How to incorporate a water feature into your garden design

An unexpected trend to appear out of the coronavirus restrictions has been Australia's newfound love of water features, according to the team at Northcote Pottery, who experienced an increase in popularity compared to the same time last year.

Falling outside of the normal summer season for water features, the overnight trend isn't tied to a specific look, with the most popular styles including the country look Oakenden Barrel, the nature-inspired Magna Rock and modern Panya.

Water features are designed to help homeowners create holiday vibes in their own gardens, and so horticulturalist and Northcote Pottery ambassador Melissa King has shared this advice on incorporating these water features into a range of garden looks.

Modern Structure

The Panya water feature (pictured above) has a sleek modern design and colour scheme, so it's the perfect complement to a contemporary style garden. Set off its strong lines and geometric shape with architectural looking plants like dracaenas or yuccas, with striking spiky foliage, or soften the edges with a cool combination of succulents and grasses. Try teaming variegated strappy leafed plants such as Carex 'Feather Falls' with chocolate-coloured Aeonium 'Schwarzkopf', or Sedum 'Chocolate Blob' for a stylish modern look. Complete the picture with charcoal pavers and white pebbles.

OAKENDEN BARREL FOUNTAIN: Interest in water features is overflowing.

OAKENDEN BARREL FOUNTAIN: Interest in water features is overflowing.

Traditional tastes

The Oakenden barrel fountain is the perfect choice for a cottage garden, so complement your water feature with native plants that ooze timeless style, such as Brachyscome daisies, Tetratheca 'Bicentennial Belle' which is smothered in clusters of perfumed bright mauve-pink bell flowers, or Crowea 'Edna Walling' with masses of pink star shaped blooms from summer to early winter.

Magna water feature.

Magna water feature.

Tropical Getaway

The Magma Rock fountain has a natural look and vibe, so it's the ideal choice for a flourishing tropical garden, which should be green, lush and bursting with colour.

Choose plants with big bold foliage that provide an instant jungle feel. Vibrant blooms also conjure up images of the tropics, so include bursts of warm exotic colour with flowering plants like heliconias, which display striking red, orange, yellow or green flowers. The hibiscus is another star of the tropical garden with flamboyant flowers. Complete the tropical theme with decorative statues and ornaments such as stone Buddhas, temples, shells or lotus flowers.

Zen water feature.

Zen water feature.

East Asian Artistry

Nothing captures the zen vibe quite like Japanese Maples, with their elegant form and graceful leaves that dance in the wind. If you're short on space, try growing weeping and dwarf varieties in big decorative pots. Alternatively, add a touch of East Asian style with dwarf Japanese sacred bamboo, with its compact form and fiery foliage. Complete your zen paradise with Asian-style pots filled with azaleas, dwarf rhododendrons, compact conifers and mondo grass, a traditional gravel garden with fine white Tuscan path pebbles and Asian-style ornaments such as fish statues or praying monks.

Concerned about the water usage? "People think that water features require a lot of water, but that's really not the case," says Northcote Pottery product manager, Jacqueline Hughes. "These garden ornaments recycle water from a reservoir, which is normally in the base and requires minimal topping up over time to keep going throughout the year. You can add an element of water into your outdoor space without the need to fill up a large pond or pool."