Garden Fountains Tips

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Seasons Around the Garden Fountain

In most places each season brings new changes and challenges to a garden fountain area. According to Feng Shui principles, it is essential to adjust the elements of the garden environment with each season to maintain balance and positive energy. The Chinese also believe that each season should feature at least one seasonal flowering plant in a garden fountain sanctuary.

  • Spring is a time of awakening. New growth appears on trees and shrubs and precociously buds peak above the surface of the ground. Garden centers become hives of activity as spring fever strikes and consumers feel the urge to restore and revive outdoors spaces. Fragrant narcissus, colorful tulips, sunny daffodils and heady hyacinths are among favorite spring bloomers for landscaping around garden fountains in most parts of the country. And, it's time to check garden water fountains, ponds and pools for winter damage, clean fountain pumps and fountain filters and add beneficial bacteria to ponds.
  • Filled with heat and energy, summer is a yang season. It's time to introduce cool blue and green yin elements to a fountain garden. Fight the effects of summer heat and drought with a water misting or sprinkler system. Summer sun also fuels the growth of algae and prevention is easier than removal. Treat fountains and ponds per manufacturer recommendations. Introduce aquatic plants like water lilies, lotus and iris that love full sun and do double duty as beautiful blooms and algae inhibitors.
  • Fall brings new colors and the challenge of falling leaves. Leaves should be skimmed from water fountains and pond fountains surfaces daily. As temperatures cool, pots of sunny yellow and red chrysanthemums add yang warmth.
  • Winter chill and icy require special attention for garden water fountains, but need not spell the end of outdoor time. Small fountains that might freeze easily can be moved inside for winter enjoyment. Mid-sized and large water fountains with adequate water flow should be kept running during winter months to prevent icing. Gardens need to be winterized for regional climates. A splash of warm red yang with holly berries and poinsettias add bright spots to dreary winter days. And, fire and water do mix. An outdoor fireplace near the bubbling fountain is perfect for marshmallow roasts under starlit winter skies.


Where to Find the Best Garden Fountains

When investing in garden fountains, it pays to know where to shop. Although the price of a discount department store fountain may be tempting, consider the quality and long-term aspects. A garden fountain needs to stand up to the effects of the elements, including temperature changes, wind, erosion and sunlight.

There are good reasons you may have been disappointed in previous water fountains purchased at local discount stores and flea markets. There are common problems with poor quality fountains. Noisy pumps overpower the pleasing sound of falling water. Filters become easily clogged and are difficult to clean. Cracks and peeling paint seem to appear overnight. And, customer service is uninformed or non-existent.

Best bet: Shop online with a garden fountain supplier that specializes in garden fountains, fountain parts and fountain accessories. Look for a garden fountain retailer that offers a wide array of choices in size, materials and styles. Check return policies and price matching guarantees. Read testimonials and customer reviews on pros and cons of different water fountains. Compare shipping costs. And subscribe to a customer newsletter for tips, tools and techniques.


Finding Ideas for Garden Fountains

There are many sources for inspiration and how-to tips when creating a garden fountain sanctuary. Try these resources for tips and creative ideas on garden fountains, garden accessories and landscaping:

  • Go garden fountain sightseeing. From the grand fountains of Europe to small city parks, hotels and resorts, fountains are everywhere. As you travel the world, keep a camera nearby to snap photographs of garden fountain ideas to borrow and adapt.
  • Get educated. Attend garden shows, expositions and lectures sponsored by universities and gardening associations.
  • Ask master gardener friends for tours of their garden fountains. Take notes.
  • Collect how-to-build-a-garden-fountain and outdoor landscaping magazines and books and take notes on what appeals to you. Buy a book on outdoor Feng Shui and follow tips for balancing the energy of a garden water fountain area.
  • Rent a DVD on outdoor landscaping. Tune into gardening and outdoor do-it-yourself television documentaries. Go online. The National Wildlife Federation and gardening organizations offer a plethora of free tips on attracting wildlife and going green. Visit Websites for garden fountain suppliers that specialize in outdoor garden fountains.


Yin & Yang of Garden Fountains

Yin and yang denote two opposite and complementary life-giving forces of the universe. For instance, winter is yin and summer is yang. Day is yang and night is yin. The sun is yang and the moon is yin. Yang is male; yin is female. A balance of yin and yang brings good fortune. However, when either yin or yang elements are excessive, an environment is out of balance.

