The Handywoman’s Guide to Outdoor Garden Fountain Designs

Landscape architects already know that water features rule in landscape planning. For the hobbyist, they may look like complicated additions to the backyard. They do not have to be! In fact, outdoor garden fountain designs complement the visual aesthetics and spatial settings of virtually any yard. Of course, to really make them pop, be sure to plan for them before actually adding a lot of other landscape features, such as flower beds and trees. Yet even then there is still a chance to work a fountain into the overall yard design. How can you pull it off?

Define Landscape Needs

What does your yard need? This is not a question of what you want, but what the area you call your yard actually yearns for. Plant scientists from the University of Missouri offer a multi-step approach to landscape planning. It includes an inventory of current and future features, an identification of focal areas and likely locations for the outdoor fountain.

Tip: Adapt your choice of size to the dimension of other area features. For example, a seven-foot garden fountain will dwarf beds of already miniscule impatiens. The same fountain will look impressive and at-home next to — or in front of — a bamboo privacy hedge.

Decide on the Focus

Will your garden fountain become a team player or stand out from the crowd? If it is to blend in with the rest of the landscape, let color and design flow naturally with surrounding flora. If it is to be a focal point of the backyard, it is okay to be a bit more extravagant to have it stand out from its surroundings. Color plays a vital role in this setting; bolder colors attract they eye while neutral colors allow for easy blending. Bright neutral colors allow for seasonal blending and provide a focus feature for a dormant landscape during the time when the flora is otherwise drab.

Tip: Your garden fountain design and your home design should match. If you have a Victorian-style home, you should opt for a complementary fountain design. Conversely, if your home is ultramodern in design, the fountain should carry this design style into the landscape. Mixing and matching styles destroys the harmony of the property.

A Word on Fountain Materials

Garden fountains may appear to be natural-looking rock piles that resemble the starting points of brooks or turn out to be obvious sculptures that also offer spraying or dripping water features. The least expensive material is usually resin, which opens the door to numerous shapes and sizes. More artistic creations incorporate ceramics, stones, copper, glass and a host of other materials.

Tip: If you are working with a tight bottom line, consider rocks. They are durable, attractive and you can never go wrong with the creation of a burbling brook in the backyard.


University of Missouri; “Developing the Landscape Plan”

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