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Outdoor Fountain Ideas

Adding a water feature brings a whole new sensory experience to your garden. A well-placed fountain can transform an ordinary backyard into a relaxing outdoor retreat with the restorative sound and hypnotizing movement of trickling water. A fountain can also serve as a focal point in a front yard, plaza or courtyard.

Garden fountains come in a wide range of sizes, styles and materials. You can purchase a prefabricated fountain or you can have one custom designed and built. Fountains can be mounted on walls, freestanding, tiered or disappearing. The option you choose will primarily depend on your budget, space availability, maintenance considerations and garden style. A good rule-of-thumb is to use a large fountain as a focal point and a small fountain as an accent element. A landscaping professional can help you sort through the options and ask the right questions before you install your fountain.

Get these tipsIn this section, you'll find tips from landscaping professionals on:

  • Selecting the right size for your fountain so it will be proportionate to its surroundings and your home.
  • The main factors to consider when choosing the best location for a fountain, including the style of your garden, whether you want to use your fountain as an accent or a focal point, and the proximity to electricity for operating a water pump.
  • Important questions to ask before installing a water fountain, such as how much maintenance will be required and how much sound does it produce.
  • The characteristics of the most popular fountain materials, including cast stone, fiberglass, ceramic and metal.
  • The benefits of installing a self-contained fountain, which comes with all the working parts, including the pump and plumbing, enclosed within the unit.
  • The types of self-contained fountains available and the various power options.
  • Popular styles for pondless or disappearing fountains, where the water reservoir is hidden underground.
  • The benefits of disappearing fountains, such as easy maintenance and the use of less water.
  • Your options for mounted, standing and custom wall fountains, which are ideal for small patios or courtyards with limited space.
  • The four basic elements of a wall fountain and how to integrate the fountain into your wall.
  • The pros and cons of solar fountains, which run off the energy from the sun rather than electricity.
  • The best conditions for a solar-powered fountain and the questions to ask before buying one.
  • Design ideas for using Japanese-style fountain to create a Zen-like garden retreat.
  • The characteristics of modern fountains and ideas for using them to enhance a contemporary garden.
  • Design ideas for using tiered fountains as a focal point in a courtyard or formal garden.

Before having a fountain installed, be sure to consult a professional to find out the equipment you'll need to operate your fountain and how to maintain it.

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