People have been comforted, moved, soothed, and inspired by water since the beginning of time. Studies show that people who live near large bodies of water, like the ocean, a waterfall, or even lakes and streams, are healthier and feel better. Scientists and researchers say theyre not sure why being around water soothes us, and helps our mental health, but it does. Its one reason why so many of us want to live near water, have a swimming pool, or even a large water feature in or around our home.

People do love water features, especially large ones, said New York architect Stuart Narofsky. Narofsky specializes in designing and installing large water features around the country. People want larger features for a variety of reasons, he explained. Among the top reasons people want waterfalls, troughs, and water features is for the comfort water brings. They also like having a unique feature that gives their home increased value and curbside appeal.

One recent installation Narofsky finished is a long water trough that leads visitors around the home to the entranceway. Its unique, and playful, and adds a lot of interest to the home which is primarily geometric and modern.

While design and installation costs can range from thousands to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for complex or elaborate features, Narofsky said the questions homeowners need to ask themselves stay the same:

What do I want or expect to gain from the water feature?

Smaller, non-permanent water features can easily be removed if the owner or new owner doesnt want them anymore. Consider size, permanence, and impact on the value of your home before deciding on a large installation. Talk to your realtor to see if a permanent water feature will enhance or hurt the value of your home.

What will the feature I want cost?

Like any home renovation, large water features are an investment. Most homeowners dont have the DIY or design skills to design or build a large water feature. Theres plumbing, electrical if you have lighting, and a variety of permits and structural considerations you have to consider, Narofsky said. Add design costs, excavation, and construction costs and its easy to see how even a simple water feature can cost more than a simple DIY fountain. Be realistic about what you can afford. Consider installing the feature in stages, or buying a pre-designed water feature at a pool, big box store, or other company that makes, delivers and installs small to medium features.

Do I live in a part of the country where the feature can be used year-round?

Florida, California, and most of the southern and western states have mild climates where water features can be enjoyed year round. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures exist much of the year, consider a design that will still be pleasing even if it needs to be drained or dry part of the year.

How much maintenance will the feature I want require?

Water features, no matter how simple, still require maintenance. Leaves and […]

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