Garden-fountains are provocative. They can be as noisy as a cascading waterfall or as serene as a water lily sitting on its surface. It might be a playfully bubbling garden-fountain or a mysterious black pool reflecting the silver moon. Its moods are elusive as it ripples, rushes, gurgles, splashes, drips, leaps, babbles, trickles, roars or simply lies still and quiet.
Some admirers think water is as compelling as fire and a lot easier to control. Water can be introduced into the garden in a variety of ways, ranging from simple birdbaths and small fishponds to lavish garden-fountains and ambitious manmade waterfalls.
Getting Started Planning a Stunning Garden-Fountain
The quickest way to introduce the garden-fountain into the landscape is to set out a simple concrete birdbath. This immediately brings a bit of reflection to the landscape, and it adds action and life as birds begin splashing and flickering around their newly found source of fresh water. This is especially so during dry periods, when birds are desperately looking for a drink. A small pump may be added to create the garden-fountain effect.
The next step up might be a small, wall-hung fountain of manmade materials that mimic lead or stone, or the real thing at a considerably higher price. These might take the form of a lion’s head or a gargoyle that spouts water out of its mouth into a basin below.
Small Pools Offer Charm as a Garden-Fountain
At some point, almost every gardener hankers for a small garden-fountain pool. There are several ways to go. Those with a limited budget or very small space can try a half whiskey barrel. Fill it with water and add one small water lily, one small bog plant, a bunch of submerged grasses to help keep the algae down so the water will remain clear, and a pair of fantail fish to keep the water moving and free of insects. A garden fountain garden fountain can be installed to the pool for added drama.
Ideally a garden-fountain should be situated in the sun. Shade tends to lead to moss and algae on stone, cement, and bricks, and nearby trees drop their leaves into the pond every fall. Rocks and plants placed at random around the edge of a garden-fountain make a naturalistic coping for gardens that have a woodsy, informal look. Bricks or fieldstones laid in a pattern give a more formal effect.
Some people keep their small pools simple and unadorned. Others add motion with a small jet garden-fountain placed on the bottom to spurt water into the air anywhere from a few inches to many feet. A small “bubbler fountain” might take the form of a lead water lily with a hidden jet that bubbles the water over the leaf and into the basin or pool. Water lilies, some powerfully scented, others with huge fanciful leaves, add floral interest. Fish add color and keep the water clean, while statues and underwater lights increase the pool’s beauty.
Installing a rock garden with a small garden fountain and waterfall or perhaps a small, trickling stream is a huge project. The most common mistake is to try to set the waterfall in the middle of a flat lawn. The result usually looks like a guard tower at the local prison. A two foot gradual slope is a much more natural solution.
It is also difficult to get a man-made stream to look natural. Rocks that create rivulets and hide any necessary pumps must be strategically but naturally placed, a tough balance to find and difficult to change once the heavy rocks are placed. In some instances contractors have to bring in rocks by crane.
Different Designs of Water Pools and Garden-Fountains
The design of any water feature should echo the general theme of the garden. Gardens with a Spanish or Middle Eastern look lend themselves to a long, straight tile-lined channel of water a few inches deep that ends in a small fountain jet or a piece of statuary. Informal gardens call for naturalistic features, such as an irregularly shaped pool in the middle of a fern glade or a water bog for plants that thrive in wetlands. Formal gardens look best with lead or concrete garden-fountains and symmetrical pools. Japanese gardens are a natural setting for streams, reflecting pools, small lakes (depending on the size of the property) and “dry water” features such as “streams” of river rocks or gravel raked in patterns to simulate waves.