The winter cold still hangs in the air, but it’s not too early to think about your garden. Before the buying frenzy sets in, why not get ahead of the crowd and find yourself the perfect water feature?
Solar-powered water features for your garden are convenient because they don’t rely on electric batteries, which are prone to rust, leaking and water damage. Garden water features vary enormously in size, style, function, and cost, so we’ve collated some of the best options available for your garden in 2024.
Best Solar Powered Water Features:
We think these are some of the best features currently on the market, whatever garden you have – though the choice is up to you and relies on the aesthetic you want to achieve.
1 Solar Garden Fountain Bird Baths:
These are some of the most rewarding solar water features to add to your garden. Why? Because they serve the dual purpose of attracting local bird species to your garden and standing as an eye-catching garden centrepiece. High-end models are designed to be more weather-resistant and damage-proof – or even to attract different species of wildlife.
- Pros: Attracts birds, provides water for drinking and bathing, adds stylish flourish to your garden.
- Cons: It may require extra cleaning to prevent algae growth and a bit clunky for smaller gardens.
Average price range: £11-£50. Brands: Smart Solar, Solar Pond, Goodeco, Primrose & many more.
2 Solar Pond Lily Pad Pump:
These quirky devices add a touch of life to ponds. They effectively create water movement, mimicking natural conditions and aerating the water to benefit pond life. Some versions spray water high into the air, while others gently expel water and gently ripple the pond surface. Even better, these lily pad pumps prevent algae buildup and reduce the need for pond cleaning (an unpleasant job!).
- Pros: Improves water quality, simulates natural pond environment, enhances visual appeal, reduces excess algae and stagnation.
- Cons: Requires a pre-existing pond; some are not powerful enough to benefit large ponds.
Average price range: £10-£30. Brands: AMZtime, AISITIN & more.
3 Solar Cascading Fountain:
Cascading water features are an elegant adaptation of the traditional fountain feature. Usually built into water-holding layers, they gradually transfer water up and down the installation – and offer the therapeutic sound of gently running water. Their advantage is their appearance and unobtrusive nature, making them an excellent garden centrepiece.
- Pros: Elegant designs abound, and the calming sound of water draws visual attention and appreciation.
- Cons: Requires a stable base, more expensive than other options, and often larger too.
Average price range: £30-£150. Brands: SZMP, Gardenwize, BTGGG & many more.
Water Fountains by Garden Sanctuary:
Best Features for Small Gardens
Smaller gardens require a more creative approach to water features since many options may dominate the garden space or make it the unwanted centre of attention. These are some of the best options if you want a tasteful installation for a small garden.
1 Solar Wall-Mounted Water Feature:
Wall-mounted water features are a great way to get around the ‘small garden’ problem. Most are designed to sit up against a wall or in a corner. That way, they can add to the ambience without hogging space. Many of these features look like classic fountains but are contained in a smaller space and require less power to run well.
- Pros: Space-saving solution, suits for balconies and patios, huge variety of designs.
- Cons: Limited & gentle water flow, much less visually arresting than more prominent features. Despite their size, many are quite expensive.
Average price range: £35-£175. Brands: Kingfisher, Gardman, Solaray.
2 Solar Powered Birdbath & Feeder:
This design saves space by combining a bird/wildlife feeder gently trickling water. This delightful option is often economical, and looks attractive when the feeder space is designed to house plants and flowers.
- Pros: Multifunctional, attracts diverse bird species and other wildlife, and promotes a biodiverse garden.
- Cons: Requires plenty of cleaning and refilling, may not be suitable for small gardens with limited sunlight.
Average price range: £15-£40+. Brands: Mason & Jones, Denny Shop, Petlicity & many more.
Best Features for Large Gardens
Many people think that large gardens are the best location to use grandiose water features and impressive installations. However, you’ll still need to consider the best solar fountains for your large garden. For example, it may require a more expensive and powerful lily-pad style fountain for large bodies of water, where smaller products won’t work.
1 Solar-Powered Pond-less Waterfall:
Create a dramatic focal point in a large garden using a solar-powered, pond-less waterfall. These self-contained features recirculate water, eliminating the need for a pond, and offer a satisfying cascade of water. They are a bold statement to make, with an equally bold price tag. However, they look neat and are easy to maintain after the initial setup.
- Pros: Makes a bold statement, low maintenance, attracts attention.
- Cons: Requires more space, a more complex setup process, and much more expense.
Average price range: £150-£1500. Brands: Aquascape, Blue Bay, Hozelock & many more.
2 Solar-Powered Fountain with Light:
Why not illuminate your garden with a solar pump-powered fountain featuring built-in LED lights or tasteful backlighting? These products offer the calming sound of water during the day and attempt to create a zen-like ambience at night.
- Pros: Dual functionality creates visual interest day and night, suitable for entertaining.
- Cons: Requires additional cleaning for the lights, is more expensive than standard fountains, and LED lights can look tacky on some products. You will need a large and bright product to be noticed at night in a large garden.
Average price range: £15-£250. Brands: Primrose, Smart Solar, Blumfeldt, KETOTEK & more.
Tips on solar water feature maintenance:
- Consider the size of your garden, sunlight availability, and your personal preferences when choosing a solar-powered water feature.
- Regularly clean and maintain your feature to ensure optimal performance and prevent algae growth.
- Check the water level regularly, especially during hot weather, as solar panels may lose efficiency when not submerged.
Other factors to consider:
Product cost and garden size are not the only things to consider. Here’s a few points to consider before you invest in a water feature.
- Material choice: Solar-powered water features come in various materials like plastic, resin, stainless steel, and stone. Choose a material that complements your garden’s style and is durable enough for outdoor use. You also want one which you’re safely able to move into place.
- Backup batteries: It’s handy to buy a product with battery backup, especially if your garden doesn’t get much light!
- Static or moveable?: Small water features are often easy enough to move about, but it’s not always the same for large, expensive features. If you want to take your bespoke water feature with you when you move home, ensure it’s possible to disassemble or move it first.
- Product assembly: Some features require minimal assembly, while others are much more complex. Consider your DIY skills and available time so you don’t overcommit to a project you can’t install.
- Safety concerns: Cheap solar-powered water features are not always the safest. If you have young children or pets, opt for features with rounded edges, stable bases and a durable material.
Other options besides solar-powered water features
Remember, you can also create unique water features by combining individual components. For example, pair a solar power fountain pump with a decorative basin or build a DIY waterfall using rocks and a solar-powered pump. If you’ve got the skills, time and knowledge, you can create your own water features on a budget.
If you want to find the best solar water feature for your garden, it’s best to get one while the prices are cheap and the sun isn’t shining. You can find a comprehensive spread of options on Amazon, B&M, local garden centres and specialist stores.