Garden & Lawn

8 Best Self-Contained Water Features – Comparison & Reviews

Last updated on June 9th, 2022

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Have you ever stopped and listened to your garden? Stand in your garden or outdoor space, close your eyes, and concentrate on what you can hear. Would gently running water add a welcome auditory element to the relaxing environment? Or perhaps the trickle of water would provide a white-noise background that overlays the sound of traffic or your neighbour’s lawnmower. A self-contained water feature provides both the sound and view of water outdoors with a minimum of upkeep and maintenance. Many of the water features we review come with lighting that adds ambient light to the darker hours for an even more relaxing atmosphere in the evening.

Our review of the Best Self-Contained Water Features looks at a variety of the models available, some powered by electricity and others by solar power. The variety of styles offers a selection that covers any garden design or patio décor. We list the pros and cons of each water feature and then discuss the elements, along with our recommendations. Our Buyer’s Guide provides an overview of the general elements of self-contained water features and some of the options available.

Our choice for Best Self-Contained Water Feature is the Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights. The minimalist style of this unit suits any garden and the resin stone provides a natural look to the feature.

The Runner-up in our review is the Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature. This is a whimsical style with ducks gathered under a tap and the water stream coming down from the tap into a bucket and overflowing into the pool at the bottom. 


Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Water Feature with White LED Lights
The Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Water Feature with White LED Lights is a study in minimalist geometric and organic shapes. Made of lightweight resin-stone, this water feature has three bowls through which water cascades gently down. The pump is a low voltage which means you have a lower running cost that contributes to your enjoyment of this water feature. The lower two bowls are lit by white LED lights under the water in them for a hint of a glow during the day and warm ambient light in the evening and night hours. This is the garden water feature for you if you appreciate simple design and elegance and the look of natural material.


Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights
The Direct Global Trading Duck Family Water Feature with Lights is both playful and whimsical. The natural-looking scene of a family of ducks at play fits in well in a family garden or one with a natural design. Made of durable and lightweight resin, this water feature has LED lights in the pond basin to add a soothing glow to the water in non-daylight hours. The low-voltage pump is cost-efficient and the 10-meter power cord is long enough to reach from the patio or garden to an outside power outlet. If you appreciate a touch of whimsy in your garden or want to buy a water feature for your kids, this one is a great choice.

Looking for a more compact indoor tabletop fountain? – Check out my review where I have compared some of the best indoor water features

8 Best Self-Contained Water Features Reviews

1. Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights


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Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Water Feature with White LED Lights

The Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights is an elegant water feature that fits into any contemporary or classic garden design. Its textured stone appearance gives a natural look to the feature while its simplicity of form is minimalist and won’t compete with any other structures or accessories you have in your garden.

Within its uncluttered style, the Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade provides three bowls of cascading water to give a gentle sound of flowing water. The water flows from the top bowl through the middle bowl to the larger bottom bowl and then returns unseen to the top again. This self-contained water feature needs minimal maintenance and only regularly scheduled cleaning. The bottom two bowls have white LED lights in them that give a warm glow to both the stone appearance of the bowls and to the water itself. There’s no on/off switch for the lights so they’re on as long as the water feature is plugged in.

This is a lightweight water feature made of resin and it’s easy to move around. The plastic resin is both weatherproof and durable so handles most weather well, even colder days. But feel free to move it indoors to have the sound of falling water in your conservatory or sunroom during the winter.

The pump and lights are included in your purchase, as is a 10 metre power cable. Unless you use an extension cord, you’re limited to where you place the water feature outdoors – the cable may not reach all the way across your lawn. The manufacturer states that it’s easy to assemble this unit though some online reviews state that the instructions are not comprehensive enough. As always, double-check the water feature’s size as you may want to place it on a table or bench in your garden to view it in its best light.


  • Three round bowls stacked on a simple angular geometric shape highlight a Japanese style and simplicity.
  • Made from resin-stone that’s weatherproof and durable.
  • Fully self-contained so you don’t need to hook it up to a water supply.
  • White LED lights are built into the bottom two bowls and give a warm glow at nighttime.
  • The easy assembly needs no tools.
  • Pump, lights and 10m of the power cable are included.
  • Dimensions: 49cm (height) and 31cm (width and depth).
  • Lightweight design when empty at only 11kg.


