Tips on choosing an outdoor fountain

Outdoor fountains may force streams of water upward to come splashing down into a reservoir, or the fountain may allow water to trickle out, barely making a splash as it makes its way downward. Either type of fountain is pretty to look at and more importantly, delightful to hear. Choosing an outdoor fountain goes beyond finding a fountain that looks nice.


Choose where you want to place your fountain. In front of your house, a fountain could be enjoyed by visitors, but for the homeowner, the enjoyment can be limited to seeing the fountain from a window. Placing the fountain in the backyard near a seating area can provide a soothing sound that may help to block out street noise if that is an issue.
A fountain placed near or under a tree will require periodic cleaning to remove fallen leaves and twigs, which could clog the system, preventing the water from recycling. If you lack the space for a freestanding fountain, consider mounting a fountain on an exterior wall of the house or on a stone or brick fence.

At the location of choice, place a chair(s), ladder, kiddy pool or some other objects you have on hand that approximates the desired size of fountain. Walk to different areas of the yard to see if that location is balanced in the setting. The fountain should be a focal point, drawing your eyes to the fountain because it fits the location, not because it is overpowering or too dainty for the vegetation or yard space around it.


The appropriate size for the fountain may be based on the available space, what is nearby, and of course, personal preference. It will take acreage and large house to balance a large fountain, like where the lawn alone is over 1/2 acre. Envision the Nemours Mansion, shown here.

Moderate sized fountains, 3 to 5 feet tall, can be placed at a turn or end of sidewalk, in the center of a flower bed, along the perimeter of the yard-virtually anywhere. The fountain might be two-tiered, with a large bowl on a pedestal that supports a small pedestaled-bowl.

Short fountains, less than 3 feet tall, can be placed within a flower bed. Both birds and butterflies appreciate the moisture. An orb or pillar-shaped fountains are possibilities.

Table top fountain

Table top fountains, typical less than 1 foot tall, can be placed on a table in a seating area where they can be better appreciated. The table top model may be a ceramic pot or deep saucer filled with river rock over which water flows.


From as low as one hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars, fountains may be made of marble, concrete or cast stone, bronze, copper, ceramic, or faux finishes (to look like stone or copper) made from fiberglass. Fiberglass fountains will be far lighter than the material then are imitating, yet quite authentic looking.

Choose a material that goes with the facade of the house or the garden in which it will reside. For example, a gothic fountain will not seem at home in an English flower garden. Instead, choose a plain fountain or a fountain depicting cherubs or small animals, like rabbits, birds or squirrels.

Other Things to Consider

The fountain will have a pump that requires electric to operate. The electric wire can be run underground to any destination. The fountain will need to be cleaned periodically, particularly if birds or other animals share your love for the fountain. The pump that circulates the water and produces the upward force can be set on a timer.