Whether it is a gentle stream trickling down a water feature, birds bathing joyously in the birdbath, or kids running through the sprinkler, there is plenty to be enjoyed in a garden that has water added.
Even if you only have a balcony, installing a small water feature will add life and ambient sounds that mask other, city noises.
In times of drought or long hot summers, your garden can offer sanctuary to small creatures through the thoughtful implementation of water.
If you have limited space, consider installing a fountain or water feature that not only enhances the visual aspect, but will lure butterflies, birds and other creatures into your garden. The cool, clear sound of the running water and the visual spectacle of the fountain plume will be a balm to your soul and theirs.
Likewise, a free-standing bird bath will always bring birds to drink and bathe. Keep the water fresh, and clean out the bowl regularly to avoid any transference of possible infections or lice between the various species that visit.
A bath for ground-based creatures such as lizards can be set up by placing a shallow earthenware pot base on the ground. Tuck it close to plants for protection, and add in a few rocks, pebbles and twigs that will make it easy to climb in and out. Keep it partly filled with fresh water and check often to ensure that it is clean.
If you have room, consider building a pond. It can be made of an old bath or sink, or just a hole in the ground with a liner added; though if you prefer, most garden centres will have a range of small pond forms. Plant a selection of indigenous plants, preferably that are native to your area, around the edge. Mix large and small, taking care to provide partial shade without blocking the light.
Place some aquatic plants in the pond to provide hiding places for frogs. These can just float loose or be planted in pots with specialised mix and submerged just below the surface. Add a solar water pump to keep the water clean and oxygenated.
Always ensure that ponds or any water feature in your garden are safe for small children by installing wire mesh just under the surface or by fencing the area off.