Once they’ve been built, ponds generally tend to enjoy a fairly long life and form permanent features in the garden. Although garden fashions don’t tend to change with anything like the relentless certainty of the clothing business, change they do – and often how a pond is used alters over its lifespan too. The upshot of this is that, even if the rigours of standing out in all weathers, year after year haven’t made replacing it inevitable, sooner or later there will probably come a time when you’ll want to upgrade your fountain.
Depending on the type of feature you had originally, ringing the changes can often be a simple replacement, involving a minimum of disruption – but since it’s not a job you’re going to be doing very often, it’s worth considering using the opportunity to do something more radical. Although a big upgrade will obviously be a much larger undertaking, the end result will be with you for years to come – so you might as well have what you want – and with a little carefully planning, even major changes shouldn’t cause too much upheaval for long.
Everybody knows that having moving water in the garden adds a whole new dimension, which is, of course, why most fountains were built in the first place. Until recently, unless you were landscaping something the size of a stately home – and with a budget to match – all fountains were largely restricted to a set spray pattern. While this kind of arrangement certainly fulfilled the need for the sight and sound of flowing water, being fixed, it could never allow much in the way of variety. However, increasingly some very “showy” new systems are becoming available for home use at a price which won’t break the bank – and one of the most exciting is “fluidic control”.
Fluidics is a branch of technology all of its own, which – in a nut-shell – involves control systems which are non-electric, have no moving parts and are designed for use in difficult places, all of which makes it ideal for producing some amazingly dynamic fountain displays. These types of systems can control the water flow with great precision, allowing spray patterns from the simplest to the most sophisticated and complex to be achieved, with the added advantage that with no moving parts, maintenance is minimal. It is even possible to operate a fluidic fountain by remote control letting you – or your admiring guests – vary the display as you watch.
Whether you’re after a peaceful cycle of elegant spray-patterns or all-out water fireworks, your pond will never be the same again – but be warned, fluidics can be addictive and the only real limit to combining lots of units is your own imagination.
High-tech water displays are not, of course, to everyone’s taste. For many, the centre-piece of the fountain can be as important as the flow of water itself and one of the best ways to give your own fountain a very effective upgrade is to either change it, or give it a make-over. We often forget how much of a toll the weather takes on garden features, but there are now many purpose made cleaning products on the market which can soon revitalise even the most tired statue or ornament.
On the other hand, if your tastes have changed and you want a complete replacement, as well as the obvious sources such as garden centres and pond suppliers, it might be worth looking a little further a-field. The growing popularity of salvage and reclamation yards, for instance, means that many interesting old features which might once have simply been abandoned or ended up in a skip are able to get a new lease of life. If you have one of these architectural Aladdin’s caves nearby, it is certainly worth a quick visit if you’re after something a little more unusual for the middle of your pond.
The sight and sound of moving water adds so much to a garden, so it is important to make the most of it. Whether it involves no more than a bit of renovation or calls for much larger changes – with a little care and imagination you can revitalise your pond and change the whole feel of your garden. Upgrading your fountain is definitely one of those jobs that, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.