How to Sound Like a Fountain Expert

Here's a crash course in selling a fountain to your clients, from style considerations to sound needs:

Self-contained fountains, versus in-ground ones, are a great option for budget conscious or space-limited projects. Clients still want the luxury of water sounds in the garden and you can deliver that dream for them in a cost-effective way.

Practical requirements:

  • An outdoor outlet must be available within 6 to 10 feet of the location. The length of electric cords is different for each fountain style.
  • A hard surface is required to hold the weight, keep stability and eliminate freeze/thaw unsettling that could crack the cast stone fountain. For smaller fountains, flagstone, pavers, terraces, patios and decks are all suitable. 3” thick plinths are also available in different sizes, round or square shaped. For larger estate fountains, prepare the sight with 4” of tamped road base and pour a concrete slab for the entire surface of the basin.
  • A garden hose is the only water source you need to fill and top off the fountain.

Design considerations:

  • Style is dictated by the architecture of the house and landscape.
  • Scale will determine the size of the fountain.
  • Location in the garden: wall, stand alone, accent piece, driveway, shrub beds, lawn, terraces, decks. There’s always a fountain that will fit the space.
  • Finish is the last detail that will personalize the fountain to each client and home. Most manufacturers offer several stain colors in earth tones.
  • Sound is the most important function of a fountain and often not addressed in the design concept. Bubbly fountains will produce a subtle sound and little splashing. Tiered fountains are best for a trickling and refreshing sound. Spout fountains are the loudest, especially with a long drop.

Maintenance of fountains:

  • Algaecide (safe for animals) and scale remover can be used when filling the fountain and topping it off.
  • Winter care: drain the fountain, remove the pump, and use a fountain cover.

Practical tips & tricks: 

  • The smaller the basins, the more often the water will need to be topped off due to wind and evaporation.
  • Splash guards are available for some fountains and actually add to the design.
  • Pumps should never run dry.
  • Submersible LED light kits are available for some fountains.
  • If the pump gets clogged by debris, use a laundry mesh bag or panty hose (!) to protect the pump.
  • Auto refill devices include a float valve on a concrete base, a stopper, clear tubing, pressure relief garden hose or spigot connection. Available as needed.
  • Timer and remote control can be installed for ease of use.

Fountains serve many purposes in the landscape and should be considered in the initial stages of design. Whether it is to block out a noisy street or neighbors, accommodating birds, anchoring a circle driveway, highlighting a wall, nestling it in plants, or a focal point in a garden, it will joy to your clients and cement the final touch and personality of your landscape creation.