"There's nothing quite like the captivating sights and peaceful sounds of an outdoor garden fountain, so it should come as no surprise that a moving water feature is one of the most popular additions to backyard gardens. Fountains add the exquisite beauty of moving water and a touch of tranquility to our yards and our lives.Who among us doesn't love to watch jets of water leaping into the air and splashing back into the fountain? And the trickle of water cascading down an outdoor garden fountain is a relaxing sound that soothes frazzled nerves and takes us far away from the hustle and bustle of busy lives.
Years ago an outdoor garden fountain was a sign of prestige and status, and only the most luxurious homes had them. Now, there's such a diverse range of fountains in sizes and prices to any budget, that it's easy to add one to your existing pond or yard. From small spouting frogs to great gushing lions to Greco-Roman-inspired sculptures, there is a garden fountain that is sure to delight your family, friends and neighbors.
But before you buy a fountain, you should decide what type of feature you want (spray, trickle, bubbling or cascading water, etc.) taking into consideration the size of your yard and/or pond as well as your budget. Fountains are made from many different materials in a wide variety of prices and weights, including concrete, terracotta, millstones, carved or cast stone and realistic, lightweight glassfibre or faux-stone. No matter which type of outdoor garden fountain you choose, it's wise to find out exactly how frost-resistant the material is before you buy it. Ice may fracture certain materials, particularly fountain bowls.
Here are just a few of the many outdoor fountain styles available:
Free Standing Fountains require no pond to stand in, as the lower bowl acts as a reservoir from which water is pumped back to the top by a submersible pump. Playful cherubs, ethereal angels, mermaids, goddesses, and children are some of the favorite designs in free-standing fountains. These fountains are usually very easy to install, and most come with a built-in pump.
Fountain Jets spray streams of water up from the pond in many fascinating patterns, and typically can be adjusted to different heights and shapes. These vary from small bubble jets to energetic sprays that can shoot several feet into the air.
Wall Mounted Fountains: if you long for the tranquil sounds of splashing water but have a postage-stamp size yard, a flat-back style fountain is a good choice. They can take up less space than a full-round fountain but still add a graceful touch to a small garden. They're usually made of lightweight resin and attach easily to a wall or fence without complicated hardware.
One of the most popular in this category is the Lionhead Wall Fountain. Mount this stately feline on any wall to recreate the ambience and elegance of an ancient Greco-Roman sanctuary. Another great choice is the inspiring angel and child fountain, also with Greco-Roman style elements that echo a time long past.
Solar Island Fountains: enjoy the sight and sound of moving water without the hassle of wiring or special plumbing. The filter and pump are powered by sunlight and produce a spray of water that can be several feet high on bright, sunny days.
Bronze Fountains are less widely available and more expensive than most other materials, but they lend distinctive character to your outdoor garden.
Artificial Rock Waterfalls: these beautiful fiberglass "falls" look very real, and range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Some are designed to cascade directly into your pond or pool.
Rock Bubblers and Boulders: these lightweight, durable artificial rocks are not a traditional outdoor garden fountain, but they are an inexpensive way to add a moving water feature to your garden, and come in many sizes.
Enjoy your fountain!"
Williams, Julia. "Choosing the Right Outdoor Garden Fountain for Your Yard." Yahoo Contributor Network. Voices.yahoo.com, 15 Dec. 2005. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. <http://voices.yahoo.com/choosing-right-outdoor-garden-fountain-your-11600.html?cat=32>.
"In the days of an uncertain stock market and job insecurity, there's no place like home sweet home. Even though the housing bubble burst over the course of 2007 and 2008, according to MSN Money, homeowners in many areas of the United States can still recoup 80 to 90 percent of the money spent on home improvements. The key is to know where to spend. Just because you put $20,000 into renovations, it won't necessarily add that much value. If your house needs a new roof, you won't see a return on it for a while because people expect the roof in a house they're buying to be in good shape. The same can be said for your plumbing and electrical systems. Bad plumbing will detract from the value, but new plumbing won't necessarily drive up the price tag. The key to adding value is to focus on the things that are important to buyers, and to not over-improve. You don't want to have the most expensive house on the block. So if the houses in your neighborhood have concrete driveways, investing in expensive brick pavers may not be in your best interest financially.
Tips for how to get the best bang for your buck on your home renovations, even in a tight real estate market.
If your house doesn't look appealing from the outside, chances are a potential buyer will never make it inside. According to Bankrate.com, a good first impression can add five to 10 percent to the value of your home. If the exterior color of your house is dated or fading, painting is a good place to start your improvements. Choose colors and exterior details that match the period of your house. Shutters add charm and depth, but not if they're hanging crooked or flaking paint. Paving a driveway or walkway that is in disrepair is a must, because this is what leads people to your home -- you want it to be welcoming. Attractive, manicured front-yard landscaping will also add value to your home. Drought-tolerant plants and easy-to-care-for perennials are a good option if you don't have a green thumb. And don't forget about your backyard either. Outdoor living is very popular as more people wish to commune with nature in the comfort of their own home. Sprucing up a deck or patio with attractive furniture, raised garden beds and maybe even a water feature will give you years of enjoyment and appeal to future buyers.
