Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Editors
Does hearing the soft sound of flowing or trickling water relax you and calm your mind? Are you looking for a new touch to add to your garden or patio? An Outdoor Fountain is the answer. Whether you are looking for an inexpensive way to upgrade your patio or are carrying out a renovation project for your garden, our guide about Outdoor Fountains is an essential read.
What is an outdoor fountain?
A fountain is a water feature, a structure that serves as a terminal point for clear water. It is not a spout, nozzle or a faucet. It is a structure that is used for the collection and distribution of water from a spring, a pipeline, etc. A fountain has one or more taps, is both simple and elaborate construction and decoration at the same time.
In the past, fountains in outdoor areas were associated mainly with social life and religious beliefs. Also, they were used for public water supply or as symbols of wealth and prosperity in private houses. The “public water supply” part lost some of its significance with the recent construction of modern public water systems that provide tap water in developed countries.
What is the purpose of outdoor fountains?
An outdoor fountain has two primary purposes, depending on the use. The first primary purpose is, of course, to provide fresh drinking water. The second primary purpose is decoration. An outdoor water feature like an outdoor fountain is ideal for decorating the garden or patio. Actually, it will be the central element of your garden’s decoration. An outdoor fountain can satisfy both needs. Unfortunately, the problem is that it needs to be connected permanently to a water supply that provides fresh drinkable water.
These days, people use outdoor fountains as a decoration option for their garden or patio. These fountains recirculate the same water. Thankfully, the construction and maintenance of outdoor fountains does not cost much.
How do outdoor fountains work?
Most modern outdoor fountains or garden fountains have a water basin or reservoir at their base. They use a pump to force the water from the reservoir up into a copper pipe, hose or other tubing and have fountain spray head or some other nozzle. Almost all affordable outdoor water fountains often need water and a constant power source to operate. The power can be a connection to the local electricity grid or solar.
All the above are enclosed in a beautiful decoration for aesthetics and are supplied as a kit. The kit consists of a pump, tubbing, a basin and a stunning decoration. It acts as a complete system that recirculates water.
What are the different types of outdoor fountains?
So, how do I choose an outdoor fountain for your garden or patio? Finding your next outdoor fountain can be extremely difficult because there are so many options. In addition, finding the right materials, colors, sizes, styles, and the best outdoor fountain design to match your garden or patio can also be challenging. Anyway, the first thing you should check is the type of fountain. Generally, there are eight common types of outdoor water fountains:
1. Bird bath fountains
If the local fauna and especially neighborhood birds are on the list of your first priorities when choosing an outdoor fountain, then the bird bath fountains are perfect for you. Moreover, if you already have a birdbath in your yard or garden then you should consider buying a bird bath fountain kit for it. There are electric and solar bird fountains, solar bird bath fountains with lights, battery operated bird bath fountains, large, and small bird bath fountains, mini solar fountains for bird baths or concrete and stone bird bath fountains and more!
2. Outdoor floor fountains
Do you like freestanding fountains? If the answer is yes, then you should choose a floor fountain. These fountains do not have any mounting requirements. Usually, floor fountains are not just plain “freestanding fountains” but a combination of more than one type of outdoor fountains.
3. Tabletop fountains
These cool fountains are perfect additions to your garden or patio tables. If you adore mini waterfalls, then you can choose a tabletop waterfall, a desk waterfall or a mini desk waterfall. Do you dislike metal material? There are ceramic tabletop fountains. For additional portability the battery operated and solar tabletop fountains are great options. Furthermore, if you like this type of fountains you can buy desk Fountains, desktop fountains, lighted tabletop fountains or small tabletop fountains. There are even Buddha tabletop fountains and tabletop Zen fountains.
4. Pond fountains
Fountains for ponds will upgrade the visual appeal of your pond. In addition, they will provide the necessary aeration that your pond needs. A pond aerator fountain has the ability to aerate your pond. Moreover, if budget is a concern to you then you can choose a floating solar pond fountain. A large solar pond fountain can provide enough oxygen to a small pond and improve its water quality. On the market you can find fountains for common and large ponds, small pond fountains and floating fountains for small ponds.
Typically, floating fountains for small ponds are very popular. However there are some specialized pond fountains like fountains for fish ponds, decorative pond fountains, pond fountains with lights, garden pond fountains and waterfalls.
5. Pool fountains
A good pool jet fountain or a pool return fountain can be your pool’s best friend – perfect for providing soothing sounds and motion to your pool. There are inground pool fountains and pool fountains for above ground pools. The popular options are swimming pool fountains, pool wall fountains, waterfall pool fountains and floating pool fountains with lights.
