Before You Take the Plunge

September 9, 2010 No Comments »

Picking Your Perfect Project

Water is the essence of life, but it does more than quench our thirst; it has the power to soothe our spirits and mend our ragged edges. With our crazy busy lives these days, it comes as no surprise that more and more frenzied folks are considering adding a water feature to their home. The almost-hypnotic sparkle and song of moving water effortlessly washes away the remains of our challenging days. After a day of snarled traffic and concrete canyons, the flash and flutter of gleaming fish or the gently-wafting fragrance of a water lily can create an oasis of serenity. No wonder we instinctively reach out to it for comfort!

But which water feature to pick? Most of us would probably love to gaze out upon the magnificence of Monet’s Giverny in our own backyards (along with a boatload of gardeners to tend it!). But let’s be real here. In order to pick the perfect water feature for you, you need to carefully assess what you want to get out of your water feature and how much you can give to the project. Ask yourself:

  • How much time can you devote to maintenance? (Be honest –- remember how you thought it would be a great idea to have two(!) puppies so they could keep each other company…!). Although larger in-ground ponds are often easier to keep in balance than smaller ones (once established), smaller projects generally require less maintenance. If you’re a black belt, dyed-in-the-wool gardener, the ongoing upkeep may be a continual source of satisfaction to you. If adding more work to already crowded days is not your idea of a good time, a modest fountain may be all you need. Know thyself!

  • Got kids? If little ones live with you, or even visit regularly, a fountain that recycles water from an underground reservoir and therefore has no exposed pool of water may be the best choice for peace of mind. Water, especially flowing water, attracts curious toddlers (who exhibit maximum mobility and minimum responsibility!), so their well-being should be top priority. Of course, ponds can be fenced off just as swimming pools are, but you may want to wait until your offspring are a bit older for this type of installation. Safety first!

And last but not least…

  • Space Invaders, anyone? Of course, if your condo has   only a postage stamp-size balcony, a small fountain (even a wall-hung model) would be the sensible solution – it will drown out traffic noise while still leaving you a spot to sit and sip your morning coffee. Larger water features need to be in scale with their surroundings as well – a tiny puddle in a one-acre back yard will be completely overlooked (and yet look ridiculous), while a mini-lake in today’s smaller yards won’t leave enough room for other activities. (Just so you know, the guests at your barbeque won’t be amused if they fall backwards into your oversized pond…). Keep things in scale! (That being said, I’ve found that the majority of folks who put in a tiny pond at first almost always wish they’d built a bigger one to start with). Just something to think about!

Most importantly, have fun with your water feature. Give yourself time to research your project so you’ll know what’s really involved, and hang on to your sense of humor. Yes, you may have a few snafus along the way (oh, the stories I could tell you!), but the end results will be so worth it. And finally, remember to pull up a “gloating chair” to sit in and survey your handiwork when everything is in place!

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