  • Instructions are not enough.

Our recommendation

The Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights adds a sense of calm and tranquillity to your garden and is our favourite pick. Its minimalist style and natural stone appearance suit any garden design (except perhaps rustic) and the white LED lights in the lower two bowls give a warm welcoming glow to the water all day and night long. The gentle sound of cascading water may even lull you to sleep on your patio especially if you are relaxing in your sun lounger.

We like the Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Water Feature for its simplicity of style, its elegance and its low voltage pump. We’ve made it our Best Pick of Self-Contained Water features and I’m sure many of our readers will agree it’s well deserved.

This is your best choice if you’re looking for a water feature for a classic or contemporary garden that’s subtly styled in a durable material that looks like natural stone. And is at a reasonable price.

Read next: Look for the Best Sphere Water Features? – read my review here

Read next: See our top recommended sun lounger in this review

2. Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights 


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Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights

The Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights is a water feature that makes adults smile and kids run up to touch the duck figures. Water streams from the old-fashioned tap down into a bucket in which a duckling is flapping around and then onto the pond at the bottom. The parent duck and sibling ducklings play around and in the pond. It’s a family scene that suits a family garden.

This is a fully self-contained water feature made of resin-stone. However, some online reviewers say that the stream of water that comes down from the tap can be blown haywire in windy weather but this is fairly common with water features. Either switch off the water feature in wind storms or check the water levels after windy weather to ensure that there’s enough there to run the pump safely. 

Unlike our Best Pick in which the finish of the water feature is of carved stone, this finish looks like hewn natural rock, for a realistic back-to-nature scene. The resin-stone is both lightweight and weatherproof. You don’t have to worry about leaving the feature out in the cooler months. It’s easy to assemble this garden feature and the kids would love to help.

The LED lights are under the water in the pond area. They’re on all the time the water feature is, even during the daytime. The glow they give off is barely noticeable during the day and is much more visible in the evening and night hours. The lights are included with the unit, as is a low-voltage pump and 10m of electric cable. The low-voltage pump is an economical way to run the water feature.


  • Fully self-contained, just replenish the water as it evaporates.
  • Made from resin-stone for a realistic look and durability.
  • Assembly is quick and doesn’t need any tools.
  • A power cord (10m), lights and a low-voltage pump are included.
  • LED lights positioned under the water add a warm glow to the feature.
  • Dimensions: 56cm (height).


  • Water stream from tap blown off course in windy weather.

Our recommendation

The Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights is a welcoming addition to a family garden. The scene of a family of ducks splashing around in a pond of water, fed by an overflowing tap, is made of lightweight and durable resin-stone moulded to look like natural rock. The LED lights under the water in the pond give off a glow all the time the water feature is on and is especially visible at night time. This fun and heart-warming scene add a touch of whimsy to your garden, as well as the relaxing sound of water.

We like the Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights for its playfulness, kid-friendly story and its natural look. We’ve made this self-contained water feature the Runner-up in this best water feature review.

This garden water feature is for you if you want to introduce (or continue) an element of playfulness in your garden to make people smile.

Read next: Best solar-powered water features

3. Friendship Fountain Water Feature with Halogen Lights 109cm by Ambienté

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Friendship Fountain Water Feature with Halogen Lights 109cm by Ambienté

The Friendship Fountain Water Feature with Halogen Lights is the most contemporary-looking of the water features in our review. It looks like a piece of modern sculpture and, at 109cm high, it exudes a presence in your modern or contemporary garden. You won’t want to hide this water feature behind bushes. 

Except for the square base, all the shapes in this resin water feature are rounded in some way. From the sphere at the top through the curved supports at the sides to the round bowl at the bottom, this water feature is elegant to the max.

The high-quality resin is lightweight and UV and frost resistant. In this water structure, the resin has a bronze coloured granite stone effect which adds to the warmth of its appearance. Resin is a durable material well suited for the ups and downs of the UK climate. However, you may want to take the water feature indoors to soothe you through the winter months.