Fountain garden Feng Shui naturally involves balancing the yin and yang elements of the living space. A garden with excessive yang is not relaxing. Excessive yin may be too bland or boring. A backyard fountain garden naturally contains both yin and yang elements. Water may be yin or yang. A cascading waterfall or bubbling fountain home garden evokes yang energy. A still pond or pool exemplifies the serenity of yin. Picture a garden pond with a pond fountain. Surround the garden fountain pond with additional balanced elements of yin and yang such as a lush, lacy green ferns (yin) tucked brilliant blooms (yang). Large, textured rocks (yang) complement a series of small smooth stones along a garden path. Garden statuary fountains are another way to add a yin or yang element to outdoor spaces.

Remember that yin and yang are not concrete concepts. Like night turns to day, they are ever changing, constantly evolving. To create the most pleasing yin and yang environment, as seasons change, look for ways to lower the yang energy while raising the yin energy until the two are balanced.


Garden Fountains Turn Drab into Dramatic

The outdoor environment detracts or enhances the appearance, ambiance and appeal of a home. According the Feng Shui principles, outdoor space design has a significant impact on the flow of energy, well-being and success.

A drab garden with dead plants exudes negative energy and gives the impression of neglect and indifference. Turn drab to dramatic with an outdoor makeover. Begin by removing dead, dying and overgrown plants and other unsightly debris. Then, use the five essential elements of Feng Shui to create a fountain garden with impressive visual appeal; a setting that brings pleasure and good fortune.

The five elements are water, fire, earth, wood and metal. Moving water is a powerful Feng Shui symbol. Choose from small tabletop garden fountains, free-standing fountains, floating fountains, garden statuary fountains and garden waterfalls that appeal to each of the five senses and become the centerpiece of outdoor living space. The light and warmth of the sun signify fire complemented by an outdoor fireplace, candles and incense burners. Earth is symbolized by pottery urns and planters, rocks and stone. Wood is represented by trees providing shade and shelter. Wooden windchimes also complement the sound of burbling fountain waters. And metal is introduced to the setting with fountain materials such as copper and stainless and other gleaming garden accessories.


Outdoor Water Features Safety

In addition to making sure outdoor water features don't present any safety hazards, don't forget to maintain their proper care and maintenance. Whether you're dealing with designed and built outdoor water features or whether you have a purchased garden fountain, regular maintenance will help preserve the natural beauty of the fountain. Take care to remove any leaves, twigs, or other debris which can not only affect the appearance of your outdoor water feature but can damage your pump.


Types Of Outdoor Garden Fountains

Another great addition to natural outdoor garden fountains is the waterfall. The sound and movement of rushing water will enhance the beauty of any garden with a natural theme. The best type of waterfall to select for natural outdoor garden fountains is one that will blend in seamlessly with the surroundings. Choose a rock waterfall with a weathered appearance and natural textures. A rock waterfall may have a slab stone appearance or take on a rich color with shades of beige, brown and red.

Should I be concerned about safety around garden pools?

Outdoor Water Features Safety

Outdoor water features should be a haven for everyone who comes to visit. Although outdoor water features aren't hazardous, there are some safety considerations to keep in mind if you're having one built so you can enjoy your water feature without any worries.

  • Children are at the most risk around an outdoor water feature. In order to keep your water feature a safe place, keep watch over them at all times. You can also add features like a rock wall around the edge and add wide, shallow plants to discourage venturing near the water's edge.
  • Maintain safety by keeping electrical controls hidden away. You should make sure all outlets have a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to prevent electrocution.
  • Have the surface edges around your outdoor water feature designed with a non-slip material. Rock surfaces should have some roughness to them to prevent slippage.
  • Outdoor water features with deep floors should have some sort of fencing around it to prevent accidental falls.
  • Have an inside ledge designed into outdoor water features to give easy access out to someone who does fall in. Marginal plants would require a ledge in outdoor water features regardless of safety considerations.

Who can I hire to help me create my outdoor garden fountain?

Hiring Experts For Your Garden Fountain

Sometimes, designing your vision of the perfect garden fountain becomes too insurmountable a task to do on your own. In that case, it's time to call in the experts to help you get your project accomplished. If you're just getting started, here is a list of some of the professionals you can contact to get your project underway.

