Summer’s fast approaching, and we’ve been thinking about getting our gardens ready for the sunniest season. One of easiest ways to pep up your outdoor space is with the addition of a water feature. As well as adding an interesting visual spectacle, water features bring with them the relaxing sound of trickling water. And if you choose a water feature with LEDs, the magic will keep on flowing long after the sun sets. To get us in the mood, we’ve picked out some of the world’s most amazing water features; when designers have space bigger than the average back garden to play with, the results can be truly spectacular.
- Waterfall Clock, Osaka Station City, Japan
You could be excused for missing your train when the clock in the station is as mesmerising as this, Located in a busy square at Osaka’s main train station, this staggering water feature displays the time, images, patterns and text in drops of water. Using ‘Space Printer technology’ from local fountain firm KOEI, the spectacle is controlled by computer, giving the drops of water perfect accuracy of up to 1/100 of a second.
2. Swarovski Kristallwelten, Wattens, Austria
This giant’s head fountain is the gateway to Swarovski Kristallwelten (Crystal Worlds) in the Austrian Tyrol. Designed by Andre Heller to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Swarovski glass crystal company in 1995, the museum / theme park is an ode to crystals. Inside the giant’s head are 18 ‘chambers of wonder’, featuring work by internationally-renowned artists. Other attractions include the ‘Crystal Cloud’, a garden installation featuring 800,000 shimmering crystals, a restaurant and Roman ruins. The entrance to all the magic is heralded by this stunning waterfall, complete with crystal eyes.
3. Fountain of Wealth, Suntec City, Singapore
This breathtaking bronze fountain is the hub of Suntec City, one of Singapore’s biggest shopping malls. Here. water flows inwards, representing the retention of wealth. But as well as wealth, in Chinese culture, water represents life, and the shape of the structure symbolises the Hindu Mandala. The fountain is a nod to harmony of different races and religions living in Singapore. Standing at a staggering 13.8 metres tall with a circumference of 66 metres, it was recognised in the 1998 Guinness Book of Records as the biggest fountain in the world.
4. Tunnel of Surprises, Lima, Peru
This impressive fountain the Peruvian capital is part of the Circuito Mágico del Agua (Magic Water Circuit), an entire park dedicated to awesome water features. The Magic Water Circuit boasts 13 different watery attractions, but perhaps the most exciting is this one. Measuring 38 metres long, the ‘Tunnel of Surprises’ lets you walk beneath powerful arcs of water that together create an unusual walkway. At night, it is lit up for added majesty.
5. Charybdis, Sunderland, UK
Next on the list is somewhere a little less exotic: just down the road from us, near Sunderland. Designed by water artist William Pye, this incredible Vortex feature is located in the grounds of the plush Seaham Hotel and Spa. This ingenious fountain is encased in an acrylic sheet cylinder, making it look like a solid chunk of water is sprouting out of the ground. The name of the feature comes from a Greek myth, in which Charybdis, a siren, was turned into a whirlpool by Zeus.
6. Waterfall Swing, New York, USA
Possibly the most fun of all the water features in this article is the Waterfall Swing. The tall steel frame is linked to a computer that reacts to the movement of the swings to ensure riders never get wet. This computer also controls the ‘water writing’ function, similar to the one on the clock in Osaka, making words and images appear in the water. You’ll be lucky to catch a ride on the Waterfall Swing, though, as it travels around exhibitions. This footage was taken at the World Maker Faire in New York back in 2011.
7. Moonlight Rainbow Fountain, Banpo, South Korea
Welcome to the world’s longest bridge fountain. Measuring a lengthy 1140 metres, this ostentatious display in downtown Seoul turns an everyday bridge into a mesmerising attraction. Banpodaegyo Bridge is a double-decker bridge spanning the River Han in the centre of the South Korean Capital. Every evening between April and October, it springs into life as 380 nozzles along its edge blast water up to 30 metres into the river below. Add in 10,000 LED lights and a movement to music feature and you’ve got one awesome water feature.
8. Jet D’eau, Lake Geneva, Switzerland
This landmark fountain in Lake Geneva can be viewed from the air at a height of 10,000 feet, thanks to its colossal size. 500 litres of water per second are blasted a massive 140 metres into the air. Jet D’eau was never intended to be a water feature; it was originally installed nearby as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network in 1886. Before long, people were flocking to watch it, and it was moved to its present day site (and made much bigger) to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation.
9. Floating Fountains, Osaka, Japan
It’s back to Osaka for number 9 on our list, the magnificent Nine Floating Fountains. Designed by Isamu Noguchi for the World Expo held in the city in 1970, this extravaganza of jaw-dropping fountains wowed the world. Perhaps the most impressive fountains in the installation were these two optical illusion cubes. They appear to be suspended in the air as they dump illuminated water into the lake below. In actual fact, the cubes are attached to strong pipes which are concealed by the flow of water.
10. The Dubai Fountain
This is the Dubai Fountain, and it’s the world’s tallest performing fountain. It was designed by the aptly-named WET company, who also created the world-famous Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas. Standing proudly on the manmade Burj Khalifa Lake, the Dubai Fountain boasts some pretty impressive stats: it’s 275 metres long and shoots water at a height of just over 150 metres, it cost $218 million dollars to build, it can spray 83,000 litres of water into the air at any moment and is lit by more than 6600 lights. The singing, dancing fountain puts on breathtaking choreographed shows to classical and contemporary music.
Feeling inspired? You might not be able to compete with these incredible fountains and waterfalls in your back yard, but you can still impress your guests with a water feature. Whether you go for a water table, a water wall or the still simplicity of a water bowl, the addition of a water feature will transform the look and feel of your garden. Check out our full range here.