Creating an outdoor water fountain

Provide an outdoor water fountain and cat-friendly trees to climb, says garden expert Graham Strong.

For cats that like to lap from moving water, why not offer a cleaner alternative to those muddy garden puddles by making a new water feature?

If it's a stylish design, it will also give you an exciting new focal point. Good examples on the market have been made using pieces of slate arranged in tapering circles. The water emerges from the centre, spills over the sides and is caught in an underground reservoir to be pumped back up to the outlet. A water garden centre will advise you on what equipment you'll need.

Trees make good climbing frames too!

If you are choosing a tree for a garden that will have cats in, you first need to think about the habit of the trees you are considering.

Those with open habits of growth are easier to clamber up than those with erect branches like the fastigiated pencil cherry, for example. Anything with thorns is also likely to be off the agenda.

Monkey puzzle conifers, for example, have wicked barbs up the trunk where even squirrels would fear to tread. Among the best (and fast growing) are the Eucalyptus niphophila and for a sheltered spot, Acacia dealbata. For a more exposed site, the whitebeam, Sorbus aria 'Lutescens' is a good choice.