Most of us would welcome the serenity of a gardenside waterfall but not the workload of installing and caring for a full-fledged pond. It's hard enough to keep up with weeding, trimming and mowing.

But all is not lost for the lazy folk. With simple waterfall kits, almost any pottery container can be turned into a gurgling backyard water feature.

"We started doing container water features about five years ago when we opened," says Gabe Rice, owner of Renaissance Garden Ornament in Oakley, with an eclectic collection of readymade fountains, unusual pottery, benches and garden accessories from around the world. "But recently they've gotten so much more popular."

Two basic types of water features can be customized from their pottery lines by either the DIY customer or the Renaissance staff. "I actually designed the ones we put together," Rice says.

A self-contained bubbler is the most simple, consisting of a small pump and copper pipe inserted through a hole in the bottom of a container, most often a tall urn. The water is pumped up to the top where it bubbles out of the pot just above the rim before splashing back down inside, and the splash sound is controlled by turning the pump up or down. The bubbler mechanics are usually about $150-$175 plus the cost of the pot.

In an overflow feature, the water fills the container, cascades gently over the sides and is caught in a plastic overflow basin or pebble pool, usually underground and hidden by rocks. It then re-circulates through a hidden pump and concealed tubing.

The overflow type is more in demand this year, Rice says. "They are a bit quieter and it's more of a visual feature, especially when we use pots with a lot of texture. Mine at home (shown in the photo) is heavily ribbed and shimmers from the movement of the water cascading over it sides. I enjoy that more than the sound."

"We make them out of high-fired pottery so they can be left out all winter." The winterization is just a matter of draining the container and leaving the drain hole open so water can't accumulate and freeze.

The parts are copper and stainless steel and they require access to 110 volt electricity though there are solar kits available in the marketplace. Almost any pot can be customized from two to four feet or more in height and a couple feet in diameter. And the trend in containers is towards lightweight materials with the look of traditional pottery.

"Mine is made of fiberglass, but looks like terra cotta," he says.