Water Gardens

Using and manipulating water for both for both its function and form has been practiced worldwide in just about all civilisations for hundreds and hundreds of years. This practice has been incorporated into public and private gardens since the ancient Persians and Chinese gardens. Controlling and storing water had huge benefits for a household or community.

It protected a supply from natural disasters such as drought and from being cut off by a hostile force during conflicts. It allowed storage of fresh food from aqueous edible plants, fish, and crustaceans. In addition, it could be diverted to agricultural areas in times of low rainfall to protect crops.

At some point as well, there must have been the realisation that water was not just functional but also beautiful, restorative, and calming to be near humans.

So we now have a huge variety of different ways in which water is used around us.

We have put together a glossary of some of the features that can be used…


Natural Water Feature - This is just making the most of what nature has provided be it a stream, pool, or waterfall.

Man-made Water Feature - Any human built feature

Naturalistic Water Feature - A man-made feature made to look like nature made it

Disappearing Water Feature - A man made feature where water is held in a hidden tank and appears and disappears through a feature such as a fountain, bubble ball or waterfall.

Live Water Feature - A water feature that encourages biodiversity in its design

Sterile Water Feature - A water feature that does not encourage or support biodiversity


Shallow Pool - popular where digging is tough, kids are feral or shallow pool is preferred

Reflecting Pool - usually incorporating a dark liner so that the sky is reflected

Formal Pool - using lots of highly worked hard landscaping such as municipal fountains

Swimming Pool - a sterile, formal feature used once every two or three years in the UK

Fishpond/Backyard Pond/Garden Pond - What most of us have.

Wildlife Pond/Habitat Pond - What the backyard pond turns into after a few years

Koi Pond - Specialised feature requiring lots of input and netting

Swimming Pond - Slightly more complex than a neglected swimming pool but both result in swimming with frogs, although frogs in the pond will be happier.

Stream pool - a widening of a stream feature to create a pool can be man-made or natural

Plunge pool - either a natural or man-made replication of the pool at the bottom of a waterfall Lake - big pond


Brooks, creeks, streams - all names for small man made, naturalistic or natural linear flowing water features Rivers - See above but bigger

Runnel, Rill - See top but smaller


Formal Fountain - Man made feature typically involving nudity, aquatic animals real or imagined and water under pressure may be stone, concrete or may be carbon fibre

Tabletop Fountain - a very small water feature

Wall Fountain - water magically exiting a lion or green man's head mounted on a wall

Spitter Fountain - a blocked filter

Bubbler Fountain - a working fountain


· Wildlife garden - water feature to enhance and encourage greater biodiversity to the garden

· Bog garden - habitat for marginal plants and wildlife in saturated soil

· Mangrove swamp habitat - If it is in the UK, Trump was wrong climate change was real

· Rain Garden/Bio Retention System/Rain Harvesting - the way to go

· Aquatic Container Garden - Making the most of recycling troughs, half barrels, sinks, tubs.

Whether you love the sound of burbling water, dragonflies whirring or just need to store water to protect yourselves from hostile neighbours’ - water features are still very important to us.

Summer is a great time to get some water into your garden. We can help you with some original, unique ideas suitable for back gardens to sweeping country estates.

a long rill of still water running to a seating area outside a beautiful Cotswold house
A beautiful Cotswold water feature

Contact us by email at sales@wr.uk.com

Or call 01242 609564

Or pop into our yard Mon – Fri 8am- 4.30pm or Sat 9am – 1pm


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