Who needs a swimming pool to have backyard fun in the summer? Pools are natural gathering places for summertime entertaining and relief from the heat, but it’s time to look beyond the standard cool blue, to water features and koi ponds and backyard standbys like sprinklers for the kids to run through.
Grownups and kids alike will enjoy the soothing sound of flowing water with a natural water feature added to your garden. Small ponds — including koi ponds — with aquatic plants can turn a garden into a restorative retreat from the heat. The music of trickling water invites wildlife to the garden, too.
For the ultimate in backyard water features, site selection is crucial. Be sure to choose a location without a lot of water runoff, which can cause flooding, and potentially carry unwanted chemicals or pollutants into your pond. Make accommodations for the safe use of electricity if you plan to use a pump or light kit.
Some points to consider when planning your water garden:
- Are you building a water garden in a warm or cold climate?
- Will your water garden be in direct sunlight or partial shade?
- Is cost or quality your primary consideration?
- What size liner do you need for your pond?
- Do you prefer a liner that is easier to install?
Apartment dwellers and patio gardeners can create a small-scale water garden with a water bowl, filled with brilliant, blooming aquatic flowers. The water bowl project can be completed in a weekend with less than $50 in materials and can turn a patio into a retreat.
Maybe a full-scale water feature isn’t in this year’s master plan, but backyard fun can still be created. With some PVC pipe, a garden hose, a toolbox and a Homer bucket of creativity, your yard will be the neighborhood destination for fun.
Check out this selection of classic family games:
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