Technology in the garden - solar water features

A bubbling water feature glistening in the sun on a hot summer’s day adds a cooling and calming dimension to a garden.  And with technological advancements, these can now be solar-powered, giving you the benefits of moving water without the hassle of connecting to the mains electricity.  As well as being practical, they’re also a cheaper and more eco-friendly option and are great for attracting wildlife.

Solar water features get their power from sunlight via solar panels, which convert the sun's energy into electricity to operate the pump and fountain, making it less expensive and more sustainable than electric-powered water features.  You can either have panels attached to the fountain itself in which case the feature needs to be in the sunniest spot in your garden, otherwise you can have a separate solar panel connected by a cable, that can be in sun while the water feature can be placed amongst lush shade planting.  There are models with back-up batteries so that it can keep going for longer after dark.

There’s plenty of choice of choice in terms of the water features you choose.  Multi-tiered sculptures allow water to flow from layer to layer and make a statement.  A simple bird bath, water bowl or urn with a solar-powered fountain can be nestled into the planting.  Sphere-shaped designs where the water cascades down the sides work well and suit more contemporary gardens and wall-mounted water features look great if you have a nice wall in the sun, especially if it has an antique feel to it.

Alternatively, you could convert your own pot - terracotta works well.  Make sure it’s watertight by sealing any cracks.  Then install a solar-powered water pump kit, placing the pump in the container and the nozzle or spray head to the correct height.  Put the solar panel in a location that receives enough sunlight such as on a nearby wall or on the ground.  Connect the necessary wires and tubes to the solar panel pump to the water outlet.  You may need a water reservoir or a tray for your water feature depending on the style you opt for.

Solar water features are easy to maintain, but you’ll need to make sure the solar panels stay clean and change or refresh the water removing any leaves and debris that could block the pump.  It might take a bit of adjusting to get the water flow and light levels right but once that's done, it’s sure to be an addition to your garden that you’ll love.