yard with pond, shrubbery and large brick column
Photo Richard Felber (Styling by Michelle Lay)
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Use a water feature to draw people out into the yard

Build a fish pond or place a birdbath or gurgling fountain near your property line to bring family and guests out for a visit, maximizing every inch of your green space.

What was done here: The large boulders arrayed around Bruce's pond provide sturdy, impromptu seating. There's no need to lug chairs out to the water's edge to watch the koi, turtles, and frogs. When planning a pond of your own, avoid putting it under a cluster of trees. "You don't want to spend all your time cleaning leaves and debris out of the water," Bruce says.

More take-home tips: You can create a simple focal point with a fountain. All you need is a submersible recirculating pump, something for the water to pour over—such as a stack of river rocks—and a basin to catch the overflow so it can be funneled back (check out the pebble fountain on Bruce's patio, in slide 4). A fountain helps drown out noise from neighbors and car traffic. Just be sure there's a spigot and a GFCI outlet nearby for refilling evaporated water and running the pump.
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