A dashing water feature is the perfect accent to any ocean backdrop. By F.E. Exley

When your backyard is the ocean, adding more water might seem counterintuitive, but a well-placed water installation can be the perfect piece to accentuate your outdoor oceanfront space—and give your health a lift.

David Reed, the founding principal of San Diego-based David Reed Landscape Architects, says, “In my garden, the sound of water can be heard from almost any part of the house, quietly gurgling but audibly with undertones and overtones,” he says. “Whether it is sound or sight, it is a boost to the human spirit.”

But it’s important to know what kind of water element best fits your property. “When you have an ocean view, it’s best to use it by installing an infinity-type fountain,” says landscape architect Owen Dalton of OTD Design & Development  in Marina Del Rey, California. With an infinity fountain, water is pumped from a hidden reservoir and then disappears into the ground. Homeowners would do well to also add lighting to their feature, Dalton says, and position it so that it is visible from several angles.

Another contemporary option is the Harmonic Cascade from Harmonic Environments, a piece thatÂ’s ideal for creating a large-scale exterior focal point. However, the featureÂ’s seamless single panels can be crafted to virtually any dimension. As water cascades through light stainless-steel mesh, an ethereal effect of luminous water suspended in air is created. The Harmonic Cascade can also be fitted with custom lighting that provides an extra jolt of ambiance.

Aesthetically, a water element can convert any backyard into a tranquil space. What you might not know is that water installations also provide a health benefit by giving off negative ions—which is actually a positive result. Tiny odorless molecules are released into the air, which, when breathed in, boost energy and alleviate stress. “This is why I try putting a water feature in all of my projects,” says Dalton. “I want to create that feeling of euphoria.”

While it may be tempting to go with an over-the-top water feature, be realistic with your choice, as you already have the greatest water feature imaginable—the ocean. Go with something bold yet understated. “A whisper is often more powerful than a shout,” says Reed. “Sometimes just mirroring the horizon and the azure sea is all you need.”

He suggests that homeowners purchase water features that are composed of materials that will last (tile, concrete, glass). ThereÂ’s also the good chance of dealing with efflorescence, the unsightly white, powdery deposit that appears on the surface of concrete, masonry, and stucco products. Ask your landscape architect to take note of this and use special detailing techniques on the water feature to obviate this scourge.

Above all, choosing the right contractor is key: You want the job done right the first time. “A lot of homeowners pick contractors because they are the cheapest,” Dalton says. “Always go with someone who has experience. If your bid for the fountain is cheap, it’s going to look cheap.”