Landscape Architect – The landscape architect can design and manage your outdoor project as well as give you helpful suggestions on what works, what looks good, what's cost effective and what isn't.

Landscape Contractor – Responsible for overseeing the building process of your garden fountain, a contractor will hire out the necessary hands to create the plumbing, install plants, dig the site and provide construction. You can hire a landscape contractor without the help of a landscape architect. Your fees may be lower, but you may miss out on some creativity and design solutions.

Structural and soils engineers – These professionals will analyze your soil and make sure any structures in your garden fountain project are safe if you need to go to the building department for permits.

How do I determine what size and shape my garden fountain should be?

The Size and Shape Of Your Garden Pool

If you're designing your own garden pool, you'll have the freedom to give it any size and shape within the restraints of the land. What size and shape your garden pool ends up being will be based on your budget and the limits of your site. While larger pools require a greater expense and work to build, they can also provide you with more enjoyment and a more stable ecosystem in the long run. We've provided some ideas for your overall fountain configuration below:

  • For limited space, you can still create something that's of visual interest. A kidney-shaped pool surrounded by landscape doesn't have to be large, but can have a big impact on its surroundings.
  • Your garden pool doesn't have to be any specific shape. In fact, it can take on a very organic form. It can be a stream meandering through the landscape that culminates into a natural looking pond.
  • Conversely, your garden pool can make a big design statement with a very fixed shape. It can be a clearly man-made pool with a slick slate surface, running linearly through a landscaped area.
  • Your garden pool can have the addition of steps and bridges to divide its appearance. The placement of a wood bridge and several stepping stones into a semi-circular fountain can make an attractive statement.

Can you give me some ideas for types of outdoor water gardens?

Types Of Outdoor Garden Fountains

Outdoor garden fountains can take on many forms. However, there are some basic styles of outdoor garden fountains you can re-create or pattern your own design after. Here are some ideas to start with.

English Garden – The English Garden is a classic piece which can incorporate a simple wall or pedestal fountain to complete its look. For plant life, consider shrub roses, Boxwood and Foxglove. Your fountain can contain an array of aquatic plants, including the Victoria Amazonica, Anemone, and Watercress.

Cottage Garden- A cottage-style garden can be a casual outdoor environment. Dress up your landscape with a pedestal fountain and add Azolla, Louisiana Iris and Water Snowflake into the water. Plant life in your landscape can include Phlox, Lavender and the Hemerocallis.

Natural Garden – This type of garden looks like you've just entered the lush landscape of an untouched outdoor area. You can add a pool designed to look like a natural pond in your natural garden. Add Water lettuce, Common Cattail and Hardy Nymphaea to your water feature. Landscaping can include Elephant's Ear and Carex around the water's edge.

Asian Garden- Make it simple and serene. For an Asian garden, you can borrow ideas from Feng Shui design, like water flowing towards the home – signifying the incoming flow of income. Add a streamlined fountain filled with Lotus, Taro, and Tropical Nymphaea. In the landscaping, have Juniper, Bamboo and Flowing Plum.

How do I start planning for an outdoor water garden?

How To Plan An Outdoor Garden Fountain

Adding an outdoor garden fountain to your home can be a complex process. With styles ranging from modern garden pools with a minimalist attitude and streamlined edges to a lush garden pond with no hint of man-made effort, the choices are virtually limitless. To help you in the planning stages of your outdoor garden fountain, we've compiled some considerations for you to think about.

What kind of environment do I want? This is an obvious question, but one that needs to be answered. An outdoor garden fountain can be a tranquil, meditative oasis or a vocal crash of waterfalls. An outdoor garden fountain can be the main attraction in an outdoor environment or a natural element to enhance the existing landscape.

What designs inspire me? Browsing through landscape garden books, magazines and visiting outdoor areas with garden fountains will help you get ideas to get started. You can borrow an entire concept and replicate it in your own environment or take pieces from various water features and create them into a cohesive design.

What will be the dominant feature? The pool can be the main attraction and the landscape can surround the pool. Conversely, you can design the landscaping to have an unobtrusive body of water to punctuate the land.

