Water features provide beauty, tranquility, focus and sound. They signify life, as all life depends on water. Natural water features attract wildlife and, with the correct planting around the edges, are very beneficial ecologically. Formal water features, whether modern or traditional, provide a wonderful link from the inside to the outside. Natural looking lakes, streams and bog areas, immediately create a feeling of countryside.
The main criteria, as with all elements of design, is for the house, the site, and the landscape beyond to inform what water feature you place where. In one project the client had created brushed concrete walls in the glass extension kitchen, and so we carried the wall out into the garden and installed a letterbox fountain to fall into a formal oblong water feature which could be viewed through the glass walls of the extension. We built a small shelf along the sides of the feature so friends could sit and paddle, and installed a safety grid that retracted. Another water feature was viewed through the patio doors of a large music room, so we designed a pair of simple oblong features with single fountains in a zen inspired design. Of course safety should always be considered and if the children are small then you can still install beautiful water features, but cover the ground level with pebbles till they are grown.
The largest water feature we designed was in South Africa which was a 15 acre lake!