What are the Different Types of Outdoor Water Features?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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As people decide to improve their landscaping, many will consider adding one or more outdoor water features. Outdoor water features can include simple additions to the landscaping, such as fountains or birdbaths. Features can also include more complex enhancements, such as waterfalls, water walls, or streams. In addition, bodies of water are often popular water features, such as ponds, pools or lagoons.

Fountains or birdbaths are among the easier outdoor water features to install. They can be stand-alone features, or they can be attached to a building’s outer wall. They can be made from nearly any material, such as cast stone, cement, or a wide variety of metals. Fountains and birdbaths can be small, ideal for a small yard or even on a patio, or they can be quite large, even multi-tiered. They can be powered by electricity, batteries, or solar energy.

Waterfalls are often used as outdoor water features as well. Waterfalls can be made from a precast structure, or they can be made by strategically placing boulders and rocks on a hillside slope or berm. If a waterfall is designed from scratch, a bit more work is involved than attaching a precast structure to a water and electricity source.


Waterwalls are less common, but can make attractive outdoor water features. Basically, a waterwall is a curtain of water that falls from a height. For example, some people have a waterwall falling from the upper portion of a deck to a lower deck. Since they are less common, they are also more expensive to install.

Some people also like to incorporate streams as part of their landscaping. Once the route is marked, the stream can incorporate rocks, boulders, and an abundance of plant-life. The stream will typically end in a body of water, that may or may not include fish or other wildlife. For people who want to be a bit more intricate with their landscaping, there may be cascading ponds as well.

Bodies of water are often used as outdoor water features as well. There can be small ponds, mid-size pools, or large lagoons. It is possible to convert a dilapidated in-ground swimming pool into a garden pool. These water features may contain fish, such as koi, and plants. The lighting used for these features can make the entire landscape come alive at night.

Before adding any outdoor water features, it is important to consider some important factors. For example, the location of any features requiring digging should be free of electric, gas, water, or phone lines. In addition, zoning issues should be taken into consideration. Structures, such as fountains or birdbaths, also should match the style of the house. Safety should play a role as well, keeping deep ponds, pools, or lagoons protected from children or household pets.


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