How Does a Water Fountain Work?

A fountain in a garden.

A water fountain can either spray water into the air or create a waterfall effect. They provide a nice point of interest in a garden and can keep a garden pond aerated.

The Reservoir

All outdoor water fountains have a reservoir from which they draw their water and to which the water returns, creating a closed circuit.

The Pump

The power to move the water is supplied by a pump. The pump is usually submerged in the water reservoir. A spinning impellor in the pump draws water in and is spinning at such a speed that the water is forced out of the pump by centrifugal force.

The Fountain Head

A fountain.

The water forced from the pump is delivered to the fountain head where it is sprayed into the air through a fine nozzle or where it is allowed to flow down the outside of the structure of the fountain. The water that is sprayed into the air will fall back onto the fountain and drain back into the reservoir.


Some fountains have more than one water fountain pump or a pump that has more than one outlet pipe. These fountains can have more than one spray or a spray and a waterfall effect.

A pond fountain is the same as a garden fountain except that instead of having a reservoir it has a pond.