Backyard & Patio Fountains Tips

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Build a Backyard Fountain Memory Garden

A backyard water fountain in a serene garden setting offers a retreat for reflection and remembrance. A memory fountain garden can be elaborate and elegant or inexpensive and simple. It can be large or intimate. Water fountains come in a wide array of water fountain sizes, prices and styles with something for every budget and taste.

Surround your backyard memory fountain with plants that have special meaning for you and are appropriate for the climate. Plants can be changed with the season with delicate spring blooms like daffodils and tulips, summer varieties that take the heat and fall favorites such as mums or sedums. Statuary and fountain accessories extend the theme. If the garden is in memory of loved ones include a tribute with engraved memory stones. A bench or garden seat provides a comfortable spot for meditation to the comforting background music of the trickling waters. Lighted water fountains and soft luminaries create an evening sanctuary. And add an outdoor fireplace to enjoy your backyard fountain memory garden under starlit skies on chilly nights.

   

Delight the Senses with a Backyard Fountain Garden

The five senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. Consider each of the five senses to create a sensory backyard or patio haven that relaxes and renews, soothes and stimulates.

Think visual appeal with color, light and movement. A backyard waterfall fountain makes an ideal focal point for a sensory garden. Surround water fountains with a variety of plants in warm colors that stimulate and cool colors to soothe. Select plants that attract birds and butterflies. A lighted water fountain brings magic to dark nights. Mirrors, gazing balls and garden sculptures add more visual appeal.

Introduce pleasing sounds. While nature provides a symphony of bird song and whisper of wind through the leaves, add more listening pleasure. Burbling waterfall fountains, tiered solar birdbath fountains, water-bell fountains and melodic wind chimes bring pleasing sounds to a sensory setting.

Add scent to a sensory garden with heady fragrances of gardenias, jasmine, honeysuckle and day lilies. Mulch with fresh pine straw or cedar chips. Plant an herb garden and savor the scent of rosemary, basil and mint. Enjoy aromatherapy with scented candles, automatic scent diffusers and aromatic incense.

Take pleasure in the touch of the garden as you dig in the soft earth and handle plants with different textures. Dip fingers or toes in sparkling fountain waters. Enjoy a cooling rainforest mist with an outdoor misting system. Refresh with a cool drink at a garden drinking fountain, a glass of wine or cup of tea on a bench near the water fountain. Harvest your own edible plants and savor the taste of fresh strawberries, plums, figs, citrus fruits and herbs. Create a dining space and enjoy the tastes of dining alfresco.

Don't be surprised to find that sixth sense comes into play -- a deeply pleasurable feeling from reflection of the five senses of your backyard water fountain sanctuary.

   

Water Feature Ideas For Your Home

For many homes, the mid-sized water feature offers something for every taste and budget. Many of them can be opened right out of a box, set up and ready to go in half an hour or so. A wall fountain made of fiberglass is lightweight and mounts with relative ease to your wall, yet can have an authentic stone finish. You can spend under $200 and get an attractive version to complement your garden décor. A stand alone tabletop fountain which can be placed on the tabletop or on the ground comes in an array of types. Get a copper bowl fountain, which will sooth your senses with the sounds of bubbling water. Or try a fountain wall with a delicate sheet of water gracing its surface. The best part is many of these tabletop water feature models don't require any plumbing.

   
How do I maintain a larger water feature like a pond?

Basic Maintenance For Larger Water Features

Maintaining larger water features is probably easier than you think – especially if you use an all-natural methodology to your routine.

  • Use a skimmer basket to draw out leaves once a week. All you have to do is rinse out the filter of the skimmer basket every time you clean.
  • Once a week, backwash the pump and filter with about 100 gallons of nutrient rich water. Allow it to discharge onto your grass if possible.
  • Inoculate the water with bacteria after you backwash. The process keeps your water in top condition.
  • Once or twice a year, rinse the water filter box out to rid it of dirt and debris.
  • Use pond salt or barley to control algae in your pond.

