Read about Rich Sacher by clicking here

Water Features for
Small Gardens

by Rich Sacher, Louisiana USA
Click images to enlarge

One of the charms of having a pond or water feature is the tranquility that the sights and sounds of water bring to the garden. This brings the garden to life, a welcome addition to the landscape which would be otherwise static. The sparkle and gurgle of flowing water is soothing tonic for frazzled nerves, and it also attracts a variety of birds and other wildlife to our inspired oasis.

Although many of us are familiar with the use of fountains, statuary and waterfalls as part of a pond, we now have many new choices for bringing a water feature into our landscape without the need for a pond.

Bamboo bowl fountain,


Over the past few years, an abundance of new water features has become available. Small self-contained fountains can be obtained in many different sizes, styles, materials and colors. It is no exaggeration to say that we can now find exactly the right water feature for any application. It may be a small self-contained fountain which is added to the landscape or placed on a deck, or even a small fountain which will fit on a patio table. Fountains are available in ceramic, fiberglass, resin, concrete, ceramic tile, and even carved granite! 

< Self-contained fiberglass wall fountain with lights

When we say a fountain is self-contained, we mean it has its own reservoir of water, and does not need to be placed in a pond. Most the photos in this article show these kinds of water features. Installation may be as simple as just placing the fountain where it is wanted, adding water, and plugging in the pump. (Here we repeat the mandatory advice to be sure the pump is plugged into a ground fault outlet, to prevent any possibility of accidental shock!)

Modern concrete sphere fountain


Water features that are called "disappearing fountains" need a hidden reservoir of water, which is contained in a tub set into the soil at ground level, with a sturdy screen on top; some rocks or pebbles are placed on the screen to hide the reservoir. This would require some digging to sink the reservoir into the ground. But there are many variations on this theme, including many "disappearing" fountains with reservoirs above ground, in plain sight.

< Ceramic disappearing fountain with reservoir 

Most of the water features shown here do not require any more labor than to just move them into place. Instant satisfaction! Really small ones are made for indoor use, too.

Very little maintenance is needed for most of these new water features beyond making sure the pump does not become clogged. To keep the water clear, you can overflow the fountain with a garden hose every ten days or so. Or, use a liquid algaecide which can be added every few weeks.

Tiny battery operated tabletop fountain >


Bacchus wall fountain, resin 

One point to consider is the size of the water feature … the smaller it is, the more often water will need to be added to replace what is lost through splash or evaporation. In areas where below freezing temperatures are common, these water features should be unplugged and drained for the winter.

Perhaps these photos will inspire you to add another water feature to your landscape, and enjoy even more music of dancing water in your garden. 


^ Modern concrete fountain

Water jet in a sugar kettle >


Small two tier concrete fountain

^ Ceramic disappearing

Birdbath fountain with lights >

Self-contained concrete
birdbath fountain


^ Bench fountain

Lion fountain for a corner, resin >


Six foot tall waterfall,
self-contained, fiberglass

Home made concrete fountain

Bamboo fountain,


Lion wall fountain >

^ Ceramic pot fountain

< Self-contained fountains

Corner fiberglass fountain with lights >



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