Incorporating popular garden elements into the Middle East’s often harsh climate can seem like a complicated task requiring much consideration, but few landscaping concepts translate better than the simple pleasures found in the sight and sound of running water. From the gentle tinkle of a trickling stream to the atmospheric rush of a waterfall, water features immediately set the scene for your outdoor space as a retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation.

The advantages to adding an aquatic element to your garden don’t stop there however, as they also invite it to come alive with visits from local wildlife, supporting the natural ecosystem at work outside. Running water also improves air quality, making them fantastic for both healthy bodies and healthy minds. Easily adaptable to large and small spaces, they’re are not just limited to sprawling backyards; water features carefully chosen with consideration for their intended environment can be used in areas with limited greenery, courtyards and even balconies and roof gardens.

What’s more, most features are straightforward to maintain, requiring only a few minutes’ attention a week. In short, little elevates your outdoor realm as simply and effectively, offering a refreshing highlight to al fresco living. While aesthetically there are myriad possibilities to choose from, each with their own distinct appeal, here we explore three key themes to inspire the introduction of water features to your home...

Natural

1. Building blocks 

Using earthy materials like stone or clay and organic shapes with a rough, unfinished feel keep features from feeling overly processed. 

A spherical water feature adds a bold, sculptural element to a space.

2. Falling for it 

Try to incorporate cascading water, mimicking its movement in nature from a source to a destination. 

Stone slabs protruding from a rock wall provide an ideal overhang for water to flow. 

3. Tucked away 

Much like naturally occurring streams and brooks, water features that work to this theme benefit from being placed in amongst existing landscaping, rather than taking centre stage. 

Multiple levels graduate the rate of water fall in this landscaped stream. 

Traditional

1. Pick your inspiration 

Whether its Moorish or baroque, select the design influence you’re drawing on and avoid mixing it with other styles to maintain a focused aesthetic. 

A tranquil pool evokes old-world charm with its back wall painted in blue wash, featuring trickling water spouts amid climbing ivy. A small courtyard conjures Moroccan style with striking blue tiles decorating its star-shaped fountain, picked up by the steps behind it. 

2. Centre stage 

Traditional landscaping tends to make a focal point of its water features, so place them where the eye is likely to be immediately drawn. 

An elevated fountain in a mottled shade of green offsets its terracotta surroundings, creating shabby-chic appeal. 

3. Elegant elements 

Build your concept around historic motifs such as fountains, urns, statues and wall-mounted spouts. 

A simple concept of urns spouting water becomes an impressive feature when lined up within a pool flanked by leafy plants. 

4. Material world 

Ornate materials like marble, intricate tiling and plasterwork are favourites for traditional water features. 

Moulded plaster tiles embellish jets of water running from this garden wall.

Contemporary 

These steel cylinders echo shoots sprouting from the soil in a feature easily tucked away among the flowerbeds. Stepping stones over a peaceful pool provide an innovative way to travel through this garden's different levels. 

1. Cutting edge 

Select clean, sleek shapes to conjure a sense of minimalism - concrete is the perfect material for strong, modern lines. 

A unique water feature is incorporated into the garden furniture, a guaranteed conversation piece over an al fresco meal. A dramatic water wall creates curtains of the liquid that reflect its environment. 

2. Shining bright 

Features utilising metal, especially those with a reflective quality, add a space-age feel. 

Art and landscaping combine in this iron sculpture, contrasted by its bright backdrop.

3. Plant power 

It’s particularly important with contemporary designs to consider the role of greenery. Integrating the feature with existing foliage or bordering it with plants keeps modern elements from feeling too cold or isolated from the rest of the garden. 

A futuristic orb is an eye-catching choice of water feature, offering a new perspective on this outdoor space. 

Images by GAP/Shutterstock/Istock