Soothing on the eyes and ears, a self-contained water feature is an unbeatable garden addition. Nothing beats the gentle sound of a babbling brook.
Simply pop in position, fill up and plug it in, then sit back, admire and relax!
The sight and sound of moving water are enchanting. Not only that, but a water feature can be de-stressing because it can mask the sound of passing traffic or noisy neighbours. Bliss!
Coming in all shapes, sizes and finishes, there’s a design certain to fit your garden style and budget and with plenty of models in modern materials from cement and stone composite to galvanised steel, it’ll look good too.
Providing a valuable year-round water source for wildlife, it will also entice pollinators and feathered visitors to your plot, bringing endless amusement and a sense of wellbeing.
Here, at Modern Gardens, we've rounded up the best garden water features.
But, first... Some things look out for when searching for a garden water feature.
What does a water feature require to work?
Most water features work the same way, no matter the material they're made from.
If the feature has moving water, unless it's solar-powered, you will probably need an electricity supply to drive the pump.
As for the water, the constant supply should come from a reservoir; the same water is used over and over. So, for this reason, most features do not require a constant water supply. Most features are self-contained, so they just need topping up occasionally.
Keep scrolling for more information.
What is a flow rate?
Before you shop, decide whether you want a noise-masking gush or a quietly soothing trickle. Taller features with multiple levels are always going to be louder than a low bubbling pool, so it's worth investing in a taller feature if you want to detract from noisy surroundings.
By looking at the water flow rate of a garden water feature, you will find out just how much water is pushed through it. Plus, you'll know how much noise it will make.
Luckily, water features typically come with a pump that is appropriate for the size and volume of their design. Usually measured in gallons per minute (GPM), this measurement defines the rate at which the pump can push water through the system; the higher the rate, the noisier it will be.
Compare the models on your shortlist and you’ll get an idea of noise levels.
The best garden water feature for this summer in the UK
Dapple Cascade Water Feature
Ceramic charmer - Seductively tactile, this shapely mains-powered water feature brings gentle movement and sound to a patio or quiet corner. Built-in LED lights to ensure it makes an impact at night too. Suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Playful Meadow Water Feature
Delicate touch - This beautifully crafted cascade is simply mesmerising. A series of fine, silver, metal blooms on tall stems, the water flows gently from one to another reflecting daylight for added twinkle. Just fill the reservoir, plug in the 10m cable and instantly enjoy the serenity of trickling water. We love the elegant design.
Cement Outdoor Spiral
High style - Standing at 82cm tall, this sweeping design makes a striking feature wherever you place it. Water falls through the centre of the spiral and is lit from below by recessed LEDs to create a serene and stunning spectacle. Mains operated, this feature needs to be plugged in for use. Supplied with a three-year warranty.
Slate Water Feature with LED Light
Show-off stacked slate - Unwind as the water gently flows over the craggy surface of this stately water feature. Slate chips pushed by hand into a concrete base make each piece unique and results in a satisfying, gentle sound. Self-contained with a 10m cable and pump, this feature blends in beautifully with the outdoors, too.
Light Up Buddha Water Feature
Calming Zen vibes - Nestled against a wall or as an end-of-path focal point, this sculpted Buddha radiates peace and tranquillity. A steady curtain of water is lit from below by three LEDs as it flows down to the hidden reservoir. Standing at just over 49cm tall, this water feature is a stand-out. With a generous 10m lead cable to plug it in, just simply fill it with plenty of water. It doesn't require regular refilling, mind.
Water Feature Planter
Clever two-in-one - Short on space or want an excuse to squeeze in extra planting? With its neat Scandi looks and matte black finish, this feature forms a sensory focal point. Requires two outdoor sockets. Plant a flower of your choosing, give it a splash of water and plug it in. We're loving this feature planter.
Stately cascade - Tiered geometric shapes and a pitted stone effect finish give this tumbling feature plenty of impact. Solar-powered and recirculating, it brings life and movement to any sunny part of the garden and attracts wildlife too.
