Indoor and Outdoor Fountains

A fountain brings tranquility and a beautiful centerpiece to any room or yard

Indoor Outdoor Fountains - Indoor and Outdoor Fountains

If you're looking to enhance your home office or spruce up a neglected corner in your garden, a fountain gives you virtually unlimited options. Both indoor and outdoor fountains are available in various sizes, shapes and styles, ensuring that you will find one that perfectly complements its surroundings.

Fountains can be made with natural elements such as stone, copper and bamboo, or synthetic substances such as acrylic resin or fiberglass. Some are designed to hang on a wall or sit on a tabletop in your home, while others should be installed outdoors directly in the ground, surrounded by flowers and foliage.

This guide will introduce you to the different types of fountains available and their maintenance.

Tip: A preassembled fountain comes with everything you need. Simply fill it with water, plug it in and enjoy. Those who prefer do-it-yourself projects can purchase individual elements or kits and assemble their own fountains using various materials.

Indoor Fountains

Indoor fountains not only enhance the beauty of a room, they also add moisture to the air, which soothes dry skin during the winter months and makes it easier to breathe.

In addition to wall and tabletop fountains, you can also choose from floor fountains, which are freestanding units that are usually much larger and more substantial than tabletop models. Waterfall fountains bring the calming effect of cascading water to any room.

Most indoor fountains come preassembled and are often used as accent pieces, though some are clearly intended to be the primary design element in a room.

Indoor fountains also serve to humidify the air. Unlike dedicated humidifiers which can be noisy and a poor fit for your decor, fountains do not generate excessive water that can collect and form mildew on walls and other surfaces.

  • Fountains release negative ions which have been shown to improve mood and increase energy.
  • Most tabletop, wall and other indoor fountains recirculate their water for nonstop operation.
  • Look for models with quiet, submersible pumps that will not drown out the calming sound of flowing water.
  • For increased versatility, buy an indoor fountain that can also be operated outdoors.
  • Create your own indoor fountain using a watertight bowl or receptacle, a small submersible pump and some rocks, shells or other items.

Outdoor Fountains

Fountains designed to be placed in a flowerbed or incorporated into your overall landscaping can provide a unique accent or even a focal point for your entire garden.

Your garden, patio or poolside area will greatly benefit from the installation of an outdoor fountain. In addition to their calming, tranquil effects, fountains provide beautiful accents and can even serve as an elaborate focal point for your garden.

"Spitter" fountains are a popular option, often featuring a sculpture with built-in piping that transports water from the source (a pond or pool) to a small opening or series of openings where a concentrated stream of water is expelled.

Birdbaths that incorporate a fountain keep water fresh through constant recirculation. If you already have a pond or water garden in your yard, you might want to consider adding a fountain to it.

Flowerbed fountains can be installed in both above and in-ground configurations. Cistern fountains and reflective pools also allow you to house fish, plants and other aquatic life, and outdoor wall fountains can be installed along an external wall for a truly bold statement.

  • Fountains keep water in constant motion, preventing your garden from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
  • For an energy-efficient, cost-effective solution, consider a solar-powered fountain that won't add to your utility bills.
  • Floating fountains can be placed in a pool or pond on special occasions for an extra touch of elegance.
  • Foggers can be used to generate a misty appearance around your pond for a unique effect.
  • Make your own outdoor fountain using a waterproof container or barrel, a pump and a fountain head.

Fountain Materials & Features

Fountains are constructed from a variety of synthetic and natural materials. Each offers a unique look and many fountains incorporate more than one type of material.

While stone, rock and slate fountains can be heavy, they are also tough and highly durable, withstanding the constant flow of water without showing signs of wear.

Metals, such as copper or brass, age and develop character over time. Synthetics such as acrylic can be made to resemble natural materials such as stone or metal but will not age and are much easier to move. They are also often more affordable.

Aluminum, tin and other metals

  • Thinner metals can be dented or damaged more easily
  • Most metals age and take on new characteristics over time
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas

Bamboo

  • Often used in Asian-influenced gardens, such as Zen or meditation gardens
  • "Chaser" fountains often use bamboo receptacles
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas
Bamboo - Indoor and Outdoor Fountains

Ceramic

  • Can be glazed or unglazed
  • Available in a wide variety of colors
  • Durable and long-lasting to withstand the elements, but can be cracked or broken
  • Typically paired with rocks or pebbles to generate more soothing sound effects
  • Available in a range of prices
  • Often used in indoor configurations

Concrete

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Can be heavier than other materials
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas
Concrete - Indoor and Outdoor Fountains

Copper

  • Beautiful appearance in various shades of red, orange and gold
  • As copper ages it takes on a greenish tint for added depth
  • May be scratched or dented
  • Powder-coated copper oxidizes more slowly
  • Often paired with other elements such as slate or stone
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas

Fiberglass

  • Can be molded into different shapes
  • May be more expensive than resin or acrylic
  • Often used in outdoor configurations

Glass

  • Available in clear, colored or frosted surfaces
  • Can be etched or mottled for different effects
  • May be susceptible to cracking or breaking
  • Often used in indoor configurations

Resin/Acrylic

  • Most economical option
  • Lightweight for easier relocation
  • Can simulate the appearance of a variety of natural materials
  • Scratches can be easily removed
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas

Slate

  • Thin layers of rock in various shapes and sizes
  • Available in a spectrum of natural colors
  • Excellent backdrop for wall and floor fountains
  • Often paired with copper, stainless steel and other materials
  • Can be heavy and difficult to move
  • Often carries a higher price tag
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas

Stainless steel

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Highly resistant to corrosion
  • Easy to clean and not easily dented
  • Typically paired with other materials
  • Often used in outdoor configurations
  • May cost more than other types

Stone

  • Includes rock, granite, marble and more
  • Highly durable and resistant to wear
  • Distinctive appearance
  • Available in a spectrum of natural colors
  • Can be heavy and difficult to move
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor areas

Features

Maintenance

Most residential fountains use recirculated water to provide a continual flow of soothing water. As they operate, a certain amount of water evaporates. Continually monitor water levels to keep your fountain operating correctly and use distilled water for indoor fountains.

  • If water levels become too low, the pump may be damaged and reduce the life of your fountain. Frequently check water levels and replenish the supply as needed.
  • Use distilled water for indoor fountains, as it has been stripped of all minerals, preventing deposits from building up both on the surface and in the water tubes and pump. Water from a garden hose is fine for outdoor gardens.
  • Some chemical solutions can be added to the fountain to prevent mineral buildup and to ensure water stays smelling fresh and clean. Adding an algae treatment to outdoor water fountains helps prevent algae growth and buildup.
  • Winterize outdoor fountains in areas that experience strong seasonal changes by draining the fountain of all water and bringing the pump inside. Stone or ceramic fountains should also be brought inside to avoid cracks and other damage if at all possible.
  • Wipe your fountain down regularly and follow all manufacturer-recommended cleaning suggestions.
  • If building your own fountain, be sure to use solid materials that do not disintegrate, as loose particles can damage the water pump.
  • If you live in a harsh climate, invest in a fountain that is constructed with materials that can withstand weather extremes.
  • Completely change your fountain's water three or four times a year (or as recommended by the manufacturer).
  • Inspect pumps every six months to ensure that everything is in working order.