You don’t see much of the water that’s in the top bowl, but the water in the bottom two bowls is illuminated by built-in halogen lights. These give a warm, amber look to both the interior of the bowl and the water there. There’s no on/off switch for the lights and they glow as long as the water feature itself is turned on. The water feature is self-contained, so just top up the water level as needed (or fully after cleaning).

Assembly of the Friendship Fountain Water Feature is straightforward, though online reviewers report that the assembly instructions don’t explain enough which is a common complaint with many models. Your purchase includes the lights, pump and a 10m power cord. 


  • Contemporary design looks like a piece of modern sculpture.
  • Water exits the top two bowls from a series of three copper-coloured spouts for visual and auditory interest.
  • Constructed from high-quality polyresin that’s resistant to weather and is long-lasting.
  • Fully self-contained needs no additional reservoir or supply of water.
  • Halogen lights are built into the lower two bowls for day-long illumination.
  • Year-long use because it is suitable for both outdoors and indoors.
  • Lights, pump and 10m power cord are included.
  • Assembly consists of removing from the box, adding water and plugging it in – simple.
  • Dimensions: 109cm (height); 48cm (width) and 39cm (depth).
  • Weighs 8kg.


  • Poor assembly instructions.

Our recommendation

The Friendship Fountain Water Feature with Halogen Lights is an eye-catching garden accessory that looks like a piece of sculpture in its own right.

Its design is of rounded edges that fit into a garden of organic design or contrast vividly with a geometric garden landscape. It exudes warmth through its bronze-coloured granite stone finish and the amber glow of the halogen lights. The resin construction is both lightweight, durable and resistant to UV rays and frost. 

This is our selection for you if you appreciate contemporary design and want a statement-making garden water feature.

Read next: Best raised ponds for fish and pond plants

4. Peaktop VFD8179-UK Icy Stone 2-Tier Waterfall Water Fountain

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Peaktop VFD8179-UK Icy Stone 2-Tier Waterfall Water Fountain

The Peaktop VFD8179-UK Icy Stone 2-Tier Waterfall Water Fountain looks like the water feature you see in the middle of circular driveways of large British manor houses. The water in this traditional-style fountain bubbles out of a hidden opening at the top, runs down into a small bowl and then cascades quite spectacularly into the larger, lower dish. Just what you’d expect from this time-honoured design.

This Peaktop 2-Tier Waterfall Fountain is made of resin to be lightweight and durable. It’s textured in a light grey colour to resemble concrete and has some design on it. Some online reviewers state that the colour is too uniform and so doesn’t look realistic, but it’s nothing that some DIY painting couldn’t put right.

The manufacturer says that this fountain is suitable for use both indoors and outdoors. However, the power cable that comes with it is very short, according to some customers who have left reviews online. You may need to consider purchasing a waterproof cable connector and extra cable to reach a power supply point. And before you bring the fountain indoors, check that you have room for it. At 133cm high and 61.5cm in diameter, it’s the largest of the water features we review. It takes up quite a bit of space and don’t forget that water features are prone to a bit of water splashing as well. Be careful what kind of flooring you place the fountain on indoors.

Lights are not included with this waterfall fountain. You’re on your own to buy LEDs to place in the bottom dish or perhaps a spotlight to illuminate the entire fountain from outside.


  • Traditional waterfall fountain constructed of lightweight resin in textured grey to match any decor.
  • Suitable for use outdoors and indoors, perhaps in your sunroom or conservatory.
  • Dimensions: 133cm (height); 61.5(cm) diameter.
  • The maximum flow rate is 450L/hour.
  • The built-in pump circulates the water and lifts it to a height of 0.95m.
  • Weighs 12kg.


  • The power cable is a little short.
  • Uniform grey colour – some may not think it’s realistic enough.
  • Lights are not included.

Our recommendation

The Peaktop VFD8179-UK Icy Stone 2-Tier Waterfall Water Fountain is the most traditionally styled water feature in our review. Its durable and weatherproof resin construction is finished in a light grey colour to resemble patterned concrete.

The water bubbles gently from an opening at the top down through two tiers of different sizes. This is the largest water feature in our review so it will definitely be seen and even overshadow any other garden accessory it’s placed near.