Ribbed Cube Water Feature Resin Fountain with LED Light
Sculpted centrepiece - A dynamic shape gives this cube water features tons of Insta-ready style. The built-in pump recirculates water creating a quiet, soothing trickle, making it perfect for laid-back outdoor lounge areas. Add some zen to your space with this sculptural feature. It can be featured indoors or outdoors, too.
Illumax LED Granite Ball Water Fountain
Stylish steal - Made from durable GRC material and available in colours grey or sand (pictured), this stone-like centrepiece will make a gorgeous addition to your garden. Water flows from the top of the fountain into its own little reservoir while the warm white LEDs make it stand out and dazzle, especially when the sun goes down.
Spiro Garden Fountain LED Pump Natural Stone Look
Make a splash - The Blumfeldt Spiro garden fountain is enchanting and hypnotic with its unique spiral shape. Throw into the mix the soft built-in LED lighting and soft bubbly water, and this fountain is bound to charm the senses and create a serene experience for your mind and body.
Outdoor Living UK Curtain Shower Water Feature
Whimsical waterfall - A striking shower curtain and floral decoration in one, this water feature is suited for both indoor and outdoor use. Perfect for creating a cool and calm ambiance, it features 12 warm white lights, low voltage, and can hold up to six litres of water.
Where do I put my outdoor water feature?
First and foremost, position your water feature where it can be appreciated most and don’t be afraid to move it depending on the season or how you wish to use your garden.
As formats and designs, they vary: from back-to-wall features to tall and stately spirals or curvy bowl and sphere pairings that go centre-stage on the patio. If a room is tight, there are multitasking designs with planting pockets that’ll fit into the smallest of outside spaces.
A water feature is a great way to introduce light and movement (to an otherwise dull area) to create a focal point to tempt you into an underused section. When you're deciding on its position, consider how you could tailor the surrounding areas to enhance it.
For example, you could paint the wall behind a tall and airy cascade a dark shade. Why? Well, it would showcase the water flow and make It stand out. Perhaps, you could nestle a bubbling, stone basin into a dry, river of pebbles - and use grass to decorate.
What do I need to be aware of when fitting my water feature?
Honestly, the beauty of these products is that they are portable, need minimal setup and have very few components that can go wrong.
Many are mains powered and need to be plugged into an outdoor socket – installing one is a job for your local electrician, and you can expect to pay around £150 to have an IP66 rated outdoor socket with a residual current device (RCD) fitted.
But then all you need to do is plug it in and add water!
There are also solar-powered designs on the market, many featuring an internal battery that can store excess energy to power the pump during cloudy weather or dark evenings. Cable lengths vary with mains-powered products usually around 10m long and solar versions having a total cable reach of around 7m.
What maintenance does my outdoors water feature need?
With so few components, self-contained water features are pretty reliable but a few tricks will ensure they perform well for longer.
Water will evaporate, and surprisingly quickly during hot, dry weather, so keep an eye on water levels and top up when needed. This will ensure the pump doesn’t overwork, shortening its active life.
Cold weather can also take its toll as, when temperatures drop, water can freeze and expand increasing the chance of pipes cracking and reservoirs fracturing. Moving the water feature closer to the house or into a more sheltered position can help, but if your garden is very exposed, consider fully draining the feature until warmer weather returns.
Keeping the water circulating as much as possible is the best way to prevent a build-up of algae. If it’s still an issue then using a suitable water treatment at the recommended rate and timing will also help to keep it clear. We recommend this one from Blagdon:
If a substantial amount of slime builds up then it’s best to carry out a complete clean. Unplug the feature, give it a hose-down, then use a stiff bristle brush and rag to dislodge any tough algae, before rinsing clean.
What to read next:
Put your feet up and relax with a subscription to Modern Gardens magazine
Get inspired each month with Modern Gardens magazine. In every issue you will find the latest trends and shopping hints (that wonu2019t break the budget), easy and simple DIY projects with clever upcycling ideas, and a look at some of our readers' gardens for you to enjoy. Love your outdoor space even more with inspiration from our magazine. Whether youu2019re looking for the latest digital edition or are interested in our monthly subscription, Modern Gardens has everything you need. Available to download on Android and Apple devices so you can take Modern Gardens with you wherever you go. Not only that, make sure you look out for our exclusive gifts when buying either your digital or print subscription.