Monday, April 7, 2008

Tips to Having a DIY Water Feature at Home

With my moving house something like 4 weeks back, I acquired a water feature for the house.

I needed a water feature that is something like 4 m by 4 m big, not too sure whether to rear fish inside at that time, so went round water feature hunting.

Introducing the parts of a water feature:
1) The water tank that holds the water and in which your pump, lights would sit.
2) the surrounding wall that is made of man made bricks, or some would call them stones.
3) the pump that pumps water so that you have a water feature that is alive and some pumps filter the "dirty" stuff too.
4) the light to beautify your water feature especially at night.
5) the PVC pipes through which the water would flow and out from the spout.
6) the pebbles to fill your tank with, so that it looks nice.

In any case, just hope to pen some learning points from it all.

My wife and I went to a couple of landscaping shops and they include:-
1) Nature Landscapes;
2) Hawaii Landscapes;
3) Fast East Flora;
4) Ji Mei Flower Pte Ltd;
5) Tropical Environment Pte Ltd;
6) Bargain Garden

Starting off, we have 2 choices, either to buy one off the rack but customised the bits and pieces or to DIY everything from the tank, pump, "stones" and even the light.

Well, the price difference varies on the choice of water feature and also from where we get it from, and the price difference can be as much as two to three thousands dollars. Needlessly to say if you DIY, things are cheaper but aesthetically wise, there MAY be a compromise and that sometimes, the items you choose say the spout may not be suitable with the overall design and look of the water feature.

Some things to look out for when you want to have a water feature:-

1) What is the maximum space you have? Proximity to a power point and a water supply?

You need to know exactly where to place the water feature and imagine, or draw on the floor where it would supposedly stand. Get a feel of it. Electrical point is essential for the water pump and light while water supply is essential unless you want to keep carrying buckets of water to do refilling when the water in it evaporates. Do also consider what is the preferred height that you want your water feature to be, I have seen very high ones.

2) Indoor or outdoor?

Outdoor water feature would supposedly be larger in space and also should feature some trees or plants around it to give it the aesthetic look. Indoor features should look gracious and comfortable in the "already confined" housing space.

3) Intend to rear fish? and if Yes, what type of fish?

If keeping fish, need to note fish waste and also the water chemical level. Type of fish as in big jumpy fish would require a higher level of surrounding bricks/ stones and also a deeper tank.
Point to note though, fast growing fish would eventually outsize the tank.

4) Intend to have aquatic plant or just have plants surrounding the water feature?

This is pretty self explanatory, choose plants that would fit the overall look of the water feature.

5) Want to hear water sounds when you are a few metres away from the water feature or just ok with just having the water feature running silently?

This is very much dependent on the spout of the water feature. Trust me it is very therapeutic to hear the "music of water"

6) Safety- any children around who would accidentally be drowned in it?

Though pretty safe, but the older folks would advise getting a water feature if you have young children around less they play with the water. Well, higher stones/ bricks and a not so deep water tank should help here.

7) What materials or how would you roughly want your water feature to look like?

There are bamboos, lava stones, glass material amongst others, water features. Do research and run to a few places with actual sets of water feature displayed to have a good feel of what you want.

8) Potential mosquito breeding ground.

Some people say running water so no problem with mosquito, but then if you want to play conservative and safe here, can add chlorine, bleach and even baby bottle sterilising tablets. You can also keep some fishes here.

9) The water pump

The pump is of various types, from those with a bio filter to the more ordinary ones that just pump water. Of course, the price difference is great too. If you are keeping fish and don't intend to change water so quickly, can try a bio filter. Advise though, if newbie and just want to see how things go, go for the ordinary ones.

Other Tips..
10) Go around a few shops and see the actual set on display

11) There is no problem with buying the stones/ bricks/ walls from one shop and buying the water tank, pump, and so on from another. What is more important is making sure your water tank and the stones/ bricks (as they surround the tank) can fit nicely.

12) Some bricks change colour on touching water and after prolong usage

13) Some off the shelf water features can be constructed yourself at even less than half the price if you decide to go DIY.

14) a good control valve to regulate the flow of water.

For those, who think too much a hassle but still want some water thing in the house, consider the following:-
1) fish tank;
2) table top water fountains;
3) a pond;
4) water wall curtain

Oh well, got to go...listen to the sound of water...

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