Some features naturally demand the use of a certain material, that's why Cast stone is generally the preferred material for classical water features. Reconstituted stone, as it is also called, replicates quarried stone and has been widely used for architectural purposes over many years due to its affordable cost and outstanding qualities.
Its appearance, particularly after developing a natural patina over time, is very similar to natural stone. It's consistent in quality, very durable, accurately moulded, and you have a choice of colours that can match existing stone work.
Haddonstone, Massarelli's and Henri Studio are leading manufacturers of reconstituted stone water features and examples of their work include the Bayeux Fountain, Masserelli's Boy Riding A Dolphin and the Hurricane Eye from Henri Studio.
Granite in various hues and with a smooth or rugged surface, sandstone and slate are also used to great effect. Stone & Water's Granite Spheres have water running over their polished sides illuminated by LEDs, while Eastern Connections' Juro feature is made from pink granite with a hand finished craggy appearance.
The same company's Babbling Lily is one of many sandstone products that take full advantage of a beautiful myriad of rainbow colours, and the Slate Stack Water Feature is a rugged reminder of this Welsh stone's renowned durable qualities.
Due to its own durability, high quality resin is another ideal material for a water feature. It's weatherproof and can be fashioned into an impressive range from elaborate fountains, realistic scenes, animals, mythical figures, pieces of modern art to religious icons, all with water providing added animated interest.
Resin can be painted and decorated, it can replicate brick, timber and stone, and prices are always affordable. Aqua Creations are a major manufacturer with the Mediterranean Pouring Urns feature, several illuminated tree trunks and rock formations, Giant Sitting Buddha and Grey Ripple Wall showcasing the breadth of their work.
Contemporary water features benefit from the shining presence of stainless steel, and water running over a smooth or rippled surface adds to the shimmering effects created by blades, walls and spheres.
Aqua Creations' Santiago water feature is particularly intriguing, Chennai contrasts black with silver, and the Kerala combines various elements to create a superb effect. And, when LEDs are not highlighting these features, sunlight emphasizes their dazzling qualities.
Even though they may be already glazed, the gleaming presence of a ceramic water feature is further pronounced when water slides over its smooth surface, adding another dimension to a collection which contains a great many overflowing vases. LEDs can again highlight the scene and ensure the features can be enjoyed well into the evening.