The therapeutic benefits of garden water features

Water has always played a huge role in our lives. Water is considered the elixir and source of life. It covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, makes up nearly 70% of our bodies, and constitutes over 70% of our heart and brains. Research has shown that when we are near water, this deep biological connection triggers an immediate response in our brains. In fact, the sight and sound of water can induce a flood of positive neurochemicals that promote wellness by increasing blood flow to the brain and heart, inducing relaxation.

Researchers, city planners, and governments want to put this knowledge to practical use, turning water into a tool to promote community health.  The European Union in 2016 initiated Blue Health.  The four-year cross-disciplinary research project examines the effects of aquatic environments on body and mind, with the goal of exploring the best ways to use water to improve the well-being of people in busy cities.

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Historically, elaborate water features were often associated with stately homes or public spaces, created as statements features. But they are not just for grand spaces , they can be a way of expressing your personality and choosing something special, personalising your garden space providing you with years of pleasure.

 Water adds a touch of magic to gardens, a presence and sound that has the power to calm and soothe. Nothing beats relaxing beside a pool of glistening water at the end of a working day – with glass in hand. Whatever type of water feature you choose to install they can be easily adapted to suit the space, style of garden and its surroundings.

 Many people only think about choosing a garden sculpture or water feature when they redesign their garden, but there is no reason why you cannot create an area in your existing garden or patio.

Tips for installing a successful water feature in a small garden

The key is in the planning. Site and situation are important factors to consider:

Where will the feature be sited?
Full sun and eddying winds can have a dramatically negative effect on maintaining regular water levels in a pond or water feature. A site not too hot and one where the wind doesn't billow are ideal.

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Is it possible to get electricity and water to that point easily?
Always employ a skilled tradesperson to undertake the installation for you or opt for a solar powered feature.

Will the feature be a stand-alone creation?
A bold keystone of the garden as a whole, or will it gently enhance the scheme in a more naturalistic manner?

What will the material be?
Can you take any reference for this from the immediate surroundings? Metal, slate, stone or simply just water?

How much maintenance is involved?
Unfortunately water is not maintenance-free and often not even low maintenance, but an automated top-up that regulates the water level over the pump means that manual topping up of water levels isn't required quite so often. A small recirculating feature in a warm city garden could need topping up every day in summer.

Is the water feature child-proof or can it be made so?
Recirculating features where there is no access to open water are safer. Open areas of water can be protected with a metal grid immediately below the surface.

Are you feeling inspired to try this in your home? Whether you are planning a new garden design or are thinking about your current outdoor space, these tips can help you add your own little oasis of calm.