LIGHT, SIGHT, SOUND – STIMULATING THE SENSES
Water features are so versatile and numerous in style that they now frequent both public places and in residential homes and gardens. They’re an asset to a range of outdoor spaces because of this diversity – hitting all the senses with their visual appearance, the sounds they produce, the scents and the soft flow of water. In this blog I explore how water features in the garden stimulate the senses – and explain how they can be incorporated in spaces of all shapes and sizes in a number of innovative ways.
This installation in Manchester (featured on Alan Titchmarsh’s ITV series Love Your Garden) is a perfect example of how a water feature can work cohesively with ambient lighting to produce a stunning visual effect. Scarlet, violet and creamy white spotlighting has been strategically placed to combine beautifully with foliage, stone and the water feature itself, as the metal and water reflect the light.
At two metres high by three metres wide, this feature could be imposing and dominant, or it could make a significant statement with its powerful solid appearance. The impression a water feature of this size gives depends largely on your garden designer as well as the perception of others. Here the curved stainless steel structure is set off against a soft red feature wall (this is best to accentuate the presence of the installation whilst avoiding over-emphasis) and also combines with other elements in the surrounding space to achieve a perfect balance between the feature and the softness of surrounding plants, atmospheric lighting and gentle flow of the water.
The soft trickling or flowing of water is undoubtedly calming and soothing – and this is often what makes water features a popular choice when deciding the key elements of a garden. In studies these sounds have been shown to have an evocative effect psychologically, influencing brain activity in a positive way. In an installation like this water runs almost silently over glass or metal, eliminating any potentially irritating ‘dripping’ noise which many find unpalatable.
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