   
How do I build my own backyard fountain?

Your How-To Guide To Create A Backyard Fountain

If you're thinking about building a backyard fountain, it's a straightforward process if you just take it step-by-step. Here's how to tackle a basic backyard fountain.

  • Make sure you're dealing with a clean work area first.
  • Mark the outline of the pond on the floor.
  • Lay a five row high layer of bricks lengthwise at the perimeter.
  • Place a pond under-liner in the center of the pond.
  • On top, add a 45 ml thick pond liner that's safe for fish if you're planning to add them.
  • Add a second layer of bricks inside the pond to stabilize the wall and weigh down the liners.
  • Trim the excess liner at the edge of the pond.
  • Add an additional layer of bricks perpendicular to the existing rows for a nice edge finish.
  • Build a pedestal of bricks and add your statue.
  • Fill the pond up with water. Place a submersible pump inside behind the pedestal. Turn the pump on and your backyard fountain is complete.

   
Can I create a backyard fountain if I have minimal space in my backyard?

A Backyard Fountain When You Have Limited Space

Imagine the sound of trickling water to sooth your senses as you step out into your backyard. Glittering goldfish swim about a graceful statue, overlooking a pond. Sound like an impossibility in the tight quarters of your residence? It's not. Even if you are tight on space, you still can install a backyard fountain into your own home for under $1,000 if you decide to do it yourself. If you hire out help, expect to pay about $2,000. All you need is a fountain statue, tubing, pond liner, pond padding, submersible pump with 200 gallon per hour capacity and bricks. With all those materials, you can create a 4' x 4' pond. Add koi or goldfish and your at-home oasis is complete. For do-it-yourselfers, you can finish your own backyard fountain in just a day.

   
How do I maintain a smaller water feature?

Basic Maintenance For Smaller Water Features

Even smaller water features need some care and maintenance from time to time. However, they require less work and are simpler to deal with than larger water features. If you want to maintain your tabletop fountain, miniature water garden, or other water feature follow these easy guidelines.

  • Clean out leaves and other floating debris on a regular basis.
  • On an occasional basis, use a hose to clean out foam pump filters with a strong blast of water.
  • Locate your pump in an easy to reach spot so you'll be able to replace them without difficulty. Unfortunately, pumps don't last indefinitely and you'll have to replace them every now and then.
  • Keep mosquitoes at bay by adding fish to your smaller water feature or using a Bt, a bacteria which attacks larvae.

   
How do I select fish for my backyard fountain?

Selecting Fish For Backyard Fountains

Adding fish to backyard fountains make your water feature all the more enticing. The constant motion of shimmering scales adds visual interest to any water feature. If you're not sure how to deal with fish in your fountain, here are some guidelines.

  • If you're deciding between koi or goldfish, remember that koi are larger and more striking. However, they're also much more expensive and harder to maintain. Goldfish are relatively affordable and require basic care.
  • A good rule of thumb is to have one fish for every square foot of your fountain.
  • To make sure your fish transition nicely into your pond, help them adjust by allowing them to sit for 20 to 30 minutes in their own bag before releasing them into the fountain water.
  • Backyard fountains need to be clean for your fish. Get a hand held skimmer to get out debris.
  • Keep the pump running in your fountain. Not only does it make the pond more attractive, it puts more oxygen into the fountain and wards off mosquito eggs.

   

Create a Backyard Fountain Nature Habitat

Water fountain habitats attract a variety of birds and butterflies and delight nature lovers year-round. A well-planned backyard water fountain nature sanctuary provides the essential elements for a healthy sustainable wildlife habitat and may also earn distinction as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. Here are five elements required by the National Wildlife Federation to attract wildlife and qualify for habitat certification:

  • Water Sources: Birds and butterflies need a source of clean water. A shallow and sparkling backyard birdbath fountain offers aerated, moving water attracting winged visitors and providing soothing background for relaxation and observation.

