When you hear the word landscaping, most people immediately think of flowerbeds, shrubbery, and lawn care. But not all landscaping has to be “natural.” In fact, by adding manmade ornaments, a backyard can be transformed into a work of art. A garden fountain is an easy way to enhance your exterior landscape by combining the aesthetic beauty of a sculpture with the natural feel of a waterfall.
Not Just for Looks
A garden water fountain is a great way to add a centerpiece to your backyard. Although they come in a variety of styles (cascading rocks, ornamental designs, picturesque sculptures) and materials (stone, slate, copper, fiberglass, cascading rocks, etc.) so as to fit anyone’s personal taste, they also provide practical benefits:
- Noise Reduction: One of the main reasons people plant large shrubs or construct tall fences is to block out any residual noise from the street. Outdoor garden fountains provide the same service, but instead of obstructing the view, these products are able to replace noise with tranquil splashes of water.
- Stress Relief: The sound of running water has been proven to lower stress levels. Therefore, while your landscaping may be beautiful, garden fountains have the unique ability to enhance relaxation by promoting a peaceful environment. Simply make sure you choose an appropriate water pump speed and cascade height in order to achieve the desired sound affects.
- Animal Life: To make their exterior feel more natural, many homeowners encourage wildlife to enter their backyard. By providing a water source to many small animals, an outdoor garden fountain can be even more effective in luring birds and squirrels than a bird feeder. Plus, if you like to leave your pets outside, these exterior waterfalls can act as a temporary pet dish for your cats or dogs (just make sure the water is clean and the units are well maintained).
Koi Ponds and Other Fish Ponds
Fish are attractive to look at and bring movement into a water garden. As they eat they help control other organisms such as mosquito larvae and plant pests. Fish will also help fertilize the aquatic plants with their excreta and provide carbon dioxide through their respiration to aid photosynthesis. On the other hand, koi fish also eat pond plant life. This limits the available plant life you can grow in your pond. It also means you’ll need to build a larger pond—at least 1,000 gallons and three feet deep. Most water gardens should be at least this big, anyway. The most common mistake homeowners make is to build their pond too small.
If you have fish of any kind, then a good filtration system is a must. Additionally you will need a pump to circulate the water and a fountain to create bubbles so the fish can breathe. Floating plants will also protect baby fish and keep the pond cool and algae-resistant by shading the water from direct sunlight. Other elements of a healthy pond may include pumps, waterfalls, lights around or inside the pool, and other special equipment to keep it clean.
In order to make sure your garden water fountain fits your needs, make sure you consult a professional to see which one would work best for you. Some require purified water to avoid calcium build-up. Others will need chemicals added to them in order to avoid algae accumulation. But no matter what kind of garden water fountain you buy, there are some easy maintenance tips you need to keep in mind to keep the structure running smoothly:
- Maintain Water Levels: Periodically checking on the unit’s water level will ensure the water pump’s longevity. Especially during the summer where you may need to add water occasionally in order to fight against evaporation.
- Change the Water: No matter how purified or filtered your water supply may be, it’ll get contaminated eventually. You can hire a professional for the job, but always make sure you ask the manufacturer how often the water will need to be changed.
- Winterize: If you live in a cold-weather region make sure you drain the water before every winter. And if it gets especially cold in your neck of the woods, you may want to bring the outdoor garden fountain inside. This can even make a nice interior addition to your home by having a live waterfall indoors.