Living in a suburban cul-de-sac with a small yard, my gardening projects are somewhat restrictive. One feature my landscape lacks is water. Preliminary research suggests the presence of water in a natural space can benefit mental well-being. The sound of running water helps reduce noise pollution and provides a relaxing escape. Water attracts birds and other pollinators which also contribute to positive well-being. Whether a bubbling rock, pond or waterfall, sensory interests are piqued by waterscapes in the landscape.
There are myriad designs of fountains and ponds that will fit into any size garden. Water features don’t have to be large and complex to provide benefits. In fact, creating a water feature can be a fun and relatively simple weekend project beginning with a container, such as a water trough or large flowerpot, that will hold water. Of course, the project can be more involved incorporating a larger reservoir to invite wildlife.
Consider these points when deciding how to incorporate a therapeutic water feature into your landscape.
Accessibility: Though an isolated water feature can become a destination where visitors may venture to seek refuge, if it is too inconvenient to access it, the feature loses efficacy. By positioning the water feature close to pathways that are frequented regularly more people can enjoy the benefits. This also makes it easier to monitor the feature for maintenance concerns.
Interactivity: Being able to hear the water feature is one way humans can interact. Provide a bench nearby to encourage visitors to rest, watch and listen to the feature. Depending on the type of feature it may be possible to allow play in the waterscape. Is it safe for children to reach in and splash in the water? If so, consider adding stepping stones up to the feature. (Always consider safety and follow necessary precautions when adding a water feature to the landscape.)
Maintenance: Incorporating a water feature into the landscape will have limited benefits to well-being if it requires intense maintenance. Enter into this project with the understanding of the required maintenance and choose a feature that fits into your constraints. If this is your first time installing and maintaining a water feature, start small as you learn the basics. Don’t allow this therapeutic feature to become a stress-inducer!
Do you have a water feature in your garden? We would love to see it! Send a photo to Cynthia at email@example.com.