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Why every garden should have a water feature all its own

frank lloyd wright home on waterfall
Even if your home isn’t an iconic design created by Frank Lloyd Wright, you can still incorporate water features in your outdoor living space.

Gardens aren’t only a source of visual beauty, they can also help improve your physical and mental health. This is especially true with the addition of a water feature, which reduces stress and boosts alertness, concentration, and an energetic spirit any time of day.

Ideally, your yard is bordered by a creek, lake or pond that’s already part of your property. But even if you’re far from running water you can still create the feeling of a private oasis right outside your door by adding a pond, waterfall, or fountain to your landscaping plan. All of these additions offer several specific benefits that may surprise you.

The sound of running water reduces noise pollution.
Whether it’s the falling rain upon your window pane, ocean waves breaking on the shore, or a babbling brook, the sound of running water not only soothes the nerves, it also masks other less pleasant sounds. Like traffic, noisy lawn mowers, or loud neighbors. A pond, water fall, or even just a fountain in your garden acts as a natural barrier to annoying noises.

water feature

Running water helps create a “blue-mind” environment.
The term “Blue-mind” refers to the sense of peace, unity and general aura of happiness that being around a body of water seems to bring out in all of us. Even a relatively small fountain can turn your garden into a blue-mind space where you can unwind and forget the stress of the day. This happens because of two reasons.

First, the sound of running water reduces stress hormones and has the same impact on the brain as meditation. Water recalibrates the neurotransmitters in the brain that communicate stress to send out a calm, Zen-like feeling instead. The production of stress hormones is reduced and so are anxiety and depression. In addition, water releases negatively charged ions into the atmosphere, which purify the air by combatting free radicals. Scientists believe that negative ions also boost serotonin levels, raising energy, alertness and concentration while creating a sense of tranquility.
water fountain

A fountain can create a focal point that engages the eye and quiets the nerves.
Every garden should have a focal point whether it be a sundial, bird bath, beautiful oak tree or perhaps a colorful flowering bush to give a sense of organization to the space. A focal point provides a satisfying end point for the eye and a destination when walking in the garden.

In a small space, a fountain can create a formal feel or, depending upon the fountain’s design, a more casual one. For example, the fountain above is full of character and rugged charm and has the suggestion of an ancient artifact about it.
water feature

Water features can be self-sustaining and help conserve water. 
Ponds and waterfalls can be built to receive water from roof drainpipes and function as natural reservoirs. One of the biggest benefits of a garden pond is that it enhances the environment by conserving water. Once the pond is filled, it’s renewed by rainwater and largely depends on natural sources to maintain a healthy ecosystem. Furthermore, in times when rainfall is lower than normal, you can use the water from the pond to water the rest of the garden.

Ponds and water falls attract and sustain wildlife.
birds in water

Water features in a garden bring you close to nature in a way nothing else can. Birds, butterflies, frogs, squirrels, rabbits, and foxes will appreciate the water as a place to drink, cool off and perhaps breed. And if you grow some native plants around the pond, these can provide an ideal source of food and cover for native wildlife.

Why is interacting with nature so important?
pond with lily pads

According to Roly Russell, PhD, a researcher at the Sandhill Institute for Complexity and Sustainability in British Columbia, “It’s pretty unequivocally demonstrated that interacting with nature makes us happier and healthier people, and that those positive impacts on physiological and mental health are real and material.”

While scientists and urban planners have long noted that human beings need access to “green spaces” such as countryside retreats and urban parks, there is now evidence that living near bodies of water, being able to hear water move or just seeing pictures of it, is a powerful antidote to stress and the physical ailments it causes.

Another expert in this area, Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, a marine biologist and former senior scientist at Ocean Conservatory, notes, ”You can take almost all the green-space research, sub in the word blue, and find a lot of the same effects. Green space is good, but add a pond or a fountain or a lakeshore and it’s better.”

If you’d like to learn more about how you can add a water feature to your garden, please call me for a consultation at 847-912-6319.

Until then, enjoy the spring!


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