Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Make a Splash; from Patio Feature to Wildlife Paradise, Water Is a Joy in Any Garden, Says Pattie Barron

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Make a Splash; from Patio Feature to Wildlife Paradise, Water Is a Joy in Any Garden, Says Pattie Barron

Article excerpt

Byline: PATTIE BARRON

THE cool, calm of a still pool, reflecting the sky and surrounding foliage.

The steady, satisfying trickle of water spilling from a wall gargoyle and splashing into a tank beneath. There is something thrilling about the sight and sound of water for adults and children alike - and there is something lacking about a garden that has none. "It is an important design ingredient that can add music and movement to static surroundings in a variety of imaginative ways," says enthusiast Andi Clevely, and in Water in the Garden (Frances Lincoln) he shows us many of those ways and explains how to create them, from a bubbling millstone on the patio to a fully-planted wildlife pond.

The hard part is deciding what kind of water feature you would like. Be wary of towering stainless steel fountains and chutes that make dubious design statements. Clevely advises looking at your garden's layout and atmosphere as well as considering your own wishes. "A lush wildlife pool would look incongruous beside immaculate annual bedding but would nestle comfortably into a wildlife corner, while a cool angular cistern with tiled surround might complement a contemporary courtyard but seem out of character in a cottage garden," he says.

"Decide whether you want the lively sound and movement of a cascade or fountain, or still water to reflect the sky and add cool tranquillity on a summer's day." If you are set on having a pond, it is not difficult to build, encourages Clevely. "All you need to do is find or dig a hollow, make it waterproof with a flexible or preformed liner and then fill it with water.

The rest is detail and decoration." Choose the site with care: some sunlight is essential for good water quality and overhanging trees might look romantic but will shade the pond and shed leaves, fouling the water.

Formal ponds have simple, symmetrical lines and are prominently placed as key features; they are either sunk into the soil or raised above the ground and suit courtyards and urban spaces. Concrete, coated with sealant, is the more appropriate liner. …

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