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Ask Angi: How can a water feature help my yard?

by Tribune News Service | March 19, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Outdoor fountains offer a unique centerpiece for your yard. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Nothing spruces up outdoor entertaining like a unique centerpiece. Water is a key part of nature, adding to the energy and life of your home.

Only a few homes have water features, but they may be easier to install than you think. So let's dive into (pun intended) the ways water features can give your yard a sparkling boost.

Water features usually come in one of three forms: ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. Each comes with its pros and cons.

Some water features can be connected to a basic water source via hose, but others require a new line to be run out to them, which usually requires the assistance of a licensed plumber. They might also trigger backflow valve inspection requirements, such as those required for irrigation systems in many areas. When purchasing your water feature, ensure you know what's legally required.


National average: $850-$4,500.

Fountains can be among the least expensive water features to add to your yard. A small bubbling fountain in a birdbath might cost as little as $50. However, most fountains are larger and cost around $2,600 on average.

You can select from various prefabricated fountains made from plastic, resin, fiberglass, concrete or stone. Plastic and resin fountains are among the least expensive and the easiest to install. A concrete or stone fountain will usually be the most expensive, but it also offers the most striking appearance and the chance to customize it to your desires. A stone or concrete fountain can be a large round installation allowing seating around the water and a great central gathering spot.

In addition to low cost, fountains offer relatively low space requirements and little need for maintenance, but they can still provide a lovely appearance and a clear splashing nature sound.


National average: $1,500-$15,000.

Your average waterfall is probably constructed from concrete, fiberglass or stone. Like fountains, they can come in small or large sizes, prefabricated or bespoke. They add a dynamic element to your yard and relaxing motion and sounds.

You can install a standard waterfall that cascades over rocks into a small pond (more on ponds below) or a "pondless waterfall" that continually recycles the water and leaves no standing water. These have lower maintenance requirements than basic waterfalls.

For a truly outstanding and unique appearance, consider installing a water wall. These use steel, tile, concrete, or other materials for a distinctive vertical look as water continually cascades down. You can customize them with various options, including LED lights or reflective materials, and they particularly stand out in outdoor kitchens or pool areas. However, with prices up to $15,000, a water wall is among the most expensive water features you can install.


National average: $1,200-$5,500.

Of all the water feature options, artificial ponds tend to be costly and require the most maintenance, but they can also offer the richest and more rewarding experience.

A small pond, replicating the look of a natural pond, is not a complicated installation. Sometimes, you can dig to find a natural water source, but most artificial ponds use liners, underlayment and water pumps to keep the water moving and where it belongs. A pump is essential to prevent stagnation and the standing water that attracts bugs.

On the higher end, which can cost $10,000 or more, you can install a pond intended to support aquatic life, such as koi or goldfish.

Ponds tend to require a lot of maintenance, such as regular inspection of moving parts and pumps.

Tweet your home care questions with #AskingAngi and we'll try to answer them in a future column.

Print Headline: Ask Angi: How can a water feature help my yard?


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