25 Ideas for Cool Water Features for Your Landscape

Make a splash in your garden by adding a water feature. The rippling water and gentle jets will make your garden cooler, while giving it a soothing feeling. These fountains, bubblers, ponds and more offer inspiration to suit any style, from naturalistic to modern.

Kritsada Panitchgul

1. Small rustic water garden

Add a bit of farmhouse chic to your landscape with this simple backyard water feature. A half wooden barrel goes well with a weathered water pump as a fountain. Add a few small aquatic plants like water lettuce if desired.

Laurie Black

2. Subtle but splashy waterfall

A water feature doesn’t have to be a flashy embellishment in the center of your garden. A fountain with an organic finish like this one in stone blends easily with other outdoor elements. Install it near an outdoor seating area for maximum enjoyment.

Matthew Benson

3. Modern garden pool

A narrow water basin adds a bold element to any landscape. Here, the mostly monochromatic color palette complements the clean style of the water feature. Line the pool with repeating clusters of plants such as evergreens and hostas to create a relaxing, symmetrical spectacle.

Brie Williams

4. Romantic Wall Water Feature

Place a vintage bistro or patio set near an inset wall water feature to create a cozy garden nook. Add plants around the fountain that take advantage of the vertical space and create a more inviting scene. It’s the perfect place to relax to the sound of splashing water or chat with a friend over a coffee.

Kindra Clineff

5. Add some art

Figurines and other sculptures can help set the mood for a formal garden design. As part of an outdoor water feature, they become unmissable focal points in the landscape.

Janet Loughrey

6. Natural Waterfall

If traditional fountains aren’t for you, get back to nature. This waterfall created with large stones mimics what you might find in nature. Complete the naturalistic look by adding native plants around this rugged water feature.

Kim Cornelison

7. Go with the flow

If your yard has a natural slope, use it to your advantage. A hill is the perfect place to add a waterfall that trickles into a pond. Here, a dense mix of shade-loving plants and a small seating area complete this water feature.

Edmond Barr

8. Go non-traditional

When you think of a water feature in your garden, you might think of a birdbath or a tiered fountain. Break the mold with unique shapes or water sources like this semi-circular shallow pond. It provides wildlife with a source of water while providing the soothing sounds of splashing water.

Jon Jensen

9. Mixed materials

The gardens are full of natural elements that can be used to create an evocative setting. For example, this small backyard water feature combines several elements found in nature: a carved stone basin and bamboo faucet, accented with weathered wood and smooth rocks.

Kindra Clineff

10. Bring a birdbath

If you’re looking for simple, low maintenance, a birdbath is an easy choice. Attract tons of birds (as well as butterflies and other pollinators) by planting seedy flowers and native species nearby. Be sure to place your birdbath where you can easily observe your winged visitors.

Laurie Black

11. Blend form with function

This pond with a covered outdoor seating area next to it provides a peaceful and welcoming vignette. Alternatively, a stylish garden shed next to the pond could look like a miniature lake house while still creating a handy place to store tools and equipment.

Kritsada Panitchgul

12. Cultivate a water garden

Expand your plant repertoire in your yard with a water garden. Beautiful aquatic flowers and fun foliage will be a focal point. Use a bathtub or a pond as a foundation which can be easily adapted to your personal taste.

Jon Jensen

13. Add a pop of color

For small backyards and patios, a simple garden water feature can still grab attention. This glazed ceramic dish and bowl holds just enough water to let sunlight shine on the surface. A glass ball in the basin provides a safe perch for insects and other wildlife that stop for a drink.

Laurie Black

14. Walkway water feature

Placing your garden water feature next to a path or steps makes it easy to admire it every time you pass. Here, a small waterfall trickles into a shallow pool. This is the perfect environment for a few potted plants like papyrus and canna that like constant humidity.

Ed Gohlich

15. Don’t forget the details

Small details can add visual interest to a large, bold water feature. For example, a closer look at this fountain reveals intricate designs around the simple faucet that can be admired from the nearby seating area.

Ed Gohlich

16. Japanese Garden Inspiration

An above-ground bubbler fountain offers soothing sounds in this peaceful vignette inspired by a Japanese garden. Plants with interesting leaves such as Japanese maple, liriope, and clumping bamboo also contribute to the authenticity of the Zen scene.

Laurie Black

17. Barrel of Joy

A repurposed metal drum makes for a simple and sturdy water feature. Water flowing from the spout onto the rocks below emits soothing sounds. Placing plants in red, orange and beige hues around it makes a nice color echo with the natural rust color of the barrel.

Carson Downing

18. Create a Centerpiece

A focal point helps bring a garden space together, and a water feature makes it a particularly attractive space. In this backyard, a fountain serves as a stunning centerpiece in a circular bed filled with flowering perennials and ground covers.

Kritsada Panitchgul

19. Understand

Enhance your water garden or pond with a small figurine. You can either use it as a freestanding piece of art or install it to act as a spout for a water jet like this fish figurine. Flaunt your personal style by opting for a cute or elegant selection, or something in between.

Bob Stefko

20. Work in Fantasy

Unique decoration around a fountain spigot can elevate an otherwise plain outdoor water feature. Here, a fish-like creature adds an eye-catching element of fantasy.

Ed Gohlich

21. Bubble Burst

A fountain does not need to have a big splashing jet. A more subtle bubbler also creates a soothing atmosphere as the water gurgles and flows. The simple round basin of this one fits easily among the colorful plants.

Sherry Lubic

22. Stream water feature

Add graceful lines to your garden with a gentle stream and walkway. The wooden pathway mimics the curve of the water’s edge to soften the look of the backyard oasis. Create visual interest with a mix of foliage and flowers like water lilies.

Jon Jensen

23. Go Vertical

Dress up a blank wall in your garden with a vertical outdoor water feature. Here, a stone fountain serves as an elegant focal point against a vine-covered trellis.

Janet Loughrey

24. For the Birds

Real birds visiting your outdoor water feature are always a delight, but artificial birds can be just as delightful. This stone pond and fountain would be beautiful enough on its own, but a pair of crane statues really complete the scene.

Laurie Black

25. A Taste of Modernism

The geometric shapes and moody hues of this outdoor water feature add a modern touch to a landscape. A gentle fountain in the center creates ripples as water trickles down the sides. An adjacent concrete planter echoes the shape and tone of the fountain base for a pleasant continuity.

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