  • Food Sources: Bird and butterflies visit a backyard garden in search of edible plants, seeds, fruits, berries and nectar that are native to your area. Butterflies are particularly attracted to plants with red, pink, orange, yellow and purple blooms. Include “host plants” as larval food sources. Visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for lists of native plants by region and state. Place supplemental food in bird feeders when natural food is scarce and for added visual appeal in your backyard fountain habitat.

  • Places for Cover: Birds and butterflies need safe and secure places to rest. Tree and shrubs provide natural resting spots. Avoid dense undergrowth around the fountain that might conceal predators like cats and raccoons.

  • Places to Raise Young: Bird houses and nesting boxes encourage making your backyard a home. Monitor nesting boxes and shrubs to discourage unwelcome guests that might harm birds and butterflies.
  • Sustainable Gardening: Avoid using herbicides and pesticides that contain harmful chemicals and contaminate water fountains. Use chemical-free fertilizer, natural mulch and include a source of water like sprinkler or misting garden hose.

   

Patio Fountains Add Flair to City Living

Living in the city often means personal outdoor space is limited to a patio or balcony. Take heart. Use the tips from a city girl to turn even a small patio or balcony into a serene city sanctuary:

  • Start with a plan. Measure available floor and wall space and diagram it to scale on graph or plain paper. Patio water fountains come in an array of sizes and styles from free-standing fountains to table-top fountains. Wall-mounted fountains are also an answer to limited floor space. Study patio fountain how to and decide which project is within your range.
  • Choose a theme. It's easy to match a patio water fountain to your decorating theme. Transform your patio or balcony into a Zen retreat, an English garden or tropical paradise.
  • Decide on a focal point and build around it. For instance, a patio fountain makes a perfect centerpiece and the delightful sound of falling water mutes the noise of city traffic.
  • Shop for furniture that makes the most of seating space surrounding the focal point. A small table and chairs is ideal for alfresco fountain-side dining.
  • Add depth and interest with lush plants in interesting pots and hanging baskets.
  • Escape the glare of bright sunlight with an umbrella, awning or shades. A sturdy folding screen also ensures privacy and protection on windy days.
  • Don't forget lighting. A lighted water fountain, luminaries, lanterns and candles make nights magical.

   

Types of Backyard Water Fountains

Backyard water fountains offer hours of outdoor relaxation and pleasure. They transform an ordinary backyard into an extraordinary personal sanctuary. Outdoor living space ranges from petite patios gardens to acres of private property. Personal style also plays a significant role in deciding on a backyard water feature. A range of fountain sizes, styles, materials and colors make to easy to match a water fountain to personal space and style.

There are formal and rustic fountains. Look for fountains made of concrete, fiberglass, natural stone, copper, pottery, wood, stainless steel and glass. Elaborate backyard waterfall fountains cascade into tropical ponds. Water flows down the surface of sleek free-standing vertical fountains. Multi-tiered fountains of graduated copper, ceramic or pottery pots add interesting depth and sound to a backyard or patio garden. Floating fountains add eye appeal to a swimming pool or pond. Statuary fountains reflect personal interests in sculpture. And, tabletop fountains make the most of limited space.

Birds and bird watchers enjoy activity around a birdbath fountain. A pond fountain gives energy, reduces algae and aerates potentially stagnant waters of a backyard goldfish pond. A fountain near the front door welcomes guests to your home. And, for the environmentally conscious consumer, it's easy to go green with a solar-powered fountain. Why stop with one fountain? Fill your world with the energy and enjoyment of water fountains.

   

Considerations for Backyard Water Fountains

When choosing the best backyard fountain or patio fountain consider space, budget, care and maintenance.

