Want To Transform Your Backyard Into Paradise? Just Add Water

June 01, 2019

Landscape East West Waterfall and PondHumans throughout history have associated water with everything from peace, openness, wisdom, and depth, to balance, cleansing, healing, and salvation. There’s even scientific evidence to support the many benefits we get from being in or near water. If you’re looking to add a little Zen to your landscape, consider incorporating the element of water.

Water features can be used as design focal points, to mask unwanted noise, to offer a soothing soundtrack, to reflect a more natural environment, to attract wildlife, and to create a sense of visual movement. Whatever the reason, here are some tips to help you design a water feature that blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape and transforms your backyard into a paradise.

Consider Size and Scope

When you’re thinking about design, consider size and scope. 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. To create soothing, visually pleasing landscape water features, think in proportions and ratios. Sure, Versailles palace just outside of Paris can sustain enormous fountains because the grounds are sprawling. In smaller spaces or side yards, an overflowing jar or planter may offer the perfect balance of size to space.


Make a Scene

Why are Japanese and Chinese landscape water feature designs so charming? It’s because they’re designed like miniature landscapes. For instance, a rock surrounded by raked sand could be designed to look like a mountain on the plains. A pond could look like a mountain lake, for instance, surrounded by boulders and dwarf rhododendrons mimicking trees. The next time you’re at the Chinese or Japanese garden here in Portland, notice how each area is made to mimic a scene in nature.


Let’s Design Your Backyard Paradise

Complementary Details

To soften edges and help ease the visual transition from water to land, surround the water feature with boulders and plants. It will also help hide utilitarian elements such as pond liners and leaf screens, which can detract from the enjoyment of your water feature. Portland homeowners can experiment with ferns, grasses and azaleas. Look for plants that love humid air – they will naturally thrive around your fountain or pond. Taking the complementary details into consideration during the design process ensures you end up with the perfect addition to your outdoor space.

Go With The Flow

Standing water will turn murky unless you have some kind of pump that allows the water to flow. To keep it Zen, be sure you install the right kind of pump to move the water. The Landscape East & West design team knows what equipment best suits the feature you have in mind, as well as the utilities that will be needed to make it work properly and safely.


Thoughtfully designed landscape water features can lead the eye from one beautiful scene to the next. However, poorly thought out water features can easily turn into eyesores that are about as subtle as a neon sign on a church. If you’re looking for help with your water feature design and installation, give us a call. We are passionate about creating calming, Zen-like water features that blend perfectly into their surrounding landscapes. Generations of Portland homeowners have trusted us to create stunning ponds, fountains, and waterfalls. Take a look at our photo gallery and get inspired. Stop dreaming about that backyard paradise and start enjoying it.

If you want to create an outdoor oasis that brings you peace and harmony, Zen teachings would say — there’s no time like the present.

Landscape East & West

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