Water features

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Home water features were a rare and costly addition to landscapes years ago, seen only as connected with very high-end homes and mansions of the rich and famous. Now, they are an increasingly common part of many landscape designs.  The decreasing cost of products, the creative range of options and the ability to “do it yourself” have made a great deal of difference, resulting in a dramatic and lovely increase in home water features.  The types and styles are of your choosing with options ranging from fountains, pools, ponds, cascades, waterfalls, to streams.

Move the chi through Feng Shui
In the ancient art of feng shui, water plays a very significant role. In fact, the term feng shui translates into wind and water. The wind is believed to carry chi, the energy of life, which always gathers near water. Logically, that creates great importance for water in the front of the house. Many believers place significance on wealth and prosperity through this very visually-placed water feature as part of landscaping.  Many designers and landscapers incorporate feng shui principles into landscaping via the water feature.
According to the web site www.Love toKnow.com, when you choose a water fountain for feng shui purposes the flowing water of the fountain helps to reactivate stagnant chi, restores balance to the area and produces beneficial yang energy. If the water in the fountain does not flow equally on all sides, for example a water fountain with a cascading waterfall flowing down into one area, make sure the water flows toward the house and not away from it. Water flowing toward the front door of the house symbolizes wealth and prosperity. Water flowing away from the house may result in a loss of wealth or an increase in financial problems.
Backyard ponds
Backyard ponds are perfect for attracting birds, frogs, butterflies, and crickets and can be mosquito-free if the water moves constantly.
When Roger Cook of This Old House was asked about building a backyard pond, he replied that the answer is not an easy one and that safety regulations regarding fences vary widely from community to community. Some require a fence with a self-locking gate around any body of water deeper than 18 inches, as measured at the deepest point. Others set the minimum at 36 inches deep, and still others go in for calculating a pond’s total water volume or the square footage of its surface area. And, as you might expect, some towns exempt ponds completely from fencing requirements. About the only thing for certain: Follow your local building codes exactly, he advised.  For example, 3 feet is the minimum depth recommended if the pond will be a koi pond.
Fountains and waterfalls
Lowe’s has a Do It Yourself idea for creating a backyard fountain that simply uses a 19-1/4-inch glazed ceramic pot, a water garden container fountain kit (#8417) from Lowe’s and 4 rubber stoppers. It can get that simple, netting you a beautiful result. Of course, more elaborate designs that dazzle your senses can be created without any personal sweat.
The Landscaping Network recommends that when you consider fountain placement consider these factors:
• Where it will best mask street noise
• Where it will provide the best water music for your patio
• Where it can best be seen and heard from indoors and out
• The proximity to a source of electricity for running the pump
• The types of plants in the area; for example, ones that drop leaves could be troublesome)
• The safety of children and pets
When considering waterfalls, know that creating this feature is heavy and tedious work that includes both moving and placing heavy boulders. Certainly, a professional may need to be consulted. According to www.handyman.com, “You can complete this project successfully even if it’s your first water feature. But it’s heavy work.”

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