6. Outdoor wall fountains & water walls
Anyone who has been in the fountain business for any period of time already knows that outdoor wall fountains, water walls and wall mounted waterfalls look great. Generally, you can find small or large outdoor wall fountains & waterfalls, wall hanging fountains, solar wall fountains. The classic ones are stone or concrete wall fountains and Spanish tile wall fountains. On the flip side, the modern are bubble water walls and led bubble walls which are very popular for indoor use. However, you can place them outside to compliment your patio.
7. Outdoor waterfall fountains
Actually, waterfall is more of a style that describes an outdoor water feature and less of a type of fountain. However, because of marketing reasons it is easier to consider it a type of fountain. Normally, on the market you can find patio waterfalls or garden waterfall fountains. If you do not want to spend much for a large outdoor waterfall or you want smaller options then you can look for small waterfall fountains and small garden waterfalls.
A classic option is the cascading waterfall fountain. However, if you need a modern waterfall then you can choose a mirror waterfall fountain. Furthermore, there are water curtains or rain curtain fountains which are great whether you are a classic or modern person.
As for materials, the glass waterfalls, stone or rock waterfall fountains are the most common ones. Typically, most outdoor waterfall fountains are electric waterfalls. However, if you need a portable waterfall then you can choose a battery operated waterfall or a solar waterfall fountain.
8. Solar fountains
These are outdoor solar powered fountains & waterfalls. Generally, outdoor fountains of this type do not cost much. Among this type of fountains you will find large or small solar fountains, solar fountains with lights, solar pond or pool fountains, solar fountain kits and others.
Other fountain types
Do not worry if neither of the eight common types of outdoor fountains satisfies your needs. There are more types of fountains like outdoor corner fountains, aerating fountains and bubble fountains, specialized decorative fountains, electric fountains and battery operated fountains. Moreover, you can find on the market fountains with plants and planter fountains, outdoor fountains with lights and led fountains, tranquility fountains, in ground and pedestal fountains.
Outdoor fountains materials
Fountains for outdoor living spaces must be made of materials that are quite resistant to temperature changes because they have to be exposed to the outdoor elements all year round. It is highly recommended to choose an outdoor water feature whose materials are the most resilient, durable, weatherproof, non-toxic and resistant to rust. The fountains below use the most common materials:
- Concrete fountains
- Rock fountains like bubbling rock fountains
- Stone Fountains (cast stone or natural stone fountains)
- Bamboo fountains and wood fountains
- Ceramic fountains and pottery fountains
- Marble fountains
- Granite fountains
- Resin fountains, fiberglass fountains and plastic fountains
- Metal fountains like copper fountains
- Glass fountains
Amazon.com has a huge collection of premium outdoor fountains in materials such as, Resin, Metal, Plastic, Stone, Wood, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), Polyester, Fiberglass, Ceramic, Foam, Cotton, Glass, Granite, Bamboo etc.
The colors of outdoor fountains
Typically, the color of a fountain for outdoor living spaces are the colors of its material. However, you can find black fountains, white fountains or more colorful fountains like a blue bamboo fountain. Some are already painted inside with a light blue color. These blue water fountains are very popular.
Outdoor fountain design
The designs and styles of outdoor fountains are also very numerous. They are classic, rustic, contemporary or modern outdoor fountains, outdoor fountains with lights. The most common ones are:
- Modern Outdoor Fountains like modern wall fountains, modern garden waterfalls and modern garden fountains
- Contemporary outdoor fountains
- Rustic fountains
- Medieval fountains
- Mediterranean Fountains like a Greek fountain or a Roman fountain
- Buddha outdoor fountains and waterfalls.
- Zen fountains, feng shui fountains and shishi odoshi fountains
- Sculptural fountains like frog fountains, outdoor elephant fountains, lion fountains or lion head wall fountains
- Vase fountains, jar fountains and urn fountains
- Bowl fountains
- Barrel fountains
- Sphere fountains and ball fountains
- Tiered fountains (the 3 tier fountains are the most common)
- Rectangular or round fountains
- Cascade fountains and stacked stone fountains
Whether barrel or column, sphere or with sculpture, rustic or modern, an elegant outdoor fountain will blend perfectly with the ecosystem of your garden or patio. Check our guide about the 10 best outdoor wall fountain designs and styles that can decorate your empty outdoor walls and make them more elegant.
Outdoor fountains size and height
Outdoor fountains come in many sizes. There are large outdoor fountains, small outdoor fountains and mini fountains. Usually, if you plan to buy the latter then you can look for a mini desk fountain or a tabletop fountain. A large outdoor fountain or a tall outdoor fountain will be the focal point of your outdoor decor as a garden or patio decoration. It can be the center of attention on your front lawn too.
A 60 inch tall water fountain is a very good choice for folks who want an extra large outdoor fountain. On the other hand, miniature or little fountains are portable and, most of the time, cost a lot less.
