A water fountain can certainly add beauty to a backyard or garden. However, it's not just the fountain's form that is pleasing. The sound of running water has a soothing, relaxing effect on those around it. An outdoor fountain can also be a draw for butterflies and provide a temporary rest stop for thirsty birds. A water fountain is a welcome addition for those looking to bring nature a little closer to home.
Water Fountain Dimensions
The type of outdoor fountain you install will depend heavily on how much space you have to work with. If you are dealing with limited space, a fountain with a sizable basin might take up too much room.
The distance that water will fall freely should be equal to or less than the distance between the pool's edge and where the water hits the surface. So, if water will be falling freely for two feet, the edge of the basin should be at least two feet away from the water's point of impact on the pool (making the entire diameter of the basin at least four feet). This is to keep splashing water in the fountain, not on the ground around it.
One way to decrease the amount of necessary space is to not have free falling water. If the fountain is designed to have water flow down the side of an object instead of fall through air, you will need little to no pool diameter. You'll still have the sound and beauty of moving water, but the space taken up will be vertical rather than horizontal.
Fountain Instillation and Maintenance
Many outdoor fountains are self-contained and are designed to be installed by the purchaser. Basically, you just clear a spot and plug it in. Some will require a small amount of digging and maybe some stone work. If you are dealing with a larger fountain there may be a significant amount of digging, and special attention will be needed to line the basin. Professional instillation is recommended for any fountain with a large pool.
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Outdoor fountains have a pump that runs on electricity. Most are designed to run 24/7. If they are turned off for long periods of time, mosquitoes could become an issue. Fountains in climates where the temperature often goes below freezing will need to be drained and the pump may need to be removed. A small amount of bleach added to the water will control algae growth and should not effect wildlife.
Having a solar powered water fountain means little maintenance and no energy cost. Most solar powered fountains are self-contained and can fit on a countertop (though if you want one in the kitchen, you'll probably need to plug it in). The demand for solar fountains is on the rise. High energy costs and a desire to be eco-friendly are making designers think more seriously about building larger, more complex solar fountains.
Outdoor Fountain Animals
The idea of having animals around is an appealing one, although most water fountains are not designed to house fish, frogs, or any other aquatic life. If your desire is to keep koi or goldfish outside, you'll need a special fishpond.