Humans require water for far more than simple consumption and hygiene. One is hard-pressed to find a culture or religion that does not hold this substance as precious or sacramental. Here in Arizona where water is so scarce, we are probably drawn even more to its presence. It is hard to find a natural water hole that is not stressed from human encroachment. It is no wonder that water features are so popular here in northern Arizona.
We love water, too! Agassiz Landscape Group enjoys building natural waterways and ponds. These projects are technically and artistically rewarding. Our goal in building any feature is to integrate the flow as naturally as possible within the total landscape. With every slope, patio, and planting being different, water features always give us a unique design challenge to master.
Many people are eager to have a water feature installed in their landscape, but are reluctant to it for a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is the perceived waste of such a precious natural resource. It is true that water features evaporate and even leak water. What most people are surprised to learn is that a perennial bed with spray irrigation or a turf lawn use exponentially more water than a non-leaking water feature of the same or greater size. This is due to vast more surface area being present on lawns or flower beds which allows for greater evaporation. Other than small splashes which might be along streams, the only loss of water from a water feature would be flat surface, which is relatively minimal.
Another reluctance people have to a water feature is the thought of another maintenance issue around the house. This, unfortunately, is somewhat true. Although the maintenance on a system is extremely light when compared to the hours annually spent mowing grass, when maintenance is required of a water feature, it is generally pretty messy work. It is normally recommended that water features are cleaned once each year or two. Occasionally liners will settle, causing leaks or breaches, which must be located and raised. Most pumps and other components are generally good for three to five years.
After discussing the unfortunate side of backyard water features, one must recognize the many benefits gained from having the presence of flowing water. A backyard habitat is nearly instantly created. This provides valuable water to birds and other animals. The soothing sound of water creates a natural retreat for you and your family. The beauty of water rolls and reflects as it moves throughout your landscape. And finally, something mysterious occurs within a month or two of a water feature installation: at some point, the homeowner actually forgets the water feature is a man-made structure and develops an acceptance that it is actually their own backyard creek. Priceless!