Many homeowners don't give much thought to their landscaping, but a good design can add significantly to your home's value -- sometimes as much as a new kitchen or bath. Have a landscape architect out to your house to assess what you've got and offer suggestions. Perhaps creating a more formal look will better match your home's style (think geometrical shapes and straight lines), or, if your lot backs up to lots of trees, a woodland look full of natural paths, native plants and lots of groundcover. There's often no fee for an architect's design if you buy at least a few items, which is well worth it. Keep in mind, too, that landscaping is more than greenery -- it includes lighting, fences, rock features, paths, ponds, fountains and more. So even if your current trees and plants are attractively laid out, they may still be greatly enhanced by, say, a curving pathway, bench and a few well-placed lights. Landscaping is especially important (and more valuable to your bottom line) in temperate climates, where your plantings are visible year-round and you're able to be outside enjoying features like ponds all 12 months of the year".
Sennebogen, Emilie, and Melanie Radzicki McManus. "Top 10 Ways to Add Value to Your Home." HowStuffWorks. Howstuffworks.com, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2014. <http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/remodeling/5-ways-to-add-value-to-home.htm#page=0>.
"The stately elegance of a custom fountain brings the compelling power of water to your home and landscape. Taking a site-specific approach to your project, our water fountain designs will compliment your surroundings and captivate your senses. We approach each project with passion, thoughtfully considering every element of your space. By working closely with you to understand your goals, we ensure that not only are your expectations fulfilled, but that your vision is realized".
"Fountains are known to be an attraction and have the ability to draw people together. They are often used in Landscaping, courtyards and near pools. No matter what the decor or landscape, there is a water feature that will accent it perfectly. You will find wall and floor standing models available and all water fountains can be custom ordered so you are sure to get the look you want.
Interior Designers and Architects have been using water features for years as a necessity in home decor and commercial office design. These features are not only an art piece but provide a unique ambiance that draws people together and provides a relaxed atmosphere, just two of the benefits water fountains provide.
Landscapers and architects have been incorporating outdoor water fountains in many different settings as well. Not only in homes with yards that have room for a large water feature but also at hotels, office complexes, resorts, spas and hospitals. Everywhere you look there is water and everyone feels a sense of serenity when they are around it".
"Kane Brothers International Landscape Design Contractors & Craftsmen." Kane Bros.Kanebros.com, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.kanebros.com/water-features/custom-fountains>.
"Commercial Water Fountain Uses." Water Fountains and Relaxation RSS. Www.serenityhealth.com, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. <http://www.serenityhealth.com/commercial_fountain_uses.html>.
"When redecorating your home, it’s important to remember the outside as well as the inside. Upgrading your outdoor space can make your home a more enjoyable space for both you and potential buyers—especially during summer months.
“It’s useless to have a beautiful home inside and a mess outside,” says Jessica Yonker, editor of HGTVGardens.com and a contributor to HGTV.com’s blog Design Happens.
“Pools, fire pits, and patios are always popular upgrades and additions, especially in summer,” Yonker says. “Not only do these upgrades make your home pretty, but beautifying your outdoors can also increase the value of your home.”
Of course, cost is a huge factor, so budget carefully and have a solid plan in place.
It’s safer to overestimate your budget than to plan an exact amount with no wiggle room, Yonker cautions. “When budgeting, make sure to factor in any taxes, service, and labor fees your project may incur, in addition to the materials,” she says. “Before you start a large outdoor project, you’ll want to think about how long you’ll be living in the home. You wouldn’t want to spend $20,000 on an outdoor kitchen if you’re not going to have a few years to enjoy it.”
Popular outdoor upgrades include:
Fire pits. Transform your back yard with a fire pit and make your yard the perfect place to relax on a lazy summer evening or chilly fall night. You can buy a portable fire pit in home improvement stores or install a custom-built, permanent pit.
Outdoor kitchen. “For those who love to entertain, an outdoor kitchen is a must,” Yonker says. An outdoor kitchen can simply have a grilling area, or you can go all out with a gourmet grill, pizza oven, sink, stocked bar, and outdoor flat-screen television.
Patios. To upgrade a poured concrete patio, consider replacing it with concrete pavers, which come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Also, consider adding a focal point like a paved walkway or fountain.
Landscaping. “Adding a garden or planting trees are quick, inexpensive upgrades that can add beauty to your home,” Yonker says. Consider adding curb appeal and eye appeal with a splash of color and decorative planters on the front porch, patio, and decks.
Paint. “You can also give your outdoors a new look by painting your house a new color or touching up the existing paint,” Yonker advises. A fresh coat of paint can inexpensively transform the look of your home and protect it from sun, rain, and wind, preserving your investment for years to come.
Keep in mind that if you belong to a homeowners association, you’ll need check with it before you start any outdoor projects. The association may have restrictions on allowable paint colors, fence heights, and even types of trees you are allowed to plant. If you’re doing any digging, know where your utility lines are before you pick up the shovel. Call 811, a free, nationwide service that will connect you to a local center to arrange for someone to come out and mark your utility lines".
Becker, Eve. "Finance Blog." Equifax Finance Blog Increase Your Homes Value With These Five Outdoor Upgrades Comments. Http://blog.equifax.com, 8 July 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. <http://blog.equifax.com/real-estate/increase-your-homes-value-with-these-five-outdoor-upgrades/>.
"For all birds, water is essential to life. They need it daily for drinking as well as bathing. When you have the opportunity to observe wild birds in water, it is immediately evident how much they enjoy it. A simple bath looks like play, and it always appears to be a joy.
In the wild, birds get their water from wherever they can find it… ponds, puddles, and even the cupped leaves of plants after a rain. You can bring the beauty of local and transient birds into your life when you offer them access to water near your home or apartment. If you are able to accommodate a man-made stream or pond on your property, they will soon seek it out and return frequently. But for many individuals, space considerations rule these out. Fortunately, a birdbath can be installed virtually anywhere.
The Style of Your Birdbath Makes A Difference
The most popular birdbaths are shallow basins. They require little maintenance, and birds are comfortable in them. A shallow birdbath, or one with a gentle slope to the middle, enables them to wade in. The deepest level should not be more than three inches. Because birds like to have secure footing, the bottom of the basin-style birdbath should not be too smooth – textured surfaces are the most desirable. If you can add a dripper to the birdbath, it may attract even more birds, since they love moving water.
A birdbath will not be popular if it is placed in the middle of an open yard where birds will feel vulnerable. A wet bird cannot fly fast, and needs close cover from predators. Instead, place your birdbath near an "escape route" – a tree, shrub, or fence where birds can take cover if startled.
Placed atop a pedestal, a birdbath offers a sense of security and stabililty. Also popular are birdbaths designed to hang from a tree.
When positioning your birdbath, think also of yourself. Place the birdbath where you can see it from indoors… from your desk, dining room, or kitchen. To make your birdbath easy to clean and refill make sure it is within easy reach of your garden hose.
Change the water every few days, or even every day in hot weather. Dump it out or rinse it out with a strong stream from your hose. Use a bird-safe birdbath cleaner weekly to remove any debris and built-on residue".
Dr. Foster & Smith Educational Staff. "Birdbaths Overview." Backyard Birdbaths: Attracting Wild Birds with Bird Baths & Bird Bath Fountains. Drfosterandsmith.com, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. <http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=1301>.
"A wonderful way to enhance the beauty of your garden is to install a solar powered garden fountain. Compared to traditional electric fountains, solar powered garden fountains allow you to be gentle on the environment and to reduce your running costs to practically nothing. Maintenance is simple, too, with no wiring to look after. And yet a broad range of prices and styles are available.Setting up a solar powered garden fountain is easy and care of these fountains is minimal once installed. Want to use your solar powered garden fountain at an evening party? One option is to install a battery backup for working when the sun is not shining. Weekly maintenance is simple. Panels may accumulate dust or dirt, which can easily be wiped off.
Once installed, if you find the pumps' power is not to your satisfaction, you may need to reposition the solar panels somewhat to increase maximum solar energy. It's also possible to add extra solar panels if you want to increase power to the pumps. Just note that water jet intensity will fluctuate according to the presence of sun throughout the day, and of course be lower on cloudy days.
You can buy solar powered garden fountains with panels and fountain all in one unit, or purchase a model that allows you to place the panels at a distance, connected by a cord. Either way the panels' position needs to be where they can get maximum sunlight. If setup is separate, this allows you to place the fountain in any location, sunny or not.
The best benefit, once the solar powered garden fountain is installed, is sunlight is free and summer time use has no limits. Since there is no need to place the fountain close to an electric supply, installation can be at any distance. This is especially ideal for large gardens.
The only disadvantage is total dependence on sun; solar powered garden fountains work best on bright sunny days. Performance will slow down on cloudy days. Once the freezing chills of winter arrive, it's best to move the unit indoors to prevent damage from snow and frost. Extremely low temperatures could crack the bowls of the foundation.
Solar powered garden fountains are designed for sunny locales with mild winters. They come in a variety of styles; some float, others are placed on solid surfaces, but are the most cost-effective way to enhance your garden, harnessing one of the planets most renewable energy source, sunlight. Make your garden truly green, go solar".
Hessman, Scott. "New Gardening Trends: Solar Powered Garden Fountains." Yahoo Contributor Network. Voices.yahoo.com, 16 Nov. 2011. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://voices.yahoo.com/new-gardening-trends-solar-powered-garden-fountains-10428209.html?cat=32>.
LaLiberte, Kathy. "How to Create Sensational Pots and Planters." Gardeners Supply. Gardeners.com, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2014. <http://www.gardeners.com/Planters-That-Stand-Out/5325%2Cdefault%2Cpg.html>.