Splashing Out During Drought
Drought and water restrictions have raised level of concern regarding creating water features in home gardens. Many people are under mistaken assumption that water features are a contradiction to water conscious gardening. While there is truth in fact that large, cascading waterfalls and far spraying fountains are not particularly water efficient. The carefully planned water feature can save water!
Creating a water feature in your garden can be beneficial not only to overall look of your garden but to environment! A properly designed, installed & maintained water feature can not only save water but create a haven for wildlife already struggling to find water in drought.
Water Gardening Myths Debunked!
Water features use to much water…
Consider how much water is required to keep plants, lawn or even pot plants alive. Apart from initial fill of your water feature, a properly designed and constructed water feature will require just occasional top up. It is a common belief that water features are connected to water mains and are constantly using water. A water feature should always have a pump and a sump or reservoir that recycles water.
The bigger feature better…
There is no need to create Trevi Fountain in your garden; with water a little goes a long way. Often a smaller feature such as a millstone, patio feature or container water feature strategically placed is more then enough to satisfy desire for look and sound of water in a garden.
Designing a water friendly water feature
The first step here is to check with local authorities before designing your feature. Local council often imposes regulations that must be heeded. Container gardens are unlikely to require approval or be regulated by councils.
Things to consider…
1.Placement – it is best to site your feature away from wind and sun (unless using aquatic plants) to reduce water evaporation. Also consider location of underground utilities eg. Electricity, Phone line, Gas etc. 2.Size – when designing wildlife ponds a larger body of water is easier to maintain than a smaller one. Container features containing no wildlife or plants require only minimum amounts of water and can be kept clean with water treatments. 3.Containers: Container water features tend to have no wildlife or plants and therefore only require minimal amounts of water and can be kept clean with simple water treatments. 4.Water depth – exposed shallow water heats up and evaporates quickly. For wildlife ponds (aquatic and plant life) a minimum depth of 45cm is required. 5.Splash – Splash causes water waste of criminal proportions. Consider features less likely to cause splashing eg. Trickling waterfalls rather than Niagara Falls! 6.Shape – although overall shape is a matter of taste, consideration should be given to vertical aspects of your feature. Sloping sides (eg. beach effect) produces shallow, warm water that evaporates quickly. If creating a wildlife pond rocks can be used as platforms to allow wildlife access to water. 7.Fountains / Water Jets – although fountain jets look great, a bubbler or spout can be just as effective and loses little or no water from your feature. 8.Creeks and streams – can be wasteful. As sun heats rocks and pebbles it warms water resulting in evaporation. If you must have a creek, consider locating it in a shaded part of garden and making it deep enough to reduce splash. 9.Council regulations: Don’t forget to check with local authorities before designing your water feature, as some councils have regulations that must be headed.