Incorporating Water into the Garden

Gardening is an activity which involves all the senses. The smell of fresh dirt, the taste of home grown vegetables, the vision of a well designed flower bed. When the element of water is combined with the landscape an extra dimension of visual and audible enjoyment is added to the atmosphere that is not only beautiful, but beneficial. The soothing sound of flowing water has been proven to be very relaxing for the mind; it is a white noise that cancels out unwanted distractions and allows for enhanced concentration. Another benefit is the negative ions that are released into the air by falling water, thereby purifying the surroundings, increasing humidity and decreasing dust, pollutants and static electricity. What a very welcome addition in our arid Tehachapi environment!

Moving water is the sound of life!

Where there is water there are plants and fish, frogs and insects. Wildlife are attracted to the water, and their presence is one of the reasons people enjoy living in Tehachapi so much. When the element of water is part of the overall plan to attract and promote wildlife in your yard you may just qualify for the National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program. It took me just a few minutes to fill out the online application, and now my yard is a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat and I will soon be receiving a plaque that I can display in my garden. There is a fee for this privilege but I think it is a fun and worthwhile endeavor. You can find the National Wildlife Federation at

There are so many ways to incorporate water into the garden!

Rock water fountainThere is everything from a simple fountain or birdbath to an elaborate waterfall with a pond. Many people have opted for pond-less water features which have a recirculating water course that flows into a catch basin that is camouflaged with a layer of pebbles. This eliminates standing water while still allowing for the enjoyment of a waterfall or stream bed. If adding fish to a pond is in your plan remember to make it deep enough that the raccoons can’t wade in and have dinner at your expense! To get the most from your water element plan to place it where it can be viewed through a window in the house. That way you can enjoy it from inside as well as when you are outdoors.

At our home we are fortunate to have a seasonal creek in our backyard, and I have a whimsical fountain with two love struck frogs sitting on a bench, holding an umbrella in our west garden. One of the flower borders sports a bird bath and there is a small fountain on our deck. All these water features add their own individual charm to the landscape and satisfy my desire for moisture in this dry and thirsty land we call Tehachapi.

The sparkle and serenity that a water feature brings to the garden is not only calming for the mind, beautiful to look at and a habitat for wildlife, it is also an investment that can add value to your home. Beautiful, well maintained, mature, landscaping – including a water element, can add as much as ten percent or more to the value of your home.

About the Author

Anna Smth

Terre Verte Landscape Design began in 2003 while Master Gardener Anna Smith was the staff horticulturist for Kern Counties only botanical garden, Mourning Cloak Ranch. Read More

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