Winter Water Features

March 22, 2011

This, from the files of ‘why didn’t I think of that before!?!’

Winter Gardens are, to some, an oxymoron.  I tend to disagree, but they certainly take on a differnet vibe than the lush green of summer.  Certainly not as much is going on, but there could be more.

There is a great landscape professional news group that helps each other out here in New England and this morning someone posted a question about designing water features – not just for summer pleasure – but more significantly for interesting winter enjoyment.  This particular client – a mechanical engineer (of course 😉 )  thought to create something in the winter will be an evolving thing of beauty as the water freezes.

frozen fountain in paris

The idea of designing water features to consider winter ice structures just simply has never crossed my mind.  And why not?  When I was kid there was this fabulous water feature near my house (actually in the summer is was kinda boring and lame) that froze every winter.  The water generally continued to flow even as the ice sculpture could be as high as maybe 20 feet.  I remember looking out for it every time we drove into the city of Denver from my house (for you Denver people, you might remember the condo complex that played host to this feature on the north side of Leetsdale right about where it goes around the bend and becomes Parker Road…but I’m think it might not exist anymore)

garden sculpture with ice frozen

As I am thinking about how one might design this thing, I am remembering two key things about this particular feature.  First, it had multiple spouts of water, so the ice forms played off each other and as water deflected and splashed, it  froze it interesting and constantly evolving configurations.  Never the same twice.  And second, it was right out in the open, and the water shot pretty high….making it susceptible to the changing wind, which also made for a constantly evolving sculpture.   So there you have it (along with this collection of inspirational images)….my two thoughts on designing a winter interest water feature….which I think is a tremendous idea.  Do you have anything to add?

images from beanythebean, garden visit, stacy, the inside stori, and  american greetings,

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