Installing a water feature in your yard is an effective way to add vitality and beauty to the space.

Enhancing your backyard? Experts say that the sights and sounds of water features make them one of the most impactful additions to consider.

“Water features not only increase visual interest, but the bubbling sounds add a sense of calm to any outdoor space,” said landscape designer Doug Scott of Redeem Your Ground in Atlanta, Ga. “They also attract birds, butterflies and more, literally bringing life into your backyard.”

So how do you select the right water feature for your yard? According to Scott, here is what to consider:


  • With a wide range of shapes, sizes and options to complement any space or budget, fountains are one of the most common types of water features for homeowners across the country. They also are relatively easy to install and maintain.

“Fountains create the sights and sounds my clients are looking for and they do it in a way that accommodates their potential space and budget constraints,” Scott said.

Water gardens and fishponds:

  • Water gardens are gardens of plants that live in and around water. Best when incorporated into a natural setting, they enable homeowners to add such vibrant plants as water lettuce, water lilies, horse tail, blue iris and sweet flag to their landscapes. Much like water gardens, fishponds are best incorporated into a natural setting and contain many of the same plants.

“The added bonus of fishponds is that you’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of koi and goldfish while providing them a home,” Scott said.

Scott cautioned that when compared to other water features, fishponds do add expense and necessary periodic maintenance. Beyond stocking the pond, you will need a pump to aerate and circulate the water, as well as vegetation to create oxygen and provide a natural food source. Additionally, you must provide adequate protection for the fish from the land and air predators that likely will pay your pond a visit. On the plus side, fishponds will attract an abundance of non-predatory wildlife to your yard.

“Although adding a pond or water garden is more involved than just buying a fountain and plugging it in, the life it’ll bring to your family outdoors is limitless,” Scott said.

Waterfalls and streams:

  • Waterfalls and streams create a meandering setting that helps you connect one space of your yard to another. Functionally, they also help manage draining. However, due to the engineering required for successful installation, Scott highly recommends most homeowners work with a professional on such a project. This minimizes the chances of things going wrong.

To learn more, check out the new Exmark Original video, “Done-In-A-Weekend Projects: Go With the Flow,” in which Scott discusses the various benefits, maintenance needs and other considerations of each water feature type. The episode can be found by visiting Exmark.com/Backyard. Exmark’s Backyard Life is part of a unique multimedia destination focused on helping homeowners make the most of their backyard. While visiting the site, you also can access other Exmark Original Series, including “Prime Cuts,” “Done-In-A-Weekend Extreme Projects” and “Dream Yards.”

Installing a water feature in your yard is an effective way to add vitality and beauty to the space. However, it is important to understand the long-term maintenance requirements of your specific project.