What are the benefits of outdoor fountains?
Outdoor water fountains make a beautiful addition to almost any garden or patio style. Upgrading your garden or patio space with an outdoor fountain has many advantages like masking annoying sounds, low maintenance and care costs vs other water features. In addition, Outdoor Fountains will renovate your landscape and add value to your house. We gathered the best 6 amazing benefits of having an outdoor fountain in your garden or patio. So, let’s see which are they:
To give your outdoor living space a new look and aesthetics, there is nothing more beautiful than a living art. When you are looking to add elegance and style to your garden, outdoor fountains can be a wonderful option. Additionally, an outdoor fountain is a significant decorative asset that will brighten the garden or patio’s look. It will create or enhance an elegant and styled outdoor living space. The outdoor water fountain adds instant beauty to your surroundings and a wow-factor to outdoor decor, whether it is garden or patio. Generally, it is a perfect addition to your outdoor living area and an improvement of the quality of life.
Outdoor Fountains are Therapeutic
The outdoor fountain is more than an essential decorative object in your garden or patio where you spend time with family or friends. Adding a water feature like this kind of fountain can be useful. It turns your home’s outdoor area into a relaxing oasis and can reduce daily stress. The gentle sound of flowing water and the pleasant sound of falling water create a peaceful relaxing sensation. It is therapeutic, brings tranquility, spiritual healing and the beauty of nature to your outdoor living area.
The outdoor fountain is the sound of rain on demand: It will improve your sleep!
An outdoor fountain represents many things. Throughout history the outdoor fountains represented power, diachronically have various religious meanings, carry the symbolic meaning of joy, purification, marriage etc. The most notable universal symbolisms are:
- Health, cleanliness and hygiene: Fountains were perhaps the most basic element of Asclepius’ sanctuaries (i.e., ancient hospitals).
- Longevity: One of the most famous myths about fountains is the “fountain of youth”. The Greek historian Herodotus was the first to mention the “fountain of youth”. In his book he tells us a story about a king of long-lived Ethiopians (burnt-face people, not necessarily modern Ethiopians). The king claimed that the answer to long-life was to eat boiled meat, drink milk (Greek: σίτησιν δὲ εἶναι κρέα ἑφθὰ καὶ πόμα γάλα) and take a bath in the fountain.
Outdoor Fountains are useful for you,…
Another advantage of the garden fountain is that it is a real source of freshness. We only realize this during a hot summer day. An outdoor fountain in your garden or patio will cool and improve the air quality especially for places with hot and dry climate.
… your little unexpected guests …
Having a fountain in your garden can help you make new friends. Your outdoor water feature will become a rallying point for local fauna, especially small birds undoubtedly. If you like small wild birds then you will fall in love with your outdoor fountain.
… and can improve your other garden or patio water features
A water feature like a pond has static water. As a result it attracts mosquitoes and needs aeration to keep it healthy. By adding a fountain to a pond, the latter gains constant flow of water which produces aeration that reduces algae, decreases mosquito activity, improves water quality, removes odor etc.
Summary of benefits
As shown above, outdoor fountains improve the aesthetics of your outdoor living area, have potential therapeutic effects and carry positive symbolism. In addition, these elegant water features can help you improve the air quality of your surroundings, attract small birds and benefit your other water features of your garden or patio.
There are outdoor water fountains for every outdoor living space, suitable for every style, beautiful, versatile and affordable. However, there are some things to consider before buying and integrating an outdoor fountain to your garden or patio. To achieve the best results you should read below where to place such a water feature.
Outdoor fountains cost
The cost can be as low as a few bucks or as high as the median salary in Kentucky. There are many different factors that influence the cost: Custom-made or factory made, size, materials, extra features, professional installation services and labor cost. Many years ago, garden outdoor fountains were regarded as luxury items and were installed only in the most luxurious houses.
Apparently, that’s no longer the case. In amazon.com you can find many different models of outdoor fountains to choose from. Obviously you will not find extremely large and expensive models. There are first-class outdoor fountains for all tastes, all garden and patio styles, at reasonable prices and low maintenance costs.
Where is the best place to put a fountain?
Any outdoor fountain is a beauty in any outdoor living space. They look great in your garden, patio, deck or home decor space. However, there are specialized fountains for each space. For instance, you can find balcony or porch fountains, deck fountains, fountains for gardens, patio fountains, fire pit fountains and more.
What to consider before installing a fountain?
Generally, most people like to have their fountain in front of their house. However, if you want the best result, especially, for practical reasons then the placement is a determining criterion for making your choice. First of all, outdoor fountains need a water source and a constant power source unless they operate like Heron’s fountain.
