Water in the garden – our pick of water features and how they enhance a design

Water in the garden – our pick of water features and how they enhance a design

We love water and the way that it can add ambience to any outdoor space. Here are some our favourite ways to bring water into the garden.

There’s something incredibly soothing about water. Whether it’s a still pool or a powerful fountain, water brings a whole new element to garden design. Few gardens  have views over a lake but luckily you don’t need much space to incorporate water into your garden.

The humble hot tub

I’ll wager you thought this blog would be all about streams and fountains. Well, they will get a mention but in all honesty, one of the most requested watery garden design features is a hot tub.

Does a hot tub enhance a garden? In terms of useability, yes they can. From an aesthetics point of view, they’re not always lovely to look at but hey, beauty and functionality don’t always go hand in hand.

How would Tapestry Design Studios incorporate a hot tub in one of our designs? Just like most garden features, comfort and usability are key. The first thing to consider is whereabouts the hot tub should sit. Where are the sunny spots and how can the users be sheltered from cold winds and nosy neighbours?  Then of course, people will need to be able how to get to and from the tub without getting feet splintered, prickled or muddy. Lastly, how will electrical fittings, filters etc be safely hidden from view?

With the practical bits out of the way, we can start thinking about lush planting that will give a jungle feel without filling the tub with dead leaves

hot tub with landscaping features such as a pergola and planting for privacy

Not my design but this hot tub does have features worth noting. First of all, it’s undercover which means it can be used in drizzly weather  AND bright sunshine. I love the way that plants are used for privacy too. The hot tub doesn’t look as though it has just been plonked down on a hard standing. Interesting trim too.

Wildlife pond

My favourite feature to include in a garden is a wildlife pond. They’re not just beautiful on the eye, a carefully designed pond will bring life, movement and a way of engaging with the environment without leaving home.

Nature will make the most any suitable garden feature. From perching on the linen line to checking out the flowers, But one of the biggest joys of an outdoor space is discovering that a beautiful creature loves your garden enough to make it home. A wildlife pond will speed up that process and almost guarantee that you’ll hear more birdsong and spot more butterflies than ever before.
Properly constructed, the pond will be almost self-maintaining. You might need to skim autumn leaves off the surface of the water and occasionally clean out the filters but other than that, Nature will find a balance.

wildlife pond near Frinton on sea a beautiful water feature that helps the environment

A wildlife pond that was designed by Tapestry Design Studios and built by Holland Landscapes.

back yard with a selection of plants for dry gardens

A smaller, but no less valuable wildlife pond in a pretty gravel garden. Read more about this project here.


Place a seating area near to the pond and you’ll have a beautiful spot to drink your coffee on a sunny morning. Protect children and pets by designing in and building a suitable barrier – perhaps some native hedging with a rustic gate, a pretty picket fence, or a contemporary garden screen for a more modern feel.

bird bath in disabled friendly garden

No room for a wildlife pond? How about a bird bath/drinker created from an old farm feeder found in an antiques sale?

Gentle Streams and Rills

Who doesn’t love to hear a stream burbling? Water running over pebbles is such a happy sound and can be quite meditative. It’s not difficult to design, build and maintain a rill. A rill, or a small stream is a great talking point and can even be incorporated into a rain garden.

A rill works well with contemporary clean lines of a patio and paving. It can be part of a lush jungle garden or it can be a soft and informal part of a cottage garden.

gently curving water rill with low growing plants either side of it

This water rill takes the eye on a journey through this part of the garden and really shows of the colours of the plants.
For a more naturalistic effect you could use mixture of pebbles and gravel to the bed of the stream.

The sensual sounds of moving water

two ceramic planters converted into water features and set amongst beautiful foliage plants

A water feature needn’t take up lots of space. There are lots of plug in ones available from DIY stores and garden centres that take up very little room and offer the sound of moving water. Personally I prefer something a little more bespoke and a lot less plastic. So how about adapting a ceramic planter? Or maybe visit a local reclamation yard to find something interesting? You could even have a bespoke water feature created for you using glass, metal or any other suitable material.

bespoke water feature made from a boulder rising up from a bed of ornamental grasses

A bespoke water feature surrounded by ornamental grasses. Imagine how this sounds with the water gurgling and the grasses swooshing. 

lighting for outdoor eating area

Add lights and even the smallest water feature can be an important focal point for your garden in the evening


How could your garden be enhanced by water?

Why not check out our garden design packages to find out how we can help. Garden design inspiration packages start at just £145 (price correct at the time of writing)

More about garden design packages

Further reading/watching

Inspirational gardens with water in Suffolk and Essex

Case study – a wildlife pond near Frinton on Sea

Designing drought tolerant gardens

This Episode of Garden Rescue features a bespoke water feature. This is an interesting program to watch – some great design ideas but I’m not sure how accurate the budget figures are and the timelines can be deceptive too. Enjoy the ideas but keep an open mind – remember, it’s a TV program. Please bear in mind that film production doesn’t allow for onsite problems, may cut corners to achieve speedy results and of course it’s been edited – a lot. PS the program is 45 minutes long, so you’ll need to make a cuppa before you start watching.

Watch it here

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