A water feature makes for a focal point, irrespective of its location.
For instance, an outdoor fountain will automatically attract birds, while people are likely to take selfies next to it or just sit nearby and admire it.
But besides their aesthetic purpose, water features also have functional elements, such as blocking out external noise.
For instance, if you live in a noisy neighbourhood, next to a construction site or near the road, a fountain’s soothing sound will help reduce the external noise.
In addition, the sound produced by water features can be therapeutic, especially if you are one of those people who enjoy time alone reading or listening to music.
And if you plan to sell the property in future, the water feature will add to its value.
Water features in commercial or residential landscapes exude class and come in a variety to suit every pocket and taste.
So if you’re interested in adding a touch of beauty and life to your compound, you might wish to consider the following features:
These are commonly found in commercial properties, museums and parks.
They add a feeling of life and excitement in a space and are very easy to install and maintain.
All you need is an electrical power source” says Festus Nzivo, at Stone Arts, who does installations.
To have a sculptural fountain in your compound, you need a sculpture or piece of pottery, a pump and tubing.
The pump circulates the water while the tubing provides a channel for the water to travel through the sculpture into the releasing spaces.
Fountains do not have to be connected to a water source, Mr Nzivo says.
Once you put water in a given space, the pump powers and circulates it.
Fountains consume about as much power as other household electronics and are suitable for both commercial and residential spaces.
Like the name suggests, in this type of fountain water shoots upwards and then downwards in an arc through a nozzle. Different nozzles produce different effects.
There are nozzles that release water like volcanic eruptions, those that produce the effect of popping champagne, and yet others that simulate windmills, thus producing rotating spirals of water.
So there is a wide variety to chose from. To have a shoot fountain in your compound, you need a pump, a nozzle and a pool to hold the water.
If you are looking for the excitement that comes with rushing water, then shoot fountains are for you.
A pond can be either constructed on site or bought. The calmness of water in a pond creates a feeling of relaxation. Ponds can be used alongside fountains or alone.
For greater effect, other decorative elements such as water lights, plants and aquatic animals can be added to a pond.
At Stone Arts, for example, a magnificent sculptural fountain stands near the entrance with a pond as its base. Inside the pond are blue lights and pebbles of different colours.
But there are more options; if you want life inside your pond, for instance, you can add fish, for both aesthetics and entertainment.
STREAMS AND DAMS
These water features are becoming a trend, thanks to their functional abilities. They are ideal if you want to water plants in your compound.
They are also commonly used for irrigation. Aesthetically, the area around a stream or a dam can be lined with colourful stones and beautiful plants for a more natural look.
However, they require large pieces of land in comparison to fountains and ponds.
A stream, for instance, needs an endless flow of water, which might take up a big tract of land.
Meanwhile, dams should be carefully constructed to prevent stagnation and overflow during the rainy season.
As Ms Ashpal Ghir, a manager at Stone Arts notes, stagnant water is harmful to your health as it breeds bacteria and mosquitoes.
It is, therefore, advisable to work with an expert to prevent water from stagnating in a stream or dam.
Water features are lifetime investments which require minimum maintenance. When choosing fountain sculptures and pottery, you can go for large outdoor or small indoor ones.
Ms Mercy Mwendwa, a sales representative at Stone arts, recommends marble pottery for the indoors as it is negatively affected by sunlight.
If you want a stone fountain, you can choose from moulded, imported and organically manufactured stones. The type and size of stone determines the price.
As for maintenance, water should be changed from time to time. “It all depends on your water source” says Nzivo. Tap water, which contains chlorine, requires less frequent changing than well water.
Finally, consider your family members and their routines before installing a water feature.
If you have small children and/or pets, pools and ponds require careful consideration and strategic placement to prevent accidents.
If possible, have water features in the less busy areas of the compound.