Elements of Garden Design | Water





It is difficult to imagine another element so central and so vital both to basic life and to a diverse range of aesthetic and recreational pleasure. The use of water in the built environment is thousands of years old and is interwoven throughout its long history with symbolism and religious rites as well as with sensual delight. Aqua landscapes or Water Gardens, as they are known, have been prominent in English Imperial Gardens, French Baroque Gardens, Chinese Classical Gardens as well as the Moorish Royal Gardens.

Water Gardens typically include the integration of artificial ponds, streams, waterfalls, statues, rocks, aquatic plants, fishes, watercourses and fountains  with the natural surroundings and environment in order to create a pleasing atmosphere.

General Historic types of Water Gardens & Landscapes

Water gardens have been designed  for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. Here are a few interesting applications of water landscapes.

A. The Embellished Spring | Greek origin

Served as a source of potable water endowed with medicinal, legendary properties.

B. The Nyphaeum | Architectural city fountain

Highly developed by the Romans. Derived from the Greeks.

C. The Fountain of Ablution | Hindu and Islamic origin

Serves as a vehicle for obligatory cleansing before entering the mosque or a temple.

D. The Sculptural Fountains | Greek and Roman origin

Appeared in renaissance. Centerpieces for plazas, courtyards and intersections.

E. The Imperial Fountains | Bureaucratic, over-scaled version of the sculptural

Commissioned by the Pope or King to perpetuate his memory. Only at a fairly gross level, one can sort into categories many of the uses of water in design. Even then such classification inadequately describes the full reality and the parameters of the areas so defined.

F. Motion in Water feature | Kinetic sculpture fountain, London

Surge or wave action can be created. Prohibitively expensive mechanical systems required. Water used to turn sculpture. Water effects with water pressure. Economics and vandalism cannot be ignored.

G. Utilitarian Water features | Sculptural Fish Ladder, Michigan

Utilitarian projects can be expanded to exploit water as a recreational tool and educational tool.

H. Roof Gardens | Kaiser Centre, Oakland, California

Constructed over concrete slab roof deck. Water in motion by underwater jets. Structural requirement to be worked out at preliminary design stage. Periodic maintenance for watertight conditions is a must.

Garden Pond (Click to Enlarge)

Garden Pond (Click to Enlarge)

An Aquatic landscape designer might modify and manipulate the naturally occurring features in a given place to improve its visual attraction. Artificial ponds might be dug up, new watercourses might be plotted, aquatic plants and fauna might be used to integrate the place with nature.  Artificial waterfalls and fountains might be erected, which act as a cooling oasis in the summer season. Design of water gardens is a way to bring nature closer to human beings, to add beauty and serenity to the landscape.

Conservation of Water

Today, with the ever increasing human population, the world faces a terrible shortage of resources, including water. Hence, an important part of water gardens in landscape architecture is recycling and reusing water, as well as limiting the wastage of water as much as possible.

Water-efficient landscaping offers many economic and environmental benefits, including:

  • Lower water bills from reduced water use.
  • Conservation of natural resources and preservation of habitat for plants and wildlife such as fish and waterfowl.
  • Extended life for water resources infrastructure (e.g., reservoirs, treatment plants, groundwater aquifers)
  • Decreased energy use (and air pollution associated with its generation)

Hence, water recycling, pumping and storage is housed in the facility to decrease dependence on external water supply. The water in ponds, fountains and watercourses is periodically replaced as it is moving water, thus preventing the growth of algae or mosquitoes. It keeps the climate cool and serene. Hence, water gardens nowadays play an important part in the landscapes of mansions where they are integrated along with swimming pools and gardens.



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  1. #1 by Fun Factory on February 19, 2010 - 9:08 am

    Amazing!

    I ma trying to sort out my own litle water garden but nowhere the size of the picture above.

    It looks much easier when you see other people do it…=)

  2. #2 by Manhattan on February 19, 2010 - 4:52 pm

    I always wished I could have a pond and maybe keep some fish in it.

  3. #3 by Andrei A. on March 5, 2010 - 5:48 pm

    beautiful photography.nice article !

  4. #4 by Water Feature on March 9, 2010 - 9:41 am

    Its really necessary to know and learned the importance of water. Water, has a big part on our daily activities as well as on our lives. One benefit of water is, it cleanses everything.=’)

  5. #5 by high fashion photography on March 10, 2010 - 4:27 am

    Water gardens really do add to the beauty of a place so if you can get it done, do so and it will brighten up your days no end. Thanks for this post it gives me lots of idea. God Bless!

  6. #6 by Miami Kitchen Design on March 12, 2010 - 11:50 pm

    Wow, I love the pictures in this article. Thank you for this information. Just think how great it would be to be able to fix a wonderful breakfast and then go sit out by your own private water feature enjoying the best in life, good food and nature.

  7. #7 by Portland HVAC on April 5, 2010 - 5:01 am

    Some people may take their hobby as making garden pond in their gardens,which enhance the appearance of garden and house.Now a days not only the high level people but also people in the middle class prefer to make garden with garden pond.Valuable information to those people.

  8. #8 by airbrushkits on April 15, 2010 - 12:45 pm

    I always adore garden with pond. It is a great focal point. Makes the surroundings calm and relaxing.

  9. #9 by photographers in birmingham on March 11, 2011 - 3:01 am

    Those are not your average size garden ponds though! They are so tranquil I could sit there for ages if was situated in a peaceful location.

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