Anyone can create a pond or water feature, but to create an ecologically sustainable water garden, that is designed to work with nature to encourage a healthy ecosystem requires more knowledge than a backyard gardener usually has.
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HOW FORMAL DO YOU LIKE IT?
Water in formal gardens is usually found in regular shaped ponds, often in the form of a perfect circular, square or rectangular feature. Most gardens however, follow an informal or natural style, in which case irregular shapes are used for water features.
Formal Water Features
Formal pools and ponds are so named because they are mainly designed by defined shapes and angles with distinct edges. These pools can be framed with decorative stones or plain construction materials, such as concrete or bricks. They may be further disguised by garden plant designs or other water features after the final structure and geometrical shape has been defined.
Formal ponds may be raised or sunken. Typically, a raised formal pond will be of uniform depth throughout. For instance it may be a rectangular raised pond sitting on a stone patio. Most likely the sides of the ponds will be constructed of the same material as adjacent walls or buildings, or the patio itself. The capping around the pond will almost certainly be of the same material as the paving so as to tie the two together and create a sense of unity and rhythm in the design.
A formal pond is likely to be a key feature within a formal design. It is to be seen and admired, and will create a vista. It could be towards the rear of a courtyard against a wall in which case a wall fountain might be positioned above it. Alternatively it could be in the centre of a garden where it can be appreciated from all sides. An ornate fountain, such as statuary, in the centre of the pond could be used to enhance the formal appeal.
Informal Water Features
This type of water feature does not normally have clearly defined edges. Its curved outline and irregular shape allows a more natural look - as if the pond has been incorporated as an extended part of the garden. An informal pond need not have any edging materials to frame it, but could be edged by lawn or ornamental grasses as though it had been formed by nature.
Similarly, an informal water feature could be a meandering stream or creek which runs through the garden. The edges may have some river pebbles or shingle scattered around. It might just be edged with bare earth or bark. It might include driftwood or rocks which replicate the natural landscape of the local region. In a natural, or wildlife, garden an informal pond or stream is intended to blend into the surroundings rather than stand out.
However, informal water features do not just have to be part of a natural garden theme. They can also be included in cottage gardens and rustic designs. In cottage gardens it might be an irregular shaped pond with a brick edging, or it could be a birdbath in a shady garden spot. In a rustic garden, an informal water feature could be a body of water housed in an old claw footed bath, an enamel sink, or an old whiskey barrel. Really, there are no limits to how adventurous you can be when it comes to dabbling with water in the garden.