Contrary to what many might think, the term ‘dog days’ did not originate from people trying to keep their dogs cool on hot summer days. It is actually the Roman reference to the ‘Dog Star’ Sirius which is the brightest star in the Canis Major (Large Dog) constellation seen on hot summer nights in July and August.
As we approach the “dog days” of summer, it's not too late to create a refreshing oasis with water features and plenty of cool shade in your private outdoor living spaces. Water features offer an ambiance of sophisticated leisure, and a focal point for any outdoor design, while giving you a special place to relax to the soothing sounds water brings.
Here’s some tips for using water features to create the perfect oasis in your backyard.
• Choose a focal point: Water features usually become the center of attention in most yards. Choose from a cascading waterfall, still reflecting pool, or boulder edged stream bed that existing landscape will complement instead of overwhelm.
• Make a Plan: Want a trickle of water or a cascading fall? Look for features that conform with the landscaping you already have in place and support how you use your space now and potentially in the future. Can you build a waterfall into a retaining wall vs. a free standing feature that could interfere with future traffic patterns.
• Design to scale: Know your limits. When you add new features, keep them in line with your existing landscape and features. Just because you love the thought of a reflecting pool the size of Lake Michigan, doesn't mean your yard is the right fit. Water features should be small to complement tiny spaces, or large enough to stand out in more ample sized backyards.
• Add some accents: Some fun accents to complement a permanent water feature include glass bowls or vases filled with water and floating accents from nature, such as water lettuce and wildflowers.
So instead of staying indoors to escape the heat during this year’s “dog days,” create a refreshing oasis just outside your door that everyone and their dog will enjoy.