  • Make the most of the space you have. If you have visions of extensive outdoor projects with multi-level decks, a gazebo, waterfall cascading over massive boulders, pools/ponds and a jungle of outdoor plants, make sure outdoor space is adequate for your dream. Measure and plot available and scale up or down accordingly. A wide range of features and sizes makes it easy to match backyard fountains to available space.
  • Water fountains are available for every budget. When money is no object, you can easily spend thousands on a backyard sanctuary. When the budget is tight, start small. Develop a long-term plan and add to the project over time.
  • Are you the do-it-yourself or hire-the-expert type? Fountain how-to ranges from simple to complex. With the instructions, the right materials and time, most do-it-yourselfers can finish a backyard fountain project in a day or two for half the cost of hiring a contractor.
  • Water fountains require different levels of care and maintenance. Some fountain owners use a pool service for maintaining large, complex gardens. Small fountains are easily maintained with basic and preventive maintenance. Clear debris from the water surface and fountain bottoms frequently. Practice algae control. Inoculate water with “good” bacteria following cleaning or backwashing. And, periodically clean fountain pumps and fountain filters to ensure proper operation and extend their working life.

   

Backyard Fountain Feng Shui

Literally translated as “wind water,” feng shui has been used by the Chinese since ancient times to balance the energy (chi) in homes and businesses. Water plays an important role in Feng Shui principles. A home situated on a body of water nurtures creativity, serenity and is considered to be wealth-enhancing. Unfortunately, everyone can't live on a seashore, pond, lake, river or swimming pool. Fortunately, it is easy to attract auspicious chi by creating a water body. Backyard water fountains offer an economical and simple way to attract positive chi to your home. An added bonus: Fountains feature running water, considered the most auspicious (lucky) of water elements.

The location of water fountain home gardens also plays a role in attracting positive energy. Most Feng Shui practitioners believe that, when possible, it is best to position a water fountain in the north, east or southeast sector of a backyard or patio. It is generally believed that an active water element in the north sector of a backyard or patio attracts luck in a career or business. A backyard fountain placed in the east brings health and longevity. And southeast fountains bring increased wealth. Lighted water fountains increase positive energy. An important reminder: Only clean water attracts positive chi, so keep fountain waters sparkling. Dirty water creates Shar Chi (bad luck) and diminishes the delightful Feng Shui ambiance of a backyard fountain.

   

Selecting Fish For Backyard Fountains

Beside fish, adding statues to backyard fountains is another way of creating a complete look. Garden statues add visual interest and a vertical design element to backyard fountains. Looking for some ideas? Add the Greek God Pan into your fountain to give your garden a Grecian feel. For a more contemporary look, add a sculptural statue on a pedestal to your fountain. For a delicate fountain that fits nicely into a compact garden space, a sculptured bird bath will work well.

   
What types of water features can I add to my backyard?

Water Feature Ideas For Your Home

The water feature is one element folks are adding to their homes when it comes to the backyard. With so many choices from the petite portable version to a full-blown outdoor fountain, there's good reason people are turning to the water feature to spruce up their gardens. We've got the lowdown on some of the water feature options you have to pick from.

The Tabletop Water Feature – This petite water oasis doesn't lack for design elements. The tabletop water feature can have rock adornments, decorative plant life and ultrasonic waves to create a smoky effect to the water.

The Mid-Sized Water Feature – Made to stand on its own, the larger water feature can be a wall mounted fountain, an outdoor waterfall, a bird bath or a fountain pool. Though large in size, you can take these types of fountains and set them up in minimal time.

The Large-Sized Water Feature – These grand water features can include waterfalls, bridges, plants, and fiber optic lights. You are only limited by your imagination in creating this water feature.

The Miniature Water Garden – The miniature water garden is a lush, tranquil water feature. These plant-filled water features don't require a pump, either. By just using a pot, plants, decorative rocks, and adding water, you can create a unique decorative element.

The Pond – You don't have to be well-versed in garden landscaping to create the ultimate pond. You can buy them in a kit which comes with stones, a pond liner and a filter. Take a few days during the week to create your own water oasis.

   
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Sherril Steele-Carlin