Design & Decor - Landscaping

10 tips for adding a water feature to your garden

Make a splash with these pro pointers from landscape architect Ron Rule

5. Think about the appearance of your water feature over 12 months of the year; lights reflecting off the water in winter can be magical if you’re lucky enough to live in the balmier parts of Canada.

6. Change elevations to add interest to a flat site.

7. Be aware of the effects the materials you’ll be using will have on your water feature. Grey slate, for example, has a reflective quality, while stone particles mixed in with plaster will make the water look more sparkly. To make the colour of the water appear darker and more natural-looking, use dark plaster and/or glass tiles to line a pool or pond.

8. Consider ozone pools. The technology with pools filtered with ozone has advanced during the last 10 years; they are not as problematic to maintain. Ozone pools that have some chlorine and salt are better for the skin.

9. To discourage mosquitoes from ponds, ensure some water circulates by installing a pump, fountain or waterfall.

10. Try to site trees away from swimming pools. Most evergreens can be very messy, as the wind can carry leaves and needles into the pool. Smaller trees such as Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) or Japanese maples (Acer palmatum cvs.) can provide some shade. If the style is more tropical (and your climate can accommodate it), use larger-leafed trees or palms.

Designer facts
After graduating as a landscape architect from the University of Oregon, Ron Rule moved to British Columbia, where he initially found work designing public and corporate spaces. He then moved into residential design, opening his own firm, Ron Rule Consultants Ltd., and creating, coordinating and teaching a course in garden design that he still oversees at the University of British Columbia. He has led 10 garden tours to England and France, and has previously taken a two-month sabbatical to volunteer in two of England’s most famous gardens: Great Dixter and Barnsley House.

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