Heartwood Garden Design

Natural Swimming Pond in Hitchin Hertfordshire a beautiful swimming pool with a waterfall and colourful natural planting
Our top five water features



Low maintenance water features – our top five favorites

Most gardens benefit from having a water feature, they bring sound movement and wildlife into your garden and once you’ve added one to your garden you’ll find that you’re drawn to it, particularly on warm summer days.

We prefer simple to install, self-contained water features, preferably ones that allow bees and birds to access water during the hot summer months. We know that people have busy lives and that the words ‘water feature’ can strike fear into people’s hearts because they worry that ‘water feature’ means a lot of cost and maintenance. But it doesn’t need to be like that, there are a some high-quality suppliers who we recommend because we love their products. They’re simple to install, look beautiful and provide joy and movement in gardens large and small.

One of the suppliers that we recommend is Foras. Based in Norfolk they’re a family business that have expanded and developed their water feature range over the past few years. They’ve created some stunning products that we love to put into our gardens. 

So let’s get started with our top five great water features:

Layer slate water features: 

Who doesn’t love the colour and texture of slate? It’s beautiful, natural, quarried in Britain and provides a beautiful tough textured surface for water spill over beautifully. 

There are two products that we love in this category; the Foras 75cm Layered Slate Water Feature where layers of slate form a simple bowl with circulating water which sits on a bed of pebbles. Water gently bubbles within the bowl and over the sides and is re-circulated with a submersible pump within a concealed reservoir. It’s perfect for dabbling your fingers on a hot day, or for bees, butterflies and birds to come for a sip or a little bathe. It comes with a choice of pebble colours and is a complete package which includes reservoir, lighting, pump, and pebbles. In the same style is the Foras Belmont Layered Slate Water Feature. It’s the same idea but a beautiful layered slate sphere which comes in sizes from 40-75cm. Water risesup through the centre and bubbled and cascades down the sides. It’s beautiful, atmospheric and the perfect addition to a relaxing garden.

Image Credit Foras
Foras Water Feature

Lovely lily bowls: 

Urbis have had a reputation for some time of creating high quality and beautifully finished planters and water bowls. Our favourite is the Lily Bowl which comes in four sizes from 99-180cm diameter and with a lovely range of earthy colours in textured finishes which blend in beautifully with planting schemes. Lily bowls as the name suggests are designed either as a still water feature with aquatic plants such as a tiny perfect pygmy water lily which remains within an aquatic pot and is held in place with a layer of smooth pebbles. They’re also great for creating a bubbling pool of water with a small pump concealed beneath a small grid and beneath a layer of pebbles. Unlike the Foras water features the individual elements the bowl, pump, lighting and pebbles are sourced separately but the end result is equally stunning.

Image Credit: Heartwood Garden Design
Urbis Lily bowl installed by Heartwood Garden Design in a harpenden garden. A beautiful shallow coloured water feature on a base of pebbles and filled with a layer of pebbles and the gentle movement of water.

Water blades: 

Water blades have been around for a while and it’s a simple principle: a steel blade that drops a sheet of water down into a small reservoir with a pump to re-circulate. The reservoir can be large or small or small and can include pebbles and aquatic planting. It can also include lighting in the form of a led strip set beneath the blade or a submersible light which uplights the falling water. Like the other water features discussed, it creates a beautiful sound, attracts birds and insects and with a small concealed reservoir is safe for children.

Image credit: Heartwood Garden Design
Garden water blade feature which creates a sheet of water tumbling into a small pool. A beautiful garden focal point surrounded by planting and next to a porcelain paved path.

Go Italianate: 

If you’re looking for something a bit more traditional a Haddonstone Romanesque Fountain is a good option. with an 81.5cm diameter it’s a good size and is made of composite limestone which looks and feels like natural stone. It’s fully equipped with pump and electrical supply for easy installation by a professional providing the perfect feature for the Mediterranean garden.

Image Credit Haddonstone
Low Maintenance Water Features – Our Top Five Favourites

Keep it Simple: 

Beautiful simplicity is often at the heart of the gardens that we design. It doesn’t get more gracefully simple than the Sea Salt Water Feature, another winner from British supplier Foras, and one that creates serenity in any garden. It features a stunning honed, polished natural 90cm slate plate that allows water to spill beautifully over the edge into a bed of pebbles. Set within colourful, airy naturalistic planting it’s a sensory delight for your garden and we love adding one of these features to our planting design schemes.

Sea Salt Water Feature


We think you get the message here, water features in gardens don’t need to be onerous if you keep them simple. Yes, you usually need a pump and a electricity supply and most should be installed by a professional landscaper.

But what about maintenance? This will depend on location and also the surface area of your water feature. A bigger surface area will mean more regular cleaning as more debris will accumulate. Low to the ground water features or water features near any trees, will also need more regular cleaning. During the summer months most water features benefit from regular cleaning once a month. You can also use a wildlife-safe water feature cleaner like Gardening Naturally Water Feature Cleaner which can be used to keep water features clean and it’s safe for children and wildlife.

Thank you for reading, if you would like to re-design your garden and include a beatiful water feature, please do contact us on info@heartwoodgardendesign.co.uk