Garden Fountains Garden Fountains

Sometimes your garden needs just a little something extra to make it all come together. A garden fountain, unlike other statues or pieces of garden furniture, works with two senses at once: sight and sound. The pleasing sound of flowing water goes a long way to providing a calming atmosphere, indoors or out.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Kathy Bosin adds, "In cold weather areas, remember to remove or turn off your fountain in winter. Winter is a good time to clean your fountain pump. Hard water deposits on the surface of your fountain can be scrubbed off with a stiff brush and white vinegar."

Tranquility and Privacy

The sound of a fountain also provides privacy for the people in its immediate vicinity, as the noise blocks the sounds of a conversation from nearby listeners. This is one reason that fountains are popular in shopping malls and old city squares; people can congregate on the edge of the fountain assured their conversation won't be overhead.

Of course, you're not going to install something the size of the Trevi fountain in your backyard, but even a small fountain will add beauty and grace to your outdoor area.

And a fountain does more than just please the eye and the ear; it will also attract birds, who in turn will enhance your garden's mood.

Materials

When you see a garden fountain, your first thought might be that it must weigh a ton, and that you could never drag it all the way home to set it up. The fact that you think this is a testament to how well-made new fiberglass fountains can be; many times, what you think are stone fountains are actually made of durable, light-weight, easy-to-maintain fiberglass, and need little or no care after installation.

More traditional fountains look like something you'd find in a British cottage garden or on the grounds of an Italian villa, and yet many times you can find them in small wall-mounted models suitable for a patio or terrace.

But fountains needn't be heavy stone, or even look like it. This fountain is a good example of a table-top fountain, something which will add definition to a garden without giving it an ornate or heavy feeling.

In fact, with a little patient searching, you can find a fountain to fit just about any style. Steve Rayman, a Texas artist, designs fountain-sculptures made of hammered copper (right) that will endure as artwork as well as provide you with all the benefits of a garden fountain.

Fountains of Japan

The garden fountain is a time-honored tradition in Japan, and finding a Japanese fountain will give your garden a completely different look than a carved stone or stone-look fountain will.

In Japan, the use of fountains date back to the ancient shrines, where worshipers would wash before entering. You can find Japanese fountains in either granite or bamboo, and the one pictured at right, the "deer chaser," has the added feature of making a knocking sound as the water runs, which will scare deer from your garden and prevent that nibbled-on look to your geraniums.

Garden fountains are fairly easy to install, requiring only a pump, which usually either comes with the fountain or which you can buy at the place where you buy the fountain, and room enough to install it. And so in a matter of hours, you will be able to change the mood of your garden, adding a soothing watery element and a welcoming spot for garden birds.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Design.

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