If you would like a water feature for your backyard, but want more than a bubbling fountain, and you have the space, think about adding some moving water, like a brook. You don’t need to actually live in the mountains to have a stream through your property. With careful planning you can bring the serenity of that experience to your very own home to enjoy when you want.
The easiest way to decide where to place your stream is to sit in your favourite location. Now look around. See where your gaze takes you and imagine flowing water. If you would prefer to listen to the flow to lull you to sleep, have it close to your bedroom window. Just be sure to make it easy to turn off if it becomes too distracting. A simple ball valve on the return water line can increase or decrease the flow rate and thus the sound.
The lower basin will need a pump, so you will need to have an electrical source. It may also be a good idea to have it near enough to an outdoor faucet so that you can run a garden hose to add water when necessary.
Consider any existing landscaping, especially perennial gardens. Remember that it needn’t be straight. Having it meander through areas already propagated with your favourite flowers will add to the overall aesthetic of your grounds.
While you will want to consider the lay of the land, realize that a good water feature construction can include bringing in the extra soil necessary to give your stream the right path. Actually it doesn’t take much of a slope. Generally a minimum of a two-inch drop for each ten feet of stream works very nicely. For faster moving water, the grade should be proportionately steeper. This will also increase the sound. So, the more you want to drown out the street noise, the more slope.
A Word of Caution
The bed of the stream is generally lined with rocks and pebbles, which can become slick. Also, it only takes a few inches of water for an infant or child to drown. So, if you have small children, do not leave them unattended around your water feature.
If you are even contemplating a feature like this stream, you undoubtedly understand the enchantment of watching the water flow and allowing your thoughts to drift. The practical benefit is the muffling of noise from the neighbours or nearby traffic. Such an addition will also attract wildlife, giving you more to observe and enjoy. Careful plantings will also enhance the aesthetics.
While it may seem simple, it will take careful planning for the route and degree of slope, as well as the placement of the reservoir. It will also take some brute force to dig out the area and to haul the stones into place. Although self-help videos may make it seem easy, it is a task best left to professionals.