What better way to relax than going into your back yard and hearing the sound of a waterfall or gazing into the water of a custom-made pond? Water features have long been one of the most popular landscape additions, bringing relaxing ambience while increasing the value of a property. Such additions continue to be sought after as more of us are staying close to home these days.
Steve Fowler, owner of Aquatic Effects, based in Fallston, has combined his background in general construction and landscape design to create custom ponds and water features since 1990. With a staff of six, his company provides residential and commercial water features and services in Harford, Baltimore and surrounding counties.
We talked with Steve about what to consider if you would like to create a water feature for your yard.
Why are water features so popular?
We’re all attracted to water, and who doesn’t love pretty fish? Everybody loves that. I think it’s always been a draw. People would rather stay in their own backyards than go abroad. So I think that may be part of the popularity.
Where’s the best place to put a water feature?
You basically want to put it at the best vantage point. So if you are at your kitchen sink doing dishes and you want to glance out your window to see your water feature, then that’s where it should be. Or if you’re walking out the back door and there’s your deck, that’s where it should be. You determine what’s the best vantage point [for enjoying it].
What is the most popular water feature?
The term “water feature” is kind of a broad term. We do custom work, so it’s really up to the individual. Anything that has moving water is really popular. You can have a fountain with 50 gallons of water or up to 50,000 gallons. It’s just up to the individual.
If some one wants to build his or her own water feature, what advice would you give?
Make sure that you’re handy. The old saying goes, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It’s just not one of these things where you’re going to read a quick manual and decide to go out and do it on the weekend. The best recommendation I would have is do your homework and really, really make sure you’re confident about what you’re about to do.
Should a homeowner opt for professional service, what are some questions a customer should ask a contractor before starting a project?
Ask about maintenance [of the water feature]. You want to know what is involved and how much time do you need to dedicate for this. Am I going to want to keep up with it? There’s a lot of different things that you can do and a couple different ways of building these. Some people want mechanical. They want to walk over, turn a handle, back-flush it like a swimming pool and walk away. Some people are weekend gardeners, and they want to come out and play with it, feed the plants and this and that.