Homemade Outdoor Water Features

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A backyard water feature is a relaxing, enjoyable addition to any garden landscape, but the thought of creating and maintaining one can be intimidating. Kits can be expensive and complicated, and it's difficult to find one that matches the vision in your mind.

However, there are a number of ways to make a water feature from scratch, ensuring that it's exactly what you had in mind to pull your garden together.

Water Wall

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A water wall is a very simply designed water feature that can be easily undertaken as a weekend project. Great for small spaces as it simply sits against an already existing wall, the water wall consists simply of a wall and a reservoir at the bottom to recycle the water. A pump is hidden behind the wall, which can be constructed to be any specific size.

Brick or stone and mortar can be used to construct a fountain from scratch. The reservoir can be similarly constructed, or a heavy plastic container can be used and then hidden behind surrounding plants.

When building the wall, don't make it smooth; staggering the bricks or stones will create the ripple effect and the noise of running water. If there's room, consider creating a shallow staircase.

Container Fountains

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Container fountains are ideal for placing in the corner of a porch or patio, bringing the water feature up close and personal. Virtually any non-porous container can be used, and those containers that have the right look and design but leak can be made watertight with sealant.

There are only a few basic components. A pump will sit in the bottom of the container, with a tube that runs to the top of the rocks that are piled in the container to create the waterfall effect. This tube can be hidden by a water plant, by a bamboo casing or by a pipe with a decorative faucet. Adding glass beads or round, flat stones can further personalise the look.

Japanese-style koi ponds

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The Japanese style of koi ponds differ from their European cousins in that the Japanese form look like natural ponds and waterfalls. While constructing one of these ponds can be an intimidating task, it's an effort that's well worth it in the end - and made easier by knowing what to consider before beginning.

Lay out the design of the koi pond, and decide where to put it. Stay away from trees that can grow up through the bottom of the pond, and keep it out of 24-hour direct sunlight that can harm the fish that will be calling it home. Decide between using pond liners, fibreglass or concrete, and also decide what the bottom of the pond is going to look like (smooth or with shelves for plants and any wildlife that might move in). The filtration system is one of the most important parts of the koi pond, and a professional can give the most direct advice based on the size and shape the pond will be.

Once establishing the basics that will keep the ecosystem of the pond balanced for the fish, building a koi pond isn't as intimidating after all.