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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WATER FEATURES FOR THE GARDEN (article first published : 2001-10-21)

Step-by-Step Practical Guides series have brought out a new publication titled Water Features for the Garden by Alan and Gill Bridgewater which includes 16 easy-to-build projects. The authors, who live in East Sussex in a town with the intriguing name of Battle, have gained an international reputation as producers of woodworking and DIY books on a range of subjects and they also contribute to various DIY magazines in North America and the UK.

The sound of trickling water is supposed to be conducive to a restful soul, in which case we should all have water features in our homes and our gardens. At a visit to Montecasino the other day, I spotted a tiny marble water feature which would have fitted comfortably on my dressing table so you don’t have to think of these objects as taking up large amounts of space.

This book, however, is directed towards placing features in the garden but I don’t believe it’s for your average gardener. This requires someone with skilled handyman abilities and knowledge although this is disputed in the introduction. I grew up with a handyman father so am more informed than most but I don’t think I’d attempt these water features without some help! I also think that the botanical names of the plants suggested in the line drawings would have been useful.

The authors have provided details and examples of the equipment and implements required. They have also presented clear illustrations of each process and most of the photography is by Ian Parsons. The projects are attractively presented and certainly prompts a contemplative look at the garden with a “where could I put one?” air.

There are many different ideas featured such as the sculptural Copper Spiral Spray and the Copper Cascade for a modern and contemporary garden.

The Rocky Cascade invokes a beautiful mountain spring in miniature and in total contrast you could produce a hi-tech Glass Waterfall suitable for townhouse courtyards.

The quirky Perpetual Water Tap will keep people guessing, especially for those of us obsessed with turning the tap off. Certainly this would indicate a gardener with a sense of humour and a thick skin to ward off barbed comments about people who waste water!

The Japanese Deer Scarer lends tranquility to a Japanese-inspired garden and the “clunk” sounds offers a pleasing continuum. My favourite is the Wine Bottle Spray Fountain. This is highly innovative and a good incentive to try wine in interesting glass bottles. All in the interests of an eco-friendly project, naturally!

Suppliers around the world are featured at the back of the book, among them outlets in all major South African cities as well as a handy glossary and conversion chart.

The softcover publication retails at R129,95 and is also available in Afrikaans as Stap vir Stap Waterverfraaiings vir die Tuin - Cherry MacIldowie




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