Water features are such a great low-maintenance garden landscaping feature. One of the reasons is there are so many different types of water features in Australia, so there is pretty much something to suit every style and budget.
If you’ve been thinking it’s time to add a fountain, pond or other water feature to your yard, now’s the time! The weather is starting to cool down a little bit, but it’s still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. Or, you could make your job even easier and hire a landscaper near you!
Either way, we’ve found the most popular types of water features in Australia so you can see some of the variety on the market.
Top Benefits of a Water Feature
- Affordable to get started with a small water feature.
- Many types to suit almost any garden, courtyard or balcony.
- Flowing water can be relaxing.
- Your outdoor area will look amazing.
- Simple way to spruce up your garden.
- May help bring wildlife to your yard, like birds.
- Can be a water source for wildlife during bushfires.
And many more!
Feature photo by Katherine McAdoo on Unsplash.
9 Most Popular Types of Water Features in Australia
1. Wall fountains.
Wall fountains come in either fixed or free-standing, so they’re great if you own or rent a property. When you think of wall fountains, the ceramic lion head with water pouring from its mouth may come to mind, but you can now get more modern designs too.
Ceramic, cement, resin, tiled, glass and aluminium wall features can all be found, ranging from around $100 to upwards of $1,700. Resin tends to be one of the most popular types of wall fountains as they are known as one of the more affordable styles, and are easy to clean when needing to do so.
How do wall fountains work?
Wall fountains only require a pump and a reservoir (typically at the base) to cycle water. There is no plumbing required to keep the gentle flow of water running. Some water fountain pumps can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times, which is ideal for nighttime.
Where is the best place to put a wall fountain?
A fixed wall fountain obviously needs a sturdy fixture to be secured to. You have a little more freedom with a freestanding wall fountain as they contain the wall themselves, but the surface you place it on does need to be level.
Do wall fountains use a lot of electricity?
The smaller the pump your wall fountain uses, the less energy consumption. These days, you may be able to find solar wall fountain pumps, but the fountain will then need access to sunlight for power.
2. Cascading fountains.
A cascading fountain is one of the most popular types of water features in Australia for those looking for a serene vibe. Cascading fountains have various levels water run off of, creating a gentle trickling sound.
Some types of cascading fountains will have bowls at staggered levels, where the water fills up and then flows over to the next bowl. Others will have flat levels where the water trickles off the edge over the next level.
How much is a cascading fountain?
Cascading fountains start from as little as $30 and can cost well into the thousands. The great thing about cascading fountains is you can find little tabletop ones or build a custom one to fill up a large space at the end of a pool or in your garden.
How does a cascading fountain work?
A smaller cascading fountain will typically use a pump to circulate water from a basin reservoir and up to the tiers to flow down. Larger fountains will often have plumbing to supply enough water to provide a consistent flow.
3. Tiered fountains.
Tiered fountains are the type of water feature you’d think of for a grand estate. They will typically have two or three tiers, with a basin at the bottom and a decorative spout at the top.
A basic tiered fountain will set you back at least $250, while the most grand of fountains can be priced upwards of $2,500. You now find solar tiered fountains, making them more affordable to run.
What are tiered fountains made of?
As time and technology progresses, you can find tiered fountains in more materials. A traditional tiered fountain is normally concrete, while there are now fountains constructed of fibre made to look like aged concrete.
4. Ponds (including fishponds).
A backyard pond is one of the more dramatic types of water features in Australia. They require a fair amount of landscaping, and you’ll want to ensure they don’t pose a risk to young children or animals, but they are beautiful.
The cost of your pond will depend on the style, size and what you’re using it for. You’ll need to consider the cost of equipment for digging and filling, materials, water, any plants, etc. as well as any labour hire. A labourer will typically cost you anywhere from $50 to $80+ per hour, plus materials.
Is it legal to put a pond in your backyard in Australia?
According to Aqua Gardening, a body of water in Australia with a depth of less than 30cm is not considered a swimming pool, so does not require fencing. You may still want to check with your landscaper to ensure you’re complying with any regulations for your local council.
Can you keep fish in a pond?
Yes, but you’ll need to ensure the fish you place in the pond suit the water type and conditions. Speak to your local aquarium for helpful advice.
Backyard streams aren’t seen very often in Australia, but they certainly look amazing when you do! Pondless waterfalls and streams are gaining popularity in Australia now you don’t need a large body of water to supply to them.
A stream can be as small as a few metres in your yard, using terraces for a waterfall. They work a little like a fountain where you have a reservoir and a pump to keep the water circulating up to the fountain.
How much is a pondless waterfall and stream?
A good stream won’t be cheap. For the pondless waterfall kit alone you’re looking at anywhere from $2,000. You also need to add in the cost of landscaping and labour.
6. Solar-powered water feature.
Almost-any type of water feature in Australia with a pump or electric system can essentially be run with a solar system these days. As fountains don’t require too much power, you don’t even need home solar. You can now buy smaller solar panels specifically for powering small fountain pumps.
A basic solar pump kit for a pond can cost anywhere from $130 to upwards of $300, depending on the power you need.
7. Bird bath.
Bird baths are one of the simplest types of water features in Australia. You simply find some level ground in your yard, purchase a bird bath, place it and then fill it with water. To make it more secure, you may want to fix your bird bath to a cement base.
You’ll need to clean a bird bath at least two times a week if you have wildlife drinking from your water feature. Cleaning them is as simple as emptying the water, giving the inside a quick scrub with a white vinegar solution, rinsing out with water and letting the bird bath dry before refilling.
Bird baths are very affordable, starting from only $20 for a smaller bowl.
8. Pool fountain.
If you have a pool and feel the landscaping around it is looking dull, you can add a pool fountain for a dramatic revitalisation. There are many different types of pool fountains, starting with a cascading fountain built onto the edge, or even more dramatic architectural designs.
Due to the endless varieties of pool fountains, the price is hard to estimate as it depends what you want. However, you’ll need to factor in the cost of labour, materials, pumps, etc., as well as on-going operational costs.
9. Water garden.
Water gardens are great as they can be as simple as a tub filled with rocks, water and water plants, like water lilies. This type of water feature will keep the cost down, but if you have the budget, you can turn a pond into a full-grown water garden too.
Most Frequently Asked Questions About Water Features Answered
Do I need a council permit for a water feature?
You most likely won’t need a council permit for a water feature unless it’s classed as a pool or spa. However, check your local council for specific information and requirements. Most will recommend or require netting over larger water features, like fishponds.
Do I need a pump for a water feature?
A running water feature will need a pump and a reservoir to enable the cycling of the water. If the pump is solar or you’ve bought a solar water feature, you won’t need to connect the pump to an electricity supply. As for water supply, you may need to dig down to build a reservoir or have a pond supply. Your local landscaper may be able to help you with this.
How much does a water feature cost?
The cost will depend on the type of water feature you have, but look to invest anywhere from $150 upwards for a basic design. You’ll also need to consider on-going costs like power (if not solar), water if it’s piped in, etc.
Are water features easy to maintain?
Water features are fairly easy to maintain, especially ponds. However, some water features, like fountains will need cleaning out and the water refreshed every few months. You’ll notice the water turning murky and the inner walls of the fountain looking slimy.
How do you clean a water feature?
How you clean a water feature depends on the type you have, but you’ll generally want to turn off any pumps, empty the water, scrub with a brush and clean using a white vinegar solution. You’ll then want to rinse the feature, allow to dry in the sun and refill.
Need helping picking or installing a type of water feature? Reach to your local landscaper on localsearch.com.au!