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Water gardens make backyards more enjoyable
By Norman Winter
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center
Yosemite National Park is famous for its majestic waterfalls, but it was a babbling brook that my family appreciated there last summer during a hike through a forest. We sat down to watch, listen and appreciate for 30 minutes or so. That mood and pleasure created by this active water can be duplicated in any landscape.
Water features have become the rage all over the South in home landscapes. You may be anxious to get a do-it-yourself water garden going in your landscape. Before you make that purchase, however, there are some key considerations.
A water feature is a dramatic addition to the landscape and in many cases becomes the focal point. It also becomes a place to gather, sit, watch and relax. Any landscape can be made more enjoyable with water. Water adds a soothing, calming element to a hectic world. There are two primary types of water features to choose from: active and passive.
Passive water moves only by a breeze like an earthened pond or perhaps a concrete pond. We have all watched the wind create tiny ripples on a pond. But with the addition of plants like irises, lilies ferns, and umbrella plants your passive water pond then becomes a wonderful and unique garden. If you think flowers can't be pretty in a water garden you haven't looked at water lilies lately.
Active water is different in that it moves, such as a cascading, rocky waterfall or a babbling brook. Active water features open up a new sensory perception -- sound.
It is peaceful and soothing to listen to water move. This is evident in all of the tapes and compact disks sold that have water sounds to help listeners relax. Waterfalls are also extra special in that they create vertical movement. Water also can flow out of decorative containers or fountains, and those are usually a smaller hit on the pocketbook.
So before you make your purchase decide on whether you want active or passive, formal or more natural. A water feature is sure to enhance your landscape and make your outdoors more enjoyable.
Nurseries and garden centers now stock everything you need to install your own water garden including aquatic plants and koi. Koi are the large goldfish looking fish that seem to get more valuable with age.
Just about anyone can install water features. Fountains are available from those molded out of masonry, wooden barrels and even those created from metal. It may seem confusing on where to start, so by all means talk to your nurserymen about your goals before you buy.
If you doubt your ability to make the garden fit your landscape, consider yourself fortunate. Our nurserymen and landscape architects in Mississippi are some of the most talented anywhere in the country on both design and installation of water gardens and fountains.
If you are looking for that perfect Christmas gift for a gardener in the family, then a water feature would be an ideal consideration.