hard to be uptight when you're listening to the trickle and
gurgle of a waterfall, or dipping your toes in a tranquil pond.
Water sounds connect us to nature in an immediate way, lowering
the decibels of everyday life to a dull roar.
want to create an oasis at home, and water features are central
to most landscape designs," says Bob Franey, president
and founder of Total Landscape Inc. "Higher-end landscape
installations almost always have water features as a design
a recent survey by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America
(ALCA) shows that landscape installation and construction accounts
for $11.2 billion of all home improvement spending. And because
landscaping and water gardening have developed from an afterthought
to the main event, full-service landscape services are doing
more business than ever with homebuilders.
very small, self-contained pond can be installed over a period
of several days, for about $3,000. According to Franey--who
has completed projects ranging from $7,000 to $40,000--the median
price is between $15,000 and $20,000. That includes a typical
waterfall, plantings and the pond's installation. More elaborate
projects might include installing large boulder outcroppings,
or reconstructing the natural topography of the property.
nobody's saying you can't design and install your own water
features (there are literally hundreds of Web sites and countless
books on the subject), it can pay big dividends to hire a design
and build firm. Hiring professionals, such as landscape architects,
helps homeowners save money by avoiding costly mistakes.
and installing a water garden properly is not only skill-based,
it's an art form," says Tom Dunn, president of Dunn Lawn
& Land. "And if homeowners are at all wary about the
process, a professional for the job is the way to go."
the ALCA cites a study of home sales in Greenville, S.C., suggesting
not only that well-landscaped homes sell better, but also that
homes with sub-par landscaping in neighborhoods with good landscaping
sell for up to 10 percent less.
reduce cost and complications, homeowners should work with Mother
Nature as much as possible. "Water features need to look
like they belong within the existing landscape," Dunn says.
"Large creeks and ponds are dramatic and beautiful, but
may not belong on a property."
you're ready to pick a contractor (or roll up your sleeves),
there are innumerable options to choose from. You might go with
cascading water, which ripples peacefully from higher to lower
elevations. Or you might prefer the fountain effect of bubbling
can be designed to sheet off a central weir, or roll down a
hillside at a slow trickle," Dunn says. "Different
degrees of velocity of water create different sounds and overall
though background, or "white" noise, can be relaxing,
homeowners don't need to go overboard. Jason Burney, president
of Ecological Design Solutions, says even an old whiskey barrel
filled with water lilies can bring a sense of tranquility and
peace. "Water is such a dynamic element," he says.
"Even in small, compact urban spaces like Lafayette Square,
reflections of light bouncing off water can awaken our senses
like nothing else."
you're planning on stocking your pond with fish, it should be
at least two feet deep. This will allow the fish to survive
Missouri winters, where the freeze line averages between 12
and 18 inches. Japanese Koi can survive even the harshest winters
by hibernating at the bottom of a pond.
can also add a richer dimension to water features, but require
hands-on attention from homeowners. Experts recommend a mix
of four types of plants for a self-sustaining system: deep water
plants; bog or marginal plants; submerged plants; and floating
when all is said and done, the key to any successful water project
is imagination and planning. "From these general ideas,
there are lots of ways to customize a water project," Dunn
TO CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING A WATER PROJECT