The Pros and Cons of Water Features

Adding a water feature to your backyard is surely tempting. What better way to liven up the desert landscape, right? You can create an oasis right in your backyard! While all of this is certainly true, you should consider a few things first before you dive right in. Below are some pros and cons to help you decide if a water feature is the right choice for you and your backyard landscape.

Pros of Adding A Water Feature.

  • Beauty. There’s no doubt water features are beautiful, sometimes breathtakingly so. Moving water itself is soothing, sparkling, and clean. Contain this water in one of the huge varieties of ways available, and you can create true beauty.  A well-designed water feature can complement the rest of the landscape design.
  • Focal Point. A water feature can prove to be an outstanding focal point for your backyard. They easily make a centerpiece you can create around. Given the amount of options you have, you could make it a focal point on the patio, yard, or even incorporate it into an outdoor kitchen area. Build up the space around it and watch the transformation take place.
  • Unique. Water features can be customized in many ways to make them unique to what you want. With a simple Google search you can get a good idea of how much freedom you have to design your water feature. You could choose to have a leafy oasis, a clean, modern feature or a rocky natural hideaway. (link to the desert oasis project)  Your feature could be visually stimulating, or it could be calming. The possibilities are almost endless.
  • Many Options. Simply choosing your type of water feature has so many options.  From a simple pre-manufactured fountain, to full custom pools, waterfalls, streams, spillways, and containers. There are many different materials to choose from as well, and those materials even come in a wide variety. You can choose from metals, glass, ceramics, plastics, tiles, and stone. Each material comes in many different colors, sizes and shapes. Combining more than one together adds even more choice. You can design and build the right water feature to fit exactly what you’re looking for with the help of a good designer.


Cons of Adding A Water Feature.

  • Pests. Adding water to your home can also invite pests. Mosquitoes, bees, and other bugs. There are steps you can take to help prevent these pests, but they may not entirely keep them away. Also consider that you may attract wildlife in general, such as frogs, and other critters.  Watching birds bathe and frolic in the water is nice and wildlife may be a huge attraction, but can also be a nuisance in some cases.
  • Maintenance. Now the hard part, water features need a lot of maintenance.  Water features can be a challenge to maintain. They are a lot like having a mini pool. The water level requires observation, the equipment requires maintenance, and sometimes chemicals need to be added to keep the water clear.  Leaf litter, dirt and other debris can build up over time and cause problems.  Pumps wear out, filters need cleaning.  Calcium build up may need to be cleaned from surfaces from our hard water.  You need to ask yourself if these are things you are willing to deal with on a regular basis.
  • Expense.  A well-designed water feature can be a pleasure to own, however a poorly designed water feature can be a nightmare to maintain. The parts themselves can add up quickly. Parts can include pumps, filters, pump vaults, liners, water levelers and plumbing, just to name a few. The right design and installation is imperative since having poor design can make the feature more expensive to maintain. Some features may require extra maintenance.  Ask yourself are you willing to take the time to regularly maintain the water feature or do you want to hire someone to do it for you, with the added expense of the service.

White Noise: A Pro or Con?

It’s no secret that moving water comes with noise, so you should also consider if this is a pro or con for you. Will it be soothing to you, or will the white noise created prove to irritate you? White noise can be soothing, and has actually been linked to increased cognitive performance. For some people, however, the white noise proves to leave them feeling frazzled and annoyed. You will need to decide if hearing the constant rushing or trickling of a water feature is a good fit for you personally.  A good designer can create a water feature to make the right amount of noise to mask other unwanted background noises.

Making Your Decision.

The pros and cons of having a water feature are a lot to consider.  Having a good designer at your side can help you decide if it’s right for you, but a truly good designer will incorporate your water feature as if it is a natural piece of architecture.  Find a designer that you feel comfortable talking to and that listens to your concerns.  It has been our experience that if you can have an honest discussion about the cons of constructing and maintaining a water feature first, including a frank discussion about the ongoing maintenance and costs then it’s safe to move on to the fun of designing a water feature for your landscape.

We have helped clients navigate these tricky waters on numerous occasions. See some of our projects here or call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our design experts.

Bill Jenkins Bill Jenkins  is a second-generation landscape contractor with a passion for providing quality products and service to the valley for over 30 years. He enjoys gardening and growing roses, his grandfather was a champion rose grower and shared his love of roses with him when he was young. His father set an example for him to use only the best quality products and to give clients exceptional service.