A water feature is one of the most soothing and beautiful amenities of a landscape, providing hours of relaxation. These can serve as focal points or can also be an enhancements to a residential landscape design. Water features come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, ranging from simple fountains to complex waterfalls, and must be maintained in order to keep them looking their best. Homeowners learn in a short manner of time that although water features face numerous challenges.
Here in Sarasota, a water feature is something that can mimic a nearby body of water, like Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. It can also be used in a way that best fits into a certain design, giving it the peace and tranquility of streaming water or a small pond. Whatever it’s size, shape, or function, a water feature must be maintained in different ways. Ponds can be a great environment for such species as Koi fish while waterfalls can spill into a swimming pool or a pond.
Depending on its surroundings, a water feature can also be a bit of work to keep it looking great. There are many things which can make a water feature appear unsightly, from pollen and leaves, to algae and murky waters. These can range from minor cosmetic problems to major problems, such as leaking. Pests and critters can likewise be problematic for water features, as some like to take-up residence in and around them or claw to find tasty treats under stones.
Low Maintenance Water Features
One of the best steps to take is to choose a water feature that doesn’t require much maintenance. There are a number of low maintenance water features that look great and provide the same relaxing experience, but do so without the fuss. One is the prefabricated fountain, which can be small in size and fit nicely up against a fence or a wall. Some make great patio additions and attract birds. Self-contained bubbling containers are DIY projects that can be made in differing heights and sizes and clustered together to produce trickling water sounds.
Outdoor water features, such as small ponds or trickling fountains, add ambient noise and tranquil beauty to your backyard, to say nothing of their ability to attract colorful wildlife, such as your neighborhood’s songbirds. While specific maintenance needs vary depending on the type and size of your water feature, several tips and strategies can help you keep your water feature running smoothly and its water looking sparkling clear. —San Francisco Chronicle
Miniature ponds are another low maintenance water feature that can be a natural habitat for fish. Most with fish need between 4 and 6 hours of sunlight and must be installed in a place that isn’t drenched with runoff rainwater. Rain is something that can wreak havoc on the water balance and feed impurities into the water, causing an unhealthy fish environment. A water basin is an outdoor feature that contains a hidden reservoir which recycles water, making it a low maintenance amenity. Pondless waterfalls are also low maintenance features, as these too recycle water.
Water Feature Maintenance
Your water feature is probably under constant assault–rainwater, twigs, sticks, leaves, bugs, pollen, and even the sun can all prove problematic. The best way to keep maintenance to a minimum is to take proactive care by doing the following things:
- Use distilled water. If your water feature is small enough, you can fill it with distilled water. If you use a garden hose and fill your feature with water, you’re introducing fluoride and calcium. These can be a real nuisance, causing moving parts to become corroded, promote bacteria and algae growth, and cause strange odors, as well as murky the water.
- Net regularly. If there’s anything that falls into your water feature, grab your net and fish it out. The more foreign objects and debris that remain in the water, the more damage it will do, especially over long periods. This stuff is not only unsightly, it’s unhealthy for the water.
- Change the water. Your water feature will be exposed to organic waste, such as bird droppings, and this does have an adverse impact on the water. These can produce scum, algae blooms, and bubbling foam. By changing the water at least twice a year, your feature will look better and be less to maintain.
- Shade it from the sun. You might not think the sun to be a problem for your water feature, but it is because it speeds-up evaporation levels. It also is a source of energy to grow algae and other growths. If you place potted plants around it and/or add aquatic plants to shade at least 60 percent of the water.
You can also prune nearby trees, especially those which produce a lot of pollen or seeds. Not only do these organic invaders cause the water balance to fall off and can be the source of an algae bloom, too much can become a problem for recycling systems.
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