Low-Maintenance Water Feature Bubbles Over

outcrop water feature

A stacked outcrop feature helps fill a circular driveway.

A water feature can be many different things to many different people. It can provide solace, fill an empty space, highlight the movement and sounds of water and even inspire an evening outside with family and friends. A water feature gives your space substance, and once you have one, you may not be able to live without one.

The size of a feature might be your first thought when planning such an addition to your overall design or project. But when you start the design process, consider the lifestyle of the customer. Take note of the colors and textures that are already in the landscape. These simple elements, among many others, have a very important place in planning to ensure a perfect match with the element of water in the landscape. For your client, visualizing their own waterscape on their property can be one of the hardest parts of the design process.

bubbly water feature

A little water brings an antique to life.

Not Just for Rocks

A favorite feature of mine is a bubbling rock. The overall appeal is in how well a bubbling rock can fit into almost any space. It can be inset into a patio, tucked into a corner where nothing seems to grow, enhance a beautiful bed of annuals or perennials, greet visitors as they approach the front door of your home or business and even act as an accent feature when placed within a larger water garden. Another reason to add one of these gems to your space is the fact that it doesn’t even need to be a rock or boulder — it can almost be anything you want. The prospects are only limited by your mind’s eye.

At Aquatica we like to think outside the box. The owner, Dean Pipito, collects antique instruments. He once created a feature using bubbling trumpets, trombones and saxophones. If you love clay works, craft a new work of art from your favorite pot or planter. Antique water pumps are also a wonderful way to add some rustic charm to an established flower bed or newly installed shade garden. Integrating basalt columns is a beautiful way to create multiple features in one small area and give your bubbling water feature height and modest prominence. You can see that a bubbling water feature, like any professionally installed water feature, can be an extension of your interests and personality — just like your home.

No Troubles with Bubbles

An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to bubbling water features is that it is incredibly easy to change and update the centerpiece. This point alone could be one of its most important selling points. Because the plumbing can be considered interchangeable for most of the items used in a bubbling water feature, you or your client can substitute one rock for another, or a trumpet for a saxophone, or even a basalt column for a classic, decorative urn.

water feature

A hand-picked boulder is placed within a patio for a prime viewing opportunity.

Speaking of selling points, there are many to choose from based on your client’s interests and ideas. A great reason to install a bubbling water feature is because it can be one of the lowest-maintenance water feature options available. They can be turned off when no one is home and kept running when the house is full of family and friends, unlike larger features such as ponds and water gardens.

If necessary, bubbling water features are easy to shut down for the winter and start up again in the spring. Other selling points that Aquatica has found to be important include affordability for all budgets, ease of cleaning and ultimate safety for display in public places. A bubbling water feature can also serve as a memorial for a lost family member or a beloved friend. There are companies that engrave a person or pet’s name into the natural stone used in the water feature, creating a permanent reminder and tribute to their life.

Attracting New Friends

Wildlife is also another reason why I like these simple, yet captivating water features. Many years ago, I installed a small bubbling water feature for my parents in their front yard. My parents own a beautiful little home on a city lot on the south side of Milwaukee. Water features are not common in their neighborhood, so at first, the sound of the water caught the attention of neighbors, the newspaper delivery guy and even the mailman. But soon after that, the real enjoyment began for my parents.

bubbling water feature

A formal, minimalistic approach for a bubbling water feature is shown atop a high-rise building in Milwaukee.

There were so many days when I would pull up to their house and find my father sitting on his front step just watching the water and enjoying the front yard, along with all of his new friends — the neighborhood birds. If it wasn’t for that little water feature, my parents never would have started sitting out in front of the house. That’s what I like about this type of water feature. It converts a small space or unused area of the yard into a wonderful new place to enjoy.

Birds are incredibly drawn to these types of water features. The slowly moving water makes it a comfortable place for all types of songbirds — from golden-winged warblers and sparrows to robins and finches. If your client is a birdwatcher, a bubbling water feature is an absolute must. Any experienced birdwatcher knows their migratory birds, and with the development of many migratory preserves around the country, a cozy little stopping point between the newly developed Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, and Central or South America can be a welcomed little pit stop on their route.

Water features can change your clients’ lifestyle in so many ways. They bring families and friends together. They can spark conversations between neighbors and provide a new place in the yard to enjoy. On a broader scale, bubbling water features could even be considered a gateway into the water-gardening lifestyle. I tell my clients that being offline is the new luxury in life. Spend more time at home and outside with family and friends. Put the phone down and turn the tablet off. Immerse yourself in your own property by bringing the sounds and movement of water right to your favorite space.

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