From location and design details to electrical safety, Jennifer Newton advises on what you need to know when istalling a water feature.
Step 1: Decide on the best position
Try to avoid a sunny location as it can encourage weed growth, especially in the damp environment of a water feature. Don’t place it near a tree, either, as the leaf fall will pollute the water. ‘Think safety if you decide on a water feature in a pond, particularly with young children using the garden,’ advises Sue Frost of the design team at Squires Garden Centres (squiresgardencentres.co.uk).
Step 2: Choose the right water feature
‘A large water wall is beautiful, but don’t let it overwhelm your space – the same principle applies to a water feature on your patio or decking area,’ says Sue. ‘You can choose from a range of water features in garden centres, including bubbling stones, fountains and water walls. It is relatively simple to install one if a power supply is in place – otherwise hire an electrician (see point 3, below).’
Simon Scott, Chelsea Flower Show garden designer and MD of garden ornament specialists Haddonstone (haddonstone.com), advises that ‘It’s best to buy the water feature and pump together as a package – that way, you avoid the risk of a pump that’s not powerful enough for the feature, or simply doesn’t fit it. Sourcing a cheaper alternative is a false economy.’
Step 3: Hire an electrician
Tony Cable of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) advises:
- There is a much greater risk when electrics are run outdoors, which is why all cabling and equipment need a Residual Current Device (RCD) fitted at the fuse box to protect both the cabling and equipment that are being installed. The RCD is vital, because it will immediately cut off the electricity supply if a fault is detected.
- If the wiring is being run underground, it must be buried deep enough to avoid being cut by gardening tools – it should be covered with cable ties or tape to ensure maximum safety.
- Outdoor plug sockets should always be weatherproof so that they’re protected from the elements.
- You should use an electrician registered with a Governmentapproved scheme like NICEIC (niceic.org.uk), because of the risk associated with outdoor electrics. After the work has been done, the electrician will issue a certificate declaring that it complies with wiring regulations. A Building Compliance Certificate confirming the work meets the requirements of Building Regulations, ensuring that it is safe and legal, will follow.
ABOVE (left-right): Good for small spaces Gecko Bowl Fountain with pump, £230, Haddonstone.com Contemporary fountain made from cast stone for a garden wall or conservatory wall, (H)59x(W)40cm; Ideal for Oriental-style gardens Gushing Canyon Falls with pump, £299.99, Squiresgardencentres.co.uk A resin-stone feature with low-voltage LED lights in three pools, (H)98x(W)52cm; Great for traditional gardens Neapolitan Small Double Fountain with pump, £480, Haddonstone.com Cast stone fountain formed of two ornate shell bowls, (H)117x(W)68cm.