How to Plan Water Features and Lighting for Your Backyard Landscape

June 01, 2023

Water features and lighting can significantly increase the aesthetic appeal of your backyard landscape, adding tranquility and comfort. During the spring and summer months in Portland, water features and surrounding patio space offer a calming, cooling respite from the heat.

Outdoor living can serve multiple purposes for a backyard landscape, including ambiance, functionality, and security. Many of the lighting installations completed by the skilled professionals of Landscape East & West are designed to enhance safety and deter trespassers. 

If you’re thinking about adding water features and lighting to your next backyard project, here are the key steps and details to consider.

How to Plan an Installation of a Water Feature in Your Backyard Landscape

Starting with water features, having a checklist for your design and build always helps. Landscape East & West professionals can help you build this checklist to ensure you don’t miss any steps. 

Know your irrigation and supply source limitations for water and electricity

When selecting a location for your water feature, be sure to consider factors such as sunlight, access to electricity and water supply, and proximity to trees or other landscaping elements. If you’re thinking about design, consider size, scope, and available spaces that will allow for irrigation while remaining code compliant. Match the size of the water feature to the space you have available. For example, a six-foot statue fountain would look out of place in a postage-stamp-size yard.

If you have the ability to supply water and electricity, next consider the type of water feature that would best fit the space.

Determine the type of water feature

There are many types of water features to choose from, such as fountains, ponds, waterfalls, or streams. Factor in the size of your yard, your budget, and the style of your home when selecting a water feature.

Along with the size and type of water feature, there are also decisions to be made like the type of stone that goes best with the rest of the design scheme of your yard, and how close you want family and company to be able to get to the water feature. 

Common materials for water features that are trendy in 2023 include natural stone, such as granite, basalt, and slate. These materials not only have an appealing, timeless appearance, but they are also popular due to their durability. Natural rock blends in with a variety of landscaping styles. Additionally, copper and stainless steel have been popular choices for water feature materials as they offer a sleek, modern appearance.

Planning a backyard water feature design

Sketch out a rough design or work with a professional landscaper to create a more detailed plan for your water feature. This should include the layout and size of your water feature and any landscaping or lighting elements. Landscape East & West can do a site visit to provide  recommendations that match your space, and your budget.

Installing Lighting to Match Your New Backyard Landscape Oasis

Choosing the right lighting for your yard depends on various factors, including the size and shape of your yard, the type of landscaping and features you have, and your desired ambiance. 

Here are some steps to help you determine the best types of lighting for your yard and the installation requirements:

Evaluate your outdoor living space and common areas for the lighting needed

If you’re having a moment of deja vu, it’s normal! We just mentioned above how planning a water feature takes planning and evaluating your operable space in your yard. With outdoor lighting installation, the process begins in the same way. Walk your property and determine not only the type of lighting you want, but also the intensity, and how all of it will fit into your home’s design aesthetic. 

If you know you need to upgrade your existing lighting or if you are installing your lighting for the first time and don’t know where to start, we’re always here to help

Determine your goals for your backyard or front yard lighting project

Consider your goals for the lighting, such as improving safety, highlighting architectural features, or creating a specific ambiance. This will help guide your selection of lighting fixtures. For example, a flood light will illuminate spaces like your driveway and back deck, while recessed lighting is better suited for outdoor kitchens and covered structures.

Additional ambiance lighting comes in the form of casting light upon trees, water features, or architectural elements to draw the eye and add a touch of drama to your landscape environment.

Maintenance Tips for Maintaining Water Features and Lighting in Your Backyard Landscape

As with almost all things, routine maintenance to keep water features and lighting in proper working order is required. 

Regularly clean the water feature

Keep the water feature clean by removing debris such as leaves, twigs, and other organic matter from the surface of the water. Use a net or skimmer to remove debris as needed. Water levels in your water feature should be checked regularly, especially during hot, dry weather when water can evaporate quickly. Add water as needed to maintain the proper water level.

Maintain the pump and filtration system

The pump and filtration system are essential components of your water feature and should be checked and maintained regularly to ensure proper operation. Clean or replace filters as needed, and check the pump for proper water flow.

Clean the light fixtures semi-regularly

Dirt and debris can accumulate on lighting fixtures over time, reducing their effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. Clean the fixtures regularly with a soft cloth or brush to remove any dirt or debris.

Adjust the aim of the fixtures based on need and coverage

Lighting fixtures can shift over time, causing them to illuminate the wrong area or creating glare. Regularly adjust the aim of the fixtures to ensure they’re properly aligned.

Consider the timing and duration of backyard lighting use

To extend the lifespan of your lighting fixtures and save energy, consider the timing and duration of use. Use timers or smart lighting systems to automate your lighting and ensure it’s only on when needed.

Get in Touch with Landscape East & West

As the weather turns from cold and pouring rain to downright hot, it can certainly feel like we skipped spring and went straight into summer. While Landscape East & West is currently booking for fall projects, it’s important to get the process started early to enjoy a few months at the end of summer or early fall in your backyard! If you’d like to discuss your water feature and yard lighting plans, we’re always here to help. Call us at (503) 825-0670 or get in touch online and let’s get started on your project today!