The soft splash of a fountain or the beauty of a fish pond brings life and motion to a backyard. Along with adding visual interest, a water feature can create energy as well as the sensation of peace and tranquility to your yard.

“Not only is it a home improvement, but it is also a lifestyle enhancement,” said Jeff Mansen, owner of Berkshire Water Gardens. Mansen has been designing and creating a wide range of waterscapes throughout the First Coast for more than a decade.

Jeff Mansen

If you feel your yard is lacking a certain something, a water feature may be the answer to bring new life to your surroundings. Water features can be flowing, swirling or still and small, medium and large. But what is the best way to decide what is best for you and your home?

While there are endless possibilities in using water to enhance your surroundings, there are many things to consider before deciding to add a water feature to your home or yard. Mansen is an expert at helping homeowners decide what type of water feature will best complement their home and lifestyle.

Here are Mansen’s Top Five Recommendations:

  • Determine what you want. What type of water feature do you want? Do you want a pond or a pondless waterfall? A pondless waterfall requires less maintenance and upkeep than a pond. Most pond owners have to spend more time getting the plants and animals in their pond established and taking special care so that they continue to thrive.
  • Decide on all of the elements you want. What items do you want to complement your water feature? Are you going to be satisfied with just a pond or a waterfall? Or do you want to enhance the flowing or still water with landscaping and plants, lighting or a patio or seating area to maximize your enjoyment? Adding lighting requires electricity. While more elements will make a water feature spectacular, it will also increase the cost.
  • Set a budget. Like any home improvement, the possibilities are endless but often budgets are not. It is possible to add a water feature to your home that fits your budget. There are options if you can’t afford to put a lot of money into it right now. You may need to start out with a smaller, less elaborate project and add additional elements as time goes on.
  • Select a location. Choosing the right location will ensure your long-term satisfaction. You don’t want to position a water feature where you can’t see it and enjoy it from your home. Whether it is the main attraction in your front yard or located in a special place in the back, it’s vital that the water feature is also enjoyed from a favorite view inside of the home.
  • Care and upkeep. Every element of your home requires regular maintenance including water features. They have to be regularly maintained to keep their beauty. Keep in mind adding a water feature may result in increased electrical costs. If the water pump breaks or stops working, it will have to be repaired or replaced. While most people believe adding a water feature to their home is a rewarding purchase and wise investment, some may decide it is not worth the additional cost and effort.

Mansen adds his best advice is to make sure the water feature is properly built. He estimates about 25 percent of his business are rebuilds. “A water feature is beautiful when it is done right,” Mansen said. “When it is done wrong, it is the biggest hassle.”

Visit for more details and ideas.