Small garden water feature ideas: 7 decorative designs for little backyards


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Oct 18, 2023

Small garden water feature ideas: 7 decorative designs for little backyards

When it comes to small garden water feature ideas, there are plenty of options

When it comes to small garden water feature ideas, there are plenty of options available. So, if you thought these decorative designs were only for larger plots, think again.

Even if you've only got a tiny patio to play with, you can still enjoy all the sensory benefits that water features have to offer if you opt for the right style. In fact, they can help pull your whole outdoor scheme together, making a gorgeous focal point for a courtyard or deck. They're not just lovely to look at – fountain designs will offer a soothing sound, too, which can also be handy for masking road noise. And, they're great for wildlife, attracting butterflies and birds – always a delight to watch.

From modern, multi-tiered, and even light-up looks, there's bound to be a small garden water feature that will fit your plot accordingly. We've rounded up some of our favorite designs below.

Whether you're going for a contemporary vibe, a calming Zen garden, or a miniature Mediterranean haven, these small garden water feature ideas will get you inspired for your own in no time.


Terracotta small garden water features are a winning choice for creating the air of a sun-soaked destination. And, as shown here, if you go for a design that takes up more vertical space than horizontal, you can slot it almost anywhere into your scheme.

This tiered look will create a relaxing trickle as the water continuously circulates, whilst the additional aquatic plants add to the rustic appeal. Positioned amongst a container garden, the scene feels harmonious. Go for a solar-powered pump to avoid the hassle of an outdoor plug.

With their sleek lines and metal exterior, water tables are another style that's becoming increasingly popular for modern gardens. They often include bubbling fountains which create relaxing ripples across the surface of the water, and some have LED lighting, too.

Whether you go for a square or rectangular design, these water features are perfect for small gardens. Surround with relaxed planting to soften the look – we like the contrast of verdant greens against Corten steel in this set-up. Alternatively, they can be used to subtly divide zones in a space or to bring additional interest to a seating area.

Multi-purpose features are ideal for small spaces, whether it's a fire pit that doubles up as a coffee table, a bench that lifts up for storage, or – as seen here – a planter that also works as an illuminated water feature. This design offers a miniature oasis that's bound to soothe the soul, and would work well in the smallest of gardens – including balconies.

The textural finish gives it a natural look that will complement all types of themes. For maximum ease, look for designs where no assembly is required: this one you simply need to plug in.

This chic round water feature oozes with serenity with its pale stone hue and makes a beautiful accent to a small garden border. Lupins, digitalis, and silvery-foliaged sage tie in with the design, while a tonal palette of purples and indigo blooms offsets the white beautifully. The result is a well-balanced and soothing display.

Of course, there are plenty of other garden color schemes that you can try to fit your individual style – from carnival brights and flame-colored flowers to minimal monochrome.

Speaking of soothing Zen gardens, sometimes less can be more in terms of water features. This striking yet minimal sphere is a case in point, with its granite-effect finish.

'A water feature is a great addition to a small space as it will provide a point of interest in a subtle way,' says Cox & Cox's Product and Creative Director Dani Taylor. 'Ours are simply plug in and go, so making them an addition to your outdoor space couldn't be easier. Our Sphere water feature is the perfect example of this.'

Mixing up the materials when it comes to your small garden water feature ideas is a reliable way to make a striking statement. Take this style above, for instance, which will add tons of character to a patio or deck.

The cascading blade of water creates a stunning waterfall effect and there are lights installed too, meaning the display can be enjoyed even when night falls. It's also lightweight, so it's easy to move around should you wish, or take with you if you move house. A great pick for a contemporary plot.

At 14.8in (37.5cm) tall, this small-yet-perfectly-formed water feature has a timeless stacked design that will complement all kinds of garden schemes. The sight of the water gently tumbling across the levels will soothe any onlooker, and you can bet that visiting birds and butterflies will love it too.

It's another style that can contribute to your outdoor lighting, as it offers a warm glow as evening draws in. A few potted plants around the perimeter would make a lovely finishing touch.

From metal to stone styles plus more, these small garden water feature ideas will boost the sensory appeal of even the tiniest courtyard, patio or deck