Fountains instantly transform a garden into a lush oasis. Fountains add ambiance to your garden with the everchanging visual element and the melodic sound of flowing water. But you can't place any fountain in any spot. Consider the style, material, and location of your new water feature before making a purchase.
What Are the Different Types of Fountains?
A fountain, in its most basic form, is an outdoor element that uses water. There are quite a few ways that this landscape feature can utilize the water – raining, bubbling, and cascading, amongst others. To choose the best outdoor fountain for your space, consider how you want the water to move and how this impacts the ambiance.
Sheets of water run down a smooth surface, like the side of an urn, into a reservoir that holds a water pump. The sound of this fountain is like a running hose. Adding something textured to the surface will result in a trickling sound. Splash is minimal, but water evaporates quickly, so you will need to refill it often.
Droplets fall like a watery curtain from a tall element into a reservoir, which can be pondless, like a layer of pebbles. This fountain sounds like a storm, and the taller the fountain, the stronger the rainstorm. Depending on the height, this splash perimeter is small to medium.
Set into a basin filled with water, a bubbler creates an interesting visual by disrupting the surface of the water, but not creating a lot of sound. This fountain is attractive to birds and butterflies. Bubbling fountains don't create a splash, and they lose very little water.
Water spills from a top pool and tumbles down tiers. This is the most classic of the outdoor fountain styles and creates a lovely, multi-tonal sound due to water hitting different surfaces. It is excellent for concealing unwanted noise. The fountain loses a lot of water, and the multiple tiers cause a significant amount of splash.
Streams of water gush from one level to the next, collecting into open pools or containers. The water leapfrogs down, creating a pouring sound that some people find soothing. The multiple streams of water are vulnerable to gusts of wind, making water level upkeep a chore.
When you're thinking about the type you want, consider the placement of the fountain. If the location is in a windy area, choose a fountain with fewer water streams, like a bubbling one. If you live close to a highway or busy road, choose one of the louder fountains, to disguise the noise.
What Style Fountain Should I Get?
As a general guideline, you should contemplate the style of your house. Is it a country cottage or a modern minimalist abode? Does this style also carry over to your garden space?
Fountains can be modern, classic, or casual, but consider how cohesive its style is to the rest of your home.
Modern fountains are usually sleek and polished and made of industrial materials, like copper or stainless steel. Zen-style fountains also fall under this category due to the minimal-styling and use of stone and natural materials.
A tiered fountain is an excellent example of the classic style, traditionally made of marble or stone, that will remain attractive for decades. They often feature an ornately rendered centerpiece inspired by classical art and sculpture.
A casual fountain isn't necessarily modern or classic and is best used supplementally, not as a centerpiece. They often come in novelty designs and can have features such as animated lighting or controllable water movements.
What Material Should the Fountain Be?
Along with style, you need to choose your fountain's material. The construction of the fountain can determine the location, customizations, and durability.
- Metal – Fountains can be created out of stainless steel or copper. Because of its anti-rusting properties, stainless steel fountains last a long time. Copper is expensive, but some beautiful blue patinas develop over time, changing the facade as it ages.
- Cast Stone – The versatility of this material is its primary benefit. Cast stone can be made with fine and coarse aggregate, so the texture differs with whichever mixture you choose. Pigments can be added to change the color of one or more of the parts of your fountain.
- Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) – This material is very strong, due to the glass fibers embedded in cement. With the tensile strength of steel, this material is an excellent choice for large fountains.
- Natural Stone – These fountains often have the simplest design, due to the material's durability and how difficult it is to carve. Fountains of natural stone feature the various hues and textures of the rock from which they're created.
- Resin – Resin or plastic fountains are typically used indoors but are also suitable for outdoor use when properly anchored. The resin is robust and weather-resistant and comes in a wide variety of designs and styles. They are also more affordable than other types of fountains.
Where Should I Put the Fountain?
It is essential to balance the size and shape of the fountain with the form of your garden. You can use your fountain as an accent, a centerpiece, or a destination.
- Accent – An accent fountain can be tucked away into a garden bed. The fountain should be slightly taller than the other plants around it. If it has a quieter sound, put it far away from noisy areas that could overwhelm the soothing sounds.
- Centerpiece – A six-foot, tiered, marble fountain dominates a small garden. A statement fountain like this should be the focal point of your yard. The larger the fountain, the louder the water noises, so keep this size fountain at least eight feet away from entertainment or dining areas.
- Destination – If you have a uniquely shaped garden or yard, use your fountain as a destination. Have the tinkling noise of water lead your guests down charming garden paths to discover the fountain at the end. Complete your hideaway with seating and some aromatic, potted plants.
An outdoor fountain can make your garden into an oasis. The gentle splashing and tinkling of water will soothe your nerves and transport you away from modern life. To buy a fountain that suits your garden and style, consider the type of fountain, material, and placement.