Hopefully, most of the outdoor fountains have a recirculating pump which continuously reuses and returns the water from the outdoor fountain’s reservoir so they do not need a constant source of water like a connection to the water supply network. Anyway, it is good to have quick access to a water source because you will need to refill your water fountain frequently. Typically, this will happen during Summer and/or the outdoor fountain is exposed under the sun for long periods. On the other hand, you may use a hose.
Okay, here is the most difficult part: Outdoor fountains need electricity to operate. You will have to hire an electrician to run a waterproof power line underground through your garden or bury one by yourself. Unless you place your outdoor fountain near a power outlet or buy a solar fountain pump or one with batteries (!!!). So, choose carefully.
Uneven ground and tall outdoor fountain
The outdoor fountain must be level. Obviously, its footing must be level too. Prefer a spot where the ground is level, stable and clean. You might have to use stones, cement or some other material for extra stability if the fountain is very tall and its center of gravity is too high. Typically, to level the ground you can use a hoe or a mattock to break the uneven ground and dislodge any rocks, a garden rake to level and a hand tamper to pack down the soil.
Trees are your enemy
Generally, a good rule is to avoid placing garden fountains under trees. If you insist on placing them under a tree then you have to accept the fact that you will have to clean your outdoor fountain from leaves and/or other things, like tree bugs, bird droppings, debris or plant residues, frequently. Here is a piece of advice for the leaves: You can put a net above or inside the fountain’s visible water area and use it to scoop out the leaves.
Also, trees can be your outdoor fountain ally
It is important that your outdoor fountain is partly in the shade. The best plants to provide such shade without causing many problems are small trees and big bushes and the best place to install this water feature is near them, not under them. Also, consider installing an outdoor fountain in your patio place. For example, under a pergola, a canopy tent or a gazebo.
Water leaks and splashes
Just avoid placing the outdoor fountain over or near hardwood or other susceptible to moisture and vulnerable to water damage patio flooring especially if:
- The fountain pump is too powerful and it hasn’t any flow control mechanism to adjust the outflow of water.
- You don’t plan to do maintenance regularly and ain’t going to check the fountain for water leaks frequently.
However, if you insist on buying a fountain for your deck then you are in luck because there are specialized fountains for decks and patio fountains.
Outdoor fountains for sound masking
Outdoor fountains give shape and sound to water. You should take advantage of the latter to mask unpleasant noises that contaminate your outdoor living area.
Typically, the good spots to place a fountain to mask sounds are:
- close to a privacy fence
- adjacent to a fence in front of your home
- near the boundary line between your property and your neighbor’s property.
Outdoor fountains installation
If it is not a custom-made outdoor fountain or a diy fountain, then you need an easy to assemble and low maintenance outdoor fountain. The amazing thing about them is that they are simple to install. In fact, most outdoor fountains on the market are “easy to install” products. So, it is fairly easy to install a garden fountain. All you need to do is to follow the fountain’s instruction manual and you are set.
However, you do not have to buy a branded outdoor fountain. Just buy a fountain pump and grab some materials. For instance, something to use for a reservoir and tubing. Also, do not forget to buy silicone to seal holes. Use your imagination for decor and voila: You have an outdoor fountain and it is designed by you. Whether a diy fountain, custom-made outdoor fountain or branded outdoor fountain, the criteria of choosing the place of installation, which were mentioned in the previous paragraphs, are the most difficult parts of this process.
Outdoor fountains maintenance
Normally, an outdoor fountain requires little maintenance. However, the proper maintenance is essential to prolong your outdoor fountain’s life. First of all, make sure you have unplugged everything before doing any maintenance. Afterwards, follow the outdoor fountain’s or pump instructions manual. If not stated otherwise you can do the following:
- Always, keep the outdoor fountain pump completely submerged under water (However, you will not have to do this if the pump is external). You will have to monitor the water level and add water to your outdoor water feature when it is necessary.
- Once a month check for water leaks.
- Periodically, remove the water from the fountain when it gets muddy, clean the fountain and refill.
- Remove muck, dead leaves, debris, plant residues, bird droppings, algae, mineral deposits that can harm your outdoor fountain.
- Clean the pump, nozzle heads and water tank.
- You should protect your outdoor fountain during winter. You might have to turn off your outdoor fountain and remove the water completely. When Winter comes or during freezing weather conditions, you should bring it indoors to warmer temperatures to store it. Otherwise, you can leave it outside and protect it with an outdoor fountain cover.
Brief history of outdoor fountains
According to the Greek geographer Pausanias a city without at least one functional fountain in it, should not be considered a city. The value of fountains and the things that come with their presence are one of the main reasons why great civilizations emerged, thrived and prospered. All over the world, you will find outdoor fountains at the sites of ancient or more recent civilizations.
Read the whole article here: History of fountains
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.