There's nothing more satisfying than a vigorously flowing water feature, produced with adequate engineering and accurate pump specification. First, we appraise a suitable ambience for both site and client, followed by an outline concept and a meticulous detail design. While private residences often contain small-scale waterfalls, across civic scope, aquatic adventures invariably take grander frameworks. Conceived by the American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the Keller Fountain Park, an urban regeneration icon of 70's Oregon, forms a colossal, yet highly immersive water structure. The project designer, Angela Danadjieva, famously described great trepidation regarding the jets' flow, and therefore Keller fountain was initially switched on at night to minimise possible daylight embarrassment!
There's a gamut of multiple construction details to consider when developing water feature design ideas into precise site engineering. Would the feature require a solid backdrop; is the reservoir to be flush with the garden's level or elevated; or is the site accessible to oversized components? Every bespoke water feature is best fitted with a UV filter, and we achieve greater efficiency while this apparatus is situated externally, preferably below ground. Hard tap water tarnishes surrounding surfaces, and whenever installing a soft water device is unviable, citric acid, applied periodically, neutralises recurring Calcium carbonate residues.
A slight water trickle is at times ample to inspire serenity in an urban garden, when lush, tropical garden nuances fuse a familiar ambience. Equally, white noise is effective in masking hectic city traffic sound, infusing natural context into a contemporary outdoor space, where its resonance is amplified by the height from which water cascades, the width of the aperture, pump's strength and pool's depth. Integrating a dual element into a cohesive design produces an eye-catching feature when idle, and evermore fascinating while flowing and well-lit. Often, we include small fountains, juxtaposed alongside larger streams, to extend ripple nuances, and enhance lighting ambience across multifunctional water surfaces.
Establishing an optimal setting for a water feature forms a pivotal factor in its design. While furniture, light fittings and plants can be repositioned, a water feature remains fixed. We often position water structures inconspicuously, where a feature is revealed gradually within a connective setting, since integrating its outline into a fluid landscape design sustains a cohesive layout. Adequate daylight is vital to maintain clear water, and by utilising suitable foliage, we minimise excess leaves, reduce upkeep, and enhance clarity, where nature is gracefully reflected in an invigorating setting.
Water is intrinsically conducive to illumination, where light refraction generates unexpected nuances. Projecting a spotlight through flowing or still water produces night-time theatricality, when architectural silhouettes expand amid structural elevations – augmenting subtle movement, intimacy and mood within an outdoor space. Similarly to specifying a suitable water feature pump, it's vital to utilise lamp beam widths to provide an effective glow, tailored to the size of a feature. As with all skilful garden lighting, concealing the fitting enhances visible illumination rather than its source.
A beautifully engineered water feature is augmented by including several circuits for diverse settings, and we prefer to zone various pumps, enabling distinct individual cascades. Outdoor lighting ought to be subdivided from water circuitry; only switched on at night-time, while certain fittings are allocated to specific pumps, with UV filters situated separately to facilitate pausing at any time. This methodical process optimises usability and flexibility, producing an energising water feature with perfect clarity.
Man-made bodies of water often exist in seclusion, such as pools and lakes, reflecting peacefully within a natural landscape, yet, tree silhouettes, cloudscapes and terra firma revitalise water's essence perpetually. Similarly, in a small city garden, water features require integration into surrounding planting schemes to fully sustain their purpose, since every natural watercourse symbolises a voyage with a source, path and destination. Likewise, Foliage and water's subtle interplay within London urban roof terraces along River Thames continually enhances the context of modern city outdoor spaces.
A waterfall's structure is undoubtedly more effective when synced into its surroundings, in both scale and materials. While placing is intrinsic to a site, construction forms an inherent part of the design process. Is the water feature to be merged with other elements of the garden, or will the waterfall define a self-contained, complete feature by itself? Linear garden designs are frequently balanced with sinuous, organic water, while monochrome features are often accentuated by vibrant foliage palettes. Small city gardens are spatially extended through water reflections' multidimensional, magnified scale, where vertical, space-saving waterfalls free up precious, horizontal outdoor space across their hard landscaping spectrum.
We integrate natural stone, concrete and render into the fabric of water features throughout our urban gardens. Steel, tiles and glass often provide intermediate surfaces for water to glide across, through or above. The textural qualities of background materials are pivotal in enhancing cascading water, elevating their surrounding soft landscape into a balanced continuum. Fine-tuning the water flow according to use produces a gamut of reflections, sounds and movement, defining dynamic ambience in a contemporary family garden.
Self circulating water features are relatively easy to manage, in contrast to large, built-in waterfalls which entail profound insight of their mechanics to optimally maximise fluid potential. Accumulation of leaves clogs conduits, pumps and UV filters, requiring regular clearing to retain effectiveness. Citric acid is beneficial in reducing Calcium carbonate build-up on surfaces, steel pipes and pumps. Winter protection is practical in cold weather, when it's best to release water from reservoirs to minimise freeze damage.