Water features have a lot to offer in the garden during the heat of summer. The light trickling sounds of splashing water are cooling and soothing, both assets in our hectic lives. Water features also offer a lifeline to our wildlife as we build over their natural habitats. And they create focal points and beauty in our landscapes. They can come in the form of fountains, waterfalls (with or without ponds) or ponds and rivers. The simplest is the fountain.
There are many ways to use fountains. Indoors, you can make room for a table-top or small standing fountain. Creative folks can find supplies at crafts and home stores to build table fountains out of all sorts of materials. Small submersible pumps are available at reasonable prices at hardware and home stores. A small container fountain can be decorated to create a whole miniature landscape. And any tabletop version will fit nicely on a balcony or small patio space where it can be enjoyed during nice weather.
Outdoors, large pots can be made into fountains as can sculptures or even a group of rocks or recycled materials – just about anything you can run water over or through. Fountains can lie flat as well; one idea is to create a bed of colored river rock with water bubbling up in the center and recycling into a tub hidden beneath the rock surface.
There are designers who can help you create your own vision of a fountain or you can check on the Internet or specialized books for ideas. You can stop by a nursery or home supply store to check out their inventory. For an extensive tour, visit retailers who specialize in fountains, concrete items and water gardens.
For finished fountains you can find just about any style ready-made. Make sure the fountain you chose is in keeping with the look of your garden and your house. Mediterranean gardens can go formal with tiered fountains, splashing basins with human or animal heads spouting water, or classical figures. Old fashioned wishing wells look great in country gardens. Modern sculptural shapes, simple geometrical fountains and columns can help emphasize a contemporary style. Bigger water features need appreciable space. Large fountains look best positioned as focal points with stairs, platforms or gardens delineating their spaces.
Fountains need minimal maintenance. Algae should be scrubbed clean. It will form faster in direct sunlight. When shut off, water should be drained and in frosty winter areas empty all pipes to avoid them cracking when water expands into ice. Where the surface of water is calm, fountains can become havens for mosquitoes to breed. Toss in a mosquito dunk or mosquito bits. There are several brands of these biological mosquito controls that introduce mosquito larvae-killing bacteria. The bacteria are Eco-friendly and safe for pets and wildlife, unlike using bleach or other chemicals.
Small fountains make fun gifts, attract birds and butterflies, are calming for the human spirit and can transform an unimaginative garden area into something magical. With recycled water, they can be water-wise. Large fountains should also be water efficient. These can make an entry into your property spectacular or draw the design of a landscape together. Use a fountain to decorate an outdoor room or patio. There are many ways to integrate these water features into your environment to make it lovely and comfortable.
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