Either still or moving, water creates a romantic mystique in almost any garden. Complete with fountain or waterfall, a garden pool heightens the allure of any garden setting, adding shimmering reflections and flashes of light, glistening movements and sounds of nature. Whether moving or still, water always draws the eye, so that it becomes a focal point in the garden. While contemplating the reflections of blooming water lilies or listening to the splash of a nearby fountain, you'll derive hours of pleasure from a water garden. In a backyard or garden of any size, well-designed water features can turn an ordinary yard or garden into an attractive place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
The water element may take many styles and forms, from a small, simple garden fountain with a basin to a large artificial pond fed by a recirculating stream and waterfall. The pond may be bordered with a sweeping brick patio or naturalistically edged with bog plants. Whether dining near a patio pool or strolling along the border of a fish-stocked pond, you will appreciate the moods that water creates. When you view a quiet pool on a warm summer's day, the stillness elicits a feeling of tranquility. The reflections of flowers, leaves, birds, and sky harmonize with the surrounding landscape. Gentle ripples break the water's surface as a breeze plays over the pool, and the glint of gold catches your eye as fish dart beneath the lily pads.
The sound and sight of moving water is both relaxing and entrancing. The steady splash of a fountain or the echoing cascade of a waterfall enhances the pleasure of sitting outdoors. A garden pool can be relaxing and romantic at night. Fragrant night-blooming water lilies scent the air while moonlight sparkles on the water's surface and on foam from a fountain or waterfall.
FORMAL AND INFORMAL POOL STYLES There are two basic styles of pool design: formal and informal. A formal pool is of a symmetrical or geometric shape such as a circle, square, rectangle, or oval. It looks man-made-but no less lovely-because such uniform shapes aren't often found in nature. An informal pool is irregularly shaped, mimicking nature's own designs.
The most formal kind of pool is one raised and surrounded with brick or stone walls. If mortar or cement work is required, the installation of a raised pool can be a major undertaking that will probably require the help of a builder or landscape contractor. A sunken pool may also have a formal appearance if it is symmetrical in shape and surrounded by a border of paving, walkways, and orderly plantings.
Formal pools and fountains achieved the height of their glory in Renaissance and post-Renaissance architecture, though many are still being built in urban landscapes. The pools in the Tivoli Gardens and at Versailles and the Trevi Fountain in Rome are all examples of formal design. In Japanese and Middle Eastern architecture, formal pools are often an integral part of house and garden design. Many city parks, squares, and plazas in the United States feature formal pools and fountains that provide restful settings for lunch-time strollers.
The clear-cut lines of formal pools are often in keeping with the neat appearance of a town house or large period-style house. They look at home among neatly pruned shrubs and trees, in the middle of an expanse of lawn, or as a focal point in a town house garden. The materials, such as cut stone, paving block or brick that are used to surround formal pools are themselves round, square or rectangular. A tall fountain jet or piped statuary becomes the focal point of the formal water garden. Waterfalls should also be symmetrical, in clean-cut steps with the water falling in sheets. Water lilies and lotus can be used to decorate the water surface. If plants form the margin of a formal pool, they are best kept in neat beds, to expose the clean lines of the pool's edge. The effect is that of a well-planned and well-ordered garden.
Informal pools have irregular shapes and usually resemble natural ponds. They look perfectly at home near a rambling country house or a farmhouse or in a treed suburban yard. Bordered by naturalistically placed stones and planted with overhanging ferns, tall grasses, iris, or wildflowers, the shoreline. As you can see, there are several options when it comes to incorporating water into your backyard. The simplest way is with self contained garden fountains. You have hundreds to choose from and by just browsing the various options of outdoor fountains you will definitely get your ideas rolling!