What plants will you add? The overall look of your outdoor garden fountain will be strongly influenced by the plants that you add. In addition, the strategic addition of plant life can help maintain the ecosystem of your water feature.

Will you add fish? Fish add visual interest and a focal point to any outdoor garden fountain. They also can help the ecosystem by controlling algae. If you decide to add fish, you'll have to consider an appropriate design to maintain your fish's health.

What is an appropriate fountain to add to an English garden?

The Sunken English Garden Fountain

If you have an English garden and you want to compliment it with a water feature, consider adding a sunken garden fountain. A sunken garden fountain can make a nice dramatic touch to an English garden with a little proper planning and placement. The total cost of a project like this would be between $5,000 and $6,000 with hired professionals. Do-it-yourselfers can complete the project in three weekends for about $1,500. Here's some advice to get you headed in the right direction:

  • Pick a location that lets you view the sunken fountain from several vantage points, the house and parts of the garden, as well.
  • To amplify the effect of the water sound, place your sunken fountain near a wall or paved area.
  • Use classical English garden elements like a round shape to mirror rounded garden walls.
  • To get a fountain pool with a six foot diameter, you'll need to dig a pit 8 feet and 6 inches in diameter. A 20” depth should work nicely.
  • You can use a broken piece of concrete to hide and protect the liner bottom of your fountain. Paving contractors often have to pay to haul these away, so you might be able to obtain these at no cost.
  • Use mortar to seal the concrete pavers and you can also press the conduits into place in the mortar, as well.
  • Use decorative brick, flush to the ground, to finish off the edge of the sunken fountain.
  • Add a cluster of decorative plants to decorate the pool inside the fountain.
  • Create a centerpiece of poured concrete to house the submersible pump.
  • Finish off the sunken fountain by using a two-piece urn with a hole in the bottom which allows you to project water through the top.


Childproofing a Garden Fountain

Kids love water and are naturally attracted to sound and action of moving water in a garden fountain. Children can't resist playing in water. They want to mimic the statuary garden fountains that shoos water from its mouth into a pond and a drink from a garden fountain on a hot summer day is almost irresistible. All of these temptations create safety hazards for young children. Toddlers can drown in just an inch or two of water and even older children should be closely supervised around water sources.

Before installing a garden fountain or garden pool, check local ordinances for safety requirements and make sure homeowners liability insurance covers water fountain gardens. Fences surrounding a fountain area create a barrier and help discourage uninvited young visitors. Raise home garden fountains above the ground so that they are out of reach and cannot be tipped over. Rocks and stones are attractive and control the depth of garden fountains. Pots overflowing with lush plants make access to a fountain less accessible. Keep a garden fountain and children in view at all times when outdoors. And for still pond or pool waters, install a floating alarm signals disturbances on the water's surface.


Maximizing Garden Fountain Space

Some homeowners like to showcase large outdoor spaces with elaborate water fountains, waterfalls, ponds, paths and gardens. Others prefer to tuck an intimate garden fountain into a corner of their outdoor world. Patio home and condominium residents typically must make creative use of very limited outdoor space.

Whether your outdoor space is large or small, it is important to choose a fountain that is sized appropriately and coordinates with the overall ambiance planned for your garden. An over-sized garden fountain overwhelms a small space and an undersized water fountain loses its impact in a large space. Measure the outdoor area and diagram the space dividing it into equally space grids to make it easier to focus on balancing the overall environment.

An ancient Feng Shui adage proclaims that “a garden should offer a new view every three steps." Therefore, whether you have a large landscaping area or small patio space, it is important to make the most of available outdoor area. Stand in the center of the space you wish to use for a garden fountain and turn slowly in a circle. Visualize elements you would find pleasing in each direction. For additional help in balancing elements within a garden fountain area, seek the advice of a landscaping professional or garden fountain supplier.


The Sunken English Garden Fountain

The perfect addition to any English garden is a fountain. You can add a fountain, such as the two-tier Belvedere cast stone garden fountain, in an English garden. The placement of your fountain can be at the center of the garden or along the garden's edge. The key is to build a landscape environment that allows the fountain to become an integral piece in your garden. Pick up elements from the fountain and compliment it in your landscaping, such as a rounded layer of brick paving to mirror the circular lines of the fountain itself.

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Guru Spotlight
William Pirraglia