!
While they may seem like super complicated landscape additions, water feature installations are relatively easy to maintain and can transform your backyard into your own private oasis. Larger garden ponds (especially those with fish) may require a bit more maintenance as you’re sustaining a contained ecosystem, but none of them are overwhelming. If you don’t feel confident to do major seasonal preparation yourself, you can always call a landscape professional in the Albany, Colonie, Saratoga, or surrounding areas to help with winterization or as part of your spring yard cleanup list.
Now that you’ve learned the answer to “how do water features work?” it’s time to get started planning your water feature installation! Head on over to our Project Planner to plan and budget your dream water feature. Once you’ve decided what you like, save the plans or submit them to us and one of our professionals will be in touch to get started.
For more inspiration on water features and other ways landscape design can transform your backyard, check out these guides: