Every Home Needs a Fountain

A few things to ponder before choosing the best water feature for your abode.

Fountains have personalities. You have to pick a fountain you can bond with, a fountain that will fit your lifestyle over time. So, there’s homework involved in finding the perfect fountain. After filling a glass with your favorite bubbly drink, spend time in the space where the fountain is going to spend its life and ponder a few things…

1. Location

The most common place to install a fountain is close to an electrical outlet, on a hard surface like a patio or terrace, covered with flagstone, pavers, or a cast stone plinth. Fountains can be shimmed to a certain degree, but a level area is a good starting point. The fountain can be used as an accent piece—or against a wall, in the middle of a planting bed, or on a deck. If it makes you happy there, it’s the right spot.

2. Scale

The spectrum of scale is anywhere between an estate-sized fountain in a pool surround and a tabletop bubbler. Measure the ground area available for the bottom of the fountain and study the height, as well. You may want to be able to see the water from the inside of your house, or your goal may be to hide it away in a bed surrounded with plants. It could welcome you home in the middle of the driveway, or hide with you in your secret garden.

3. Sound

This is an important component when deciding on a fountain. Some of those showcasing one spout with a long drop have a very distinctive and loud sound. They are best suited to cover unwanted noises from street traffic or noisy neighbors, or placed at the other end of the property, away from where conversations take place. On the other end of the spectrum, bubblers on birdbath fountains are calming and don't overtake the mood of the space. Some sounds are more cavernous, others more like a small mountain stream, and the tiered fountains are refreshing and dainty, which is always perfect right outside an open bedroom window.

4. Style

Coloradans are known for their love of simple, elegant, and clean lines, but the style you pick will also depend on the architectural style of the house and garden. Most tiered fountains are classic and timeless, while transitional to contemporary ones are better suited for urban and modern homes. In the case of cast stone fountains, the choice of the patina can drastically personalize the piece and give it a custom-made feel. Imagine an ornate tiered fountain in a dramatic black finish or a French classic pool surround in a copper bronze color. Be bold for your fountain to be a conversation piece, or fold it into the landscape so it melts into its surroundings.

5. Maintenance

Most above-ground and self-contained fountains are relatively maintenance-free. Fill them up with water at the beginning of the warm season and top them off as needed, depending on the weather, wind, and how thirsty your dog can be. There are instances where there will be a small buildup of algae; a thorough cleaning and a few drops of algaecide will take care of the problem. Winterize the fountain at the same time you do your irrigation system and put it to bed for the winter by covering it with an adapted fountain cover. If you chose a ceramic fountain that doesn't splash, you could bring it inside your home and enjoy it all year long. Be honest about how much time and effort you are willing to devote to maintenance. If you will enjoy filling a shallow fountain every day, go for it. If you know it will be a burden, go for a deeper reservoir.

6. Enjoy!

Few sounds are as soothing as the trickling of water around a home. Let yourself be calmed on hot days by the coolness of the water. If the basin is large enough, you may be able to throw in a few aquatic plants and watch them bob around. Treat yourself to a drink with your feet in the water. The pleasures of having a fountain of your own are endless.

Annie Huston is the co-owner of Birdsall & Co., a home and garden boutique in Denver, Colorado that is considered to be one of the finest in the nation. View their profile or reach Annie at annie@birdsallgarden.com.

Content for this article provided by Birdsall & Co.

Categories: Landscaping & Gardening