This is our selection for you if you have a traditional or classic garden and want a water feature that definitely makes a statement.

5. Garden Mile Stone Effect Duck Family Water Feature

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Garden Mile Stone Effect Duck Family Water Feature

The Garden Mile Stone Effect Water Feature Duck Family Fountain is another water feature that features a family of ducks. These, however, are taking shelter under an umbrella that forms an integral part of the design. This water feature is also solar-powered which is a bonus.

Two solar panels are housed in the large “bird-bath”-type bowl to catch the sun’s rays to power the pump that circulates the water. Without the need to plug in this water feature, you can place it in any non-shaded part of your garden or patio and not have to worry about the power outlet being close enough.

This Duck Family Fountain is made from resin. It’s finished with a decorative carved stone appearance in a bronze colour. The ducks look like they’re carved from a subdued yellow stone with red beaks. The resin is lightweight and can withstand the changes in the UK weather for many years. 

The water stream starts from the top of the umbrella. It runs down in rivulets through the channels in the umbrella that represent the ribs onto the ducks below and into the fountain bowl. The large bowl is of a size to serve as a bird bath for your local feathered visitors. However, you may need to frequently clean the water filter if the birds use it as a toilet as well. 

This Garden Mile Duck Family Fountain is designed for use only on sunny days and during daylight hours. There is no battery or other storage cell to store the solar power. You can only use it in real-time when the sun is shining which is the only real downside. It, therefore, isn’t a real issue that this model doesn’t come with lights to place under the water in the bowl to give a warm glow.


  • Fully self-contained; just refill the water if some splashes out or evaporates.
  • Solar-powered through two collector panels built into the bowl is eco-friendly and tidy in your garden.
  • Made from resin in a bronze coloured stone finish that fits into any garden design.
  • Water streams from the top of the umbrella into a large bowl, splashing over the ducks for a visual display. 
  • The large bottom bowl does double duty as a bird bath for the feathered visitors to your garden.
  • Dimensions: 84cm (height); and 48cm (diameter).


  • No battery or power storage so needs sun to work.
  • No lights.

Our recommendation

The Garden Mile Stone Effect Water Feature Duck Family Fountain for Garden is a fun water feature that appeals to kids and adults who love whimsical and playful garden accessories.

This is a solar-powered garden feature so you don’t have to worry about placing it near a power outlet, running extension cables all over your lawn or around your flowerbeds. There isn’t a battery or power storage cell for this water feature so you can only use it when the sun is actually shining. However, the water bowl is large enough to become a popular stopping place for any birds that need a long drink of water or even a bath.

This is our selection for a family with kids who love ducks and birds in general. I’m sure that if you really like the design but are not keen on its only working in sunshine, you could buy a pump with cable and use this instead.

6. Primrose London 3-Tier Barrel and Pump Water Feature with LED Lights by Ambienté 

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Primrose London 3-Tier Barrel and Pump Water Feature with LED Lights by Ambienté

The Primrose London 3-Tier Barrel and Pump Water Feature with LED Lights is another traditional water feature – but in a different way to a fountain. Made from resin and formed in the shape of half-barrels, this water feature refers to times of homemade craft beers, by-gone or contemporary. 

The water flows from an old-fashioned style hand pump down through three traditional half-barrels made from half-barrels made to resemble wood with metal rings. The resin is both lightweight and long-lasting. It’s easier to move around than real wooden barrels. It’s also sturdy and resists fading from UV rays and cracking from frost. The water flows down through copper-coloured spouts that are wide enough to give an ample stream of water.

It comes with white LED lights to light up the lower two half-barrels highlighting the water feature and the water itself in the dusk and dark. This is one of the largest water features in our review so make sure you have the space for it, especially if you move it indoors during the winter. Nestled among green plants in a rustic flowerbed, this water feature is eye-catching and relaxing.


  • Water flows into three levels of traditional half-barrels for a bygone-age style feature.
  • Build from polyresin that’s UV and frost resistant for many months of use outside in your garden or on your patio.
  • Fully self-contained so you don’t need to place it near a water source.
  • White LED lights illuminate the water feature so it won’t be missed by your guests, day or night.
  • Comes with a pump, lights and 10m of power cable.
  • Dimensions: 92cm (height) and 49cm (diameter).
  • Weighs 15kg.

Our recommendation

The Primrose London 3-Tier Barrel and Pump Water Feature with LED Lights by Ambienté appeals to those who have a rustic or back to nature garden landscape. Or to those who enjoy home brewing or craft beers.

Although it’s made of long-lasting and lightweight resin, this water feature looks like it consists of well-used wooden half-barrels topped with a metal hand pump. The colour is varied and not uniform, giving a more realistic appearance. The bottom two half-barrels have LED lights that brighten the feature and water as long as it’s turned on.

This barrel water feature is for you if you want an attention-grabbing water feature that reflects your appreciation of a by-gone era of hand-crafted items.

7. Aqua Moda Solar Terracotta Cascade Water Feature With Solar LED Lights

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Aqua Moda Solar Terracotta Cascade Water Feature With Solar LED Lights

The Aqua Moda Solar Water Feature With Solar LED Lights has it all, as its name says. But the main reason that it differs from the other water features in our review is that it’s not made of resin – it’s made of terracotta, the clay used in ordinary flower pots. As such, it needs some different care and attention but does really look genuine.

Another reason the Aqua Moda Solar Water Feature is different is that it’s made by a manufacturer who understands that solar power is not always a reliable source of energy in the UK climate. The 2.5W solar panel collects the sunlight when it can and uses it to power the pump in the water feature.

There’s also a battery that you can recharge separately from direct sunlight (two hours) to use when the day’s overcast or really cloudy. And if you want to move the water feature indoors, your purchase comes with an indoor mains adapter to charge the battery or to run the unit with electricity. This is really an all-weather, all location water feature.

Back to the terracotta, which is not as durable as resin which is a plastic. The pot and bowls rest on metal rings on the metal stand. However, they’re not attached so may fall off if the water feature is jostled or knocked into. The terracotta may crack or break if it falls from a height or onto a hard floor. 

The bottom container is the largest and contains both the pump and the LED light that illuminates the water and the rest of the structure. Online reviewers report that the pump often comes away from the bottom of this container. This is a problem because it must stay below the water level. An easy solution is to stick it firmly down with waterproof tape. Design-wise, the return hose for the water from the lowest container to the jug at the top is visible as a clear hose and some users don’t like this visually.


  • Made from actual terracotta pots and jugs for an authentic garden atmosphere.
  • Solar-powered with a 2.5W solar panel and a rechargeable battery for backup in times of grey weather.
  • LED light is solar-powered and there’s also a mains indoor power adapter if you use the water feature inside.
  • 24 hour timer has an automatic three-hour on period.
  • Water cascades from the jug at the top down through three terracotta pots to the large bowl at the bottom.
  • Dimensions: 53cm (height); 36cm (width) and 31cm (depth).
  • Weighs 5kg.


  • Only runs for 3 hours a day from solar power.
  • The pump comes away from the bottom dish.
  • The return hose for water is visible.

Our recommendation

The Aqua Moda Solar Water Feature Terracotta Cascade Water Feature provides advantages for those who want to be eco-friendly – it’s made of terracotta, a natural material; it runs on solar power and you can recharge its battery with solar power; and it uses LED lights, which are low-wattage and also solar powered. This water feature has four levels of cascading water, more than other models in this review, for extra visual appeal.

To continue the naturalness of the environment of your garden, or to take it indoors, we recommend the Aqua Moda Solar Water Feature Terracotta Cascade Water Feature. It’s also the cheapest water feature in our review.

8. Blagdon Affinity View Corner Living Water Feature Pool

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Blagdon Affinity View Corner Living Water Feature Pool

The Blagdon Affinity View Corner Living Water Feature Pool is different to all the other self-contained water features in our review. It doesn’t just provide an ever-circulating cascade of water – it’s also a self-contained living environment for fish and plants which makes it unique. This model gives you all the water features you could possibly want (well, except for a hot tub) in the corner of your patio, your garden and even your living room.

This floor-standing corner unit is made of resin in a mocha colour and a woven pattern. Around the top are protection railings in black anodised aluminium that also add strength to the structure. The unit is made even more secure by having a waterproof lining and an underlay. You’ll notice that in the front of the unit are three shatterproof windows through which you can view whatever’s under the water, whether it’s brightly coloured fish or plants.

The model is basically a self-contained pond with some extras. You receive a planting basket in which you can grow some water-loving plants. You also get three fountain heads to use, one at a time, to add a dynamic element to the water feature. Be aware though, that there are many designs and shapes to choose from so be sure you buy the model that best fits your chosen position in your garden.

The LED spotlight (included) comes on automatically at dark so you can view the feature, and any fish you’ve placed in it, at night. The low-voltage, and hence economical, pump and filter ensure that the water stays clean and healthy for the plants and fish. We recommend, however, that you do test how fresh everything is before you place too many fish in the pool.

Also, please check the dimensions of this water feature carefully. It looks large in the photo on the website but some versions are only 35cm high while others are 60cm high. You might need to place this on a table or some other stand to keep it away from pets or children as this amount of water (or any amount in fact) can be dangerous to their safety.


  • Complete floor standing water-feature-in-a-corner-unit with a planting area and home for fish – wow!
  • The pool comes with a filter pump, LED spotlight, three fountain heads and a planting basket to provide living systems for plants and fish.
  • Made of resin in a mocha weave pattern with shatterproof viewing windows to see the fish underwater.
  • Anodised aluminium rails for protection and strength.
  • The unit has an underlay and a liner for strength and durability.
  • LED spotlight comes on automatically for nighttime underwater viewing.
  • A low voltage pump and filter ensure that the water stays healthy and clean.
  • Dimensions: 35cm (height) 60cm (width and length).


  • Check the height – some models are not very tall.

Our recommendation

The Blagdon Affinity View Living Water Feature Pool provides much entertainment and relaxation beyond a cascading garden water feature.

Add in plants and fish to create a full and living water ecosystem. Of course, such a water feature takes more maintenance to keep the water healthy and fresh for its living elements, but you are rewarded for that investment of your time in an ever-changing and growing environment.

Children, especially, are fascinated by the natural world but be sure that you take all the necessary safety precautions to keep your children and your water feature from harm.

We recommend the Blagdon Affinity View Corner Living Water Feature Pool for you if your interest in a water feature extends beyond having a fountain and you like the idea of having a small raised pond.

Buyer’s Guide

The best-designed gardens cater for all the senses. Would a self-contained water feature add another level of sound to your garden beyond the buzz of bees, the song of birds or perhaps the hum of cars going by?

Self-contained water structures for your outdoor spaces are easy to look after yet they contribute to both the design and the relaxation of the environment you create.

Here are some issues to consider before making your purchase decision.

How they work

If a water feature is self-contained you need to fill it with water only when you set it up or after cleaning, and then top it up if some of the water splashes out or evaporates over time.

A reservoir holds the water at the bottom of the structure. The pump then pumps it up (usually unseen) to the top of the structure. From there gravity brings the water back down to the reservoir. The reservoir is usually the largest of the bowls in the feature, and the water often flows down through a series of bowls or other containers.

There may be some sort of spray at the top of the structure through which the water flows out.


The pump needs to stay submerged under water in the reservoir so don’t let the water in there run dry. Make sure that the suction caps between the pump and the base of the bottom bowl are strong enough to hold the pump down.


Most of the water features in our review are powered by mains electricity; the others are solar-powered or both. 

For the electric water features, make sure the power cable is long enough to reach the grounded outdoor power outlet you’re using. Most of the cables of the units we review are 10m long, but not all are.

Solar powered water features give you the opportunity to place the feature away from your home or patio, perhaps in a flowerbed, without having to run an extension cord. One of the manufacturers we review, Aqua Moda, realises that the UK weather isn’t always bright and sunny.

Along with the solar panel, you receive a battery as a backup to power the pump and lights. And, you also receive a battery charger to power the battery, as well as a converter so you can use the mains electricity if you take the water feature indoors. Everything’s covered.

You can read my review of the best solar powered water features with battery backup here


All but one of the garden water features we look at are made of polyresin. This is a lightweight plastic material that’s weather-resistant and durable. It especially resists frost in the cooler months and UV rays in sunnier times. Its lightweight design lets you move the structure around to different points in your outdoor space easily. Most polyresin structures are moulded to look like natural rock or some kind of carved stone.

One water feature we present is made of natural terracotta, the same kind that flower pots are created from. This needs a little more care and attention than polyresin structures as it’s susceptible to cracking in harsh frost and colder temperatures. Just treat terracotta water features as you would your plant pots and be sure to empty the water if you leave them outside over winter.


If the sound of trickling water makes you need to use the toilet, then maybe a running water feature isn’t for you. Otherwise, it’s important to know how loud a sound of flowing water you want. Do you want to drown out your noisy neighbourhood or just a gently background murmur of flowing water while you relax? All of the water features we review here don’t have adjustable speeds on their pumps, so you can’t change the level of sound by turning the speed of the water faster or slower.


Most of the water features we review come with some form of lighting, either LED or halogen lights. The lights are usually under the water in the bottom one or two containers to give a warm glow to the structure and also to the water, especially in the evening hours. For most of the water features we look at, there’s no on/off switch for the lights so they’re on 24/7 or at least while they have power. You probably won’t notice them during daylight hours, but they do use some electricity or solar power to run.


The amount of sound you hear relates to where you place the water feature. If it’s on your patio you hear more than if it’s in the corner of your best flowerbed. 

Also, consider what is around the area where you plan to place the water feature. If it’s in the middle of tall plants or bushes the sound will be more muffled than if it’s standing in the middle of your lawn. 

And is your new water feature to be a design feature all on its own or will it be a part of a larger display of flowers, garden structures and seating areas? How will you place it among everything else in the tableau?

Size and style

Please carefully check the dimensions given for the water structure you consider buying. One of the most common complaints from unhappy customers we looked at is that the water feature was smaller than / a different size to what was expected. Although the water feature may appear large in the photos on a website, it’s probably smaller than you think. You may choose to put smaller water features on tables, benches or some other horizontal structure in your garden. Most models give the dimensions so be sure to take a tape measure you see the actual size for yourself.

Many garden water features are finished to appear to be natural stone, usually a grey colour. This traditional style suits classic garden designs especially. Some of the models in our review have a more contemporary or minimalist appearance to fit into more modern outdoor spaces. Choose a style to fit your outdoor landscape, especially if the feature is to be part of a larger display.


Your self-contained outdoor water feature does need some cleaning. Wipe down the structure from time to time with a soapy dishcloth. If you place the structure under a tree or bushes that lose their leaves, you have to remove the debris from the bowls or containers. The same goes for bird poop if birds use your water feature as a birdbath. The water will get green and slimy over time. We recommend learning how to drain the water dismantle the pump, clean the filter and put it all back together.


We’re all about the safe use of the garden and DIY products we review. Although there’s not much water in these garden water features, small children and pets can come to harm with them. If small children do have access to your garden, please consider buying a water feature that doesn’t have any exposed water.

Final Conclusion

For a gentle, relaxing and multi-sensory addition to your garden or outdoor space, a self-contained water feature provides calmness with minimal maintenance. Close your eyes and imagine how much the sound of quietly flowing water adds to the experience of feeling the sun on your skin as you’re soothed into a mellow mood. And in the evening, the warm glow of the lights and the sound from the water feature complement the laughter on your patio dining with family and friends.

Our Best Self-Contained Water Feature is the Kyoto Three Bowl Cascade Garden Patio Water Feature with White LED Lights. This water feature adds a minimalist style structure to any garden design without being overpowering. Its stone-look resin construction is weatherproof and the LED lights give a warm ambient glow at dusk and beyond.

The Runner-up selection is the Direct Global Trading Duck Family at Tap Water Feature with Lights. This feature is of a family of ducks playing in a bucket and a pond under a stream of water from an old-fashioned tap. This whimsical design delights kids and adults alike day and night, as the pond has LED lights that glow warmly.

If you’re particularly interested in solar-powered water features, we review more in Amazing Solar Powered Water Features for Small Gardens.

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at

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