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There is nothing quite so relaxing as the sound of live water flowing over rocks after a long day at the office. This natural stress-reliever and its overall visual appeal make water features among the most popular landscaping additions in recent years. Some people build their own, and others hire help, but in either case, there are some pre-construction issues to consider.

First, most areas have specific building regulations. Most townships in the US consider small ponds and water features as landscaping, and therefore do not require permits.

However, if you’re planning something large, it’s still good to check ahead of time. For example, while my pond didn’t require any special permit, I did have to have a certified electrician sign off on the power pole for it.

In other areas, the depth of the water feature determines whether you need permits or not.

Second, if you have children or small outdoor pets, you may wish to consider some type of safety features for your design.

Perhaps a gate, or even adjusting your water feature to something like a fountain that isn’t quite as hazardous. We discovered this issue with our dog over the winter in that our little pond was not frozen completely. Thankfully we were able to gather in the dog and dry him off before hypothermia set in.

With safety handled, now you can consider naturalizing your water feature. Some people choose to have fish and water plants in their ponds. The plants provide oxygen and the fish eat up mosquitoes. We opted to avoid both since we like to put our feet in the water (and honestly I was a little superstitious about coming out and potentially finding our prosperity carp floating belly up).

Around the water feature you have a lot of play room. You can design a theme garden, add lighting fixtures, put in statuary or trellises to vary the levels of greenery and visual impact, etc. Think very carefully as you add items, looking to see how much maintenance each requires. Everything from weeding to cleaning off a hanging decoration, to handling bird droppings will increase the effort necessary to keep things looking good.

Nonetheless, it’s well worth the time. Those mornings when you wake up to all manner of birds, squirrels, bunnies, and butterflies playing near the water are precious memory-makers that turn your “house” into a home.

One of the best places that I have personally see to find the water garden or water features that you want for your garden or yard is Earl May Garden Center, who have nearly every kind of pond or fountain as well as rocks and ornamental grasses that can be dreamed of.


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