Musings on using water in the contemporary garden

Splish, splash, splosh: the tradition of using water in the garden goes back thousands of years. I have waxed hydrologically about the importance of water in garden design before and it is something that continues to excite and inspire me – from the Persian paradise gardens of the middle east via the Moorish gardens of Spain, the Italianate Villas and French classicism all these celebrate the beauty, movement and sheer refreshment that water can add to a garden scene (or indeed placed water firmly at the centre of the garden composition).

water features, classical gardens

The water features in my gold medal winning Italianate garden at Bloom in the park this year “Giardion della mostra”

In contemporary garden design, we ought to still think of the water feature in the same terms but the way water is used now needs to account for other matters than mere show.  Like it or not this is the era of water conservation, recycling and low impact gardening.  We should all, as a matter of course, sign up to these principles in a world in which there is an ever tighter squeeze on our resources.

That is not to say that we can’t have showy water features any more because careful selection of equipment (e.g. using solar powered pumps and filters), recycling our water, rainwater harvesting and so forth can mean that we can have highly pleasant watery experiences without impacting on our environment.  And if wildlife gardening is your thing then the natural pond can provide a haven for wildlife and a most pleasing visual feature too.

As usual, I would love to hear your views on this or any other topic related to garden design…

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