Three Coins in Your Fountain

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How to bring the soothing sounds of cascading water to your home.

Love the sound of flowing water? Want to bring the tranquil feeling of a running brook to your own backyard?

It's easy to create the feel of a serene paradise at home by installing an outdoor fountain in your backyard, front porch, patio, deck, or even on a small balcony. Outdoor fountains come in many different shapes, sizes and styles such as waterfalls, birdbaths or garden planters and can be freestanding or wall mounted.

For those who love a modern look, fountains are available in abstract sculptural shapes such as columns or spheres. Nature lovers might enjoy fountains that resemble natural rock formations. Admirers of Snow White can add a decorative Wishing Well to their gardens. And who wouldn't adore watching a thirsty blue jay or dove stop for a drink at a charming birdbath?

Match your own personal style to a decorative garden fountain. Beautiful fountains are available in the shape of dolphins, a Buddha, religious saints, children, angels, frogs, gargoyles, dragons, cherubs, pineapples (and other assorted fruits and vegetables), fairies, barrels, lions, watering cans or fantasy characters, to name only a few of your choices.

Garden fountains also come in a variety of materials—including fiberglass, sandstone, wood, copper, cement, clay, bamboo, rock, slate, granite, and concrete and resin--and in many colors and stains. Check out the many different styles at your local home improvement store or garden center or view some of your choices at these informative websites: Garden-fountains.com, Simplyfountains.com and Statue.com.

Your only problem may be that there are too many choices. In addition to finding the style that best suits your home and personality, there are a few things to keep in mind while shopping for a fountain.

First, consider the source of your electricity. Most fountains are powered by electricity so you will need to place your fountain somewhere near an electrical outlet. Standard fountains come with an electrical cord that is 5 to 6 feet long, although outdoor rated extension cords can be used for additional length.

An alternative, though, is to look at solar fountains. If you want to go really green in your garden, consider these new fountains that contain solar panels and operate without electricity. All you need is an outdoor place for your fountain that gets direct sunlight. Although your choice of styles is somewhat more limited, the advantage is that solar fountains will self-generate all their own power to keep the water flowing and will never show up on your electrical bill.

Most fountains require no special plumbing, as the water is designed to re-circulate itself. During the hot summer months, though, you may have to replace some water that will inevitably evaporate.

Whatever your budget, you will find that garden fountains come in all price ranges from under $200 to over $5000. It might be wise to figure out your budget before shopping so you won't be tempted to spend more money than you want to!

One important consideration concerns taking delivery of your new fountain. Depending on the kind of material, fountains can weigh up to 1,000 pounds. Most will be delivered on a pallet and will require a forklift to move from the truck and to the place where you want it. Some delivery services will deliver the fountain to your property but won't assist in its' final placement. Some online companies even require that you provide a forklift on site at the time of delivery to unload the fountain from the truck and position it on your property. Hiring a forklift service will add additional costs to this project so be sure to ask a lot of questions about delivery policies before ordering your fountain.

As for placement of your fountain, it will require a solid, level piece of ground such as a concrete patio or deck. (Make sure your deck can handle the extra weight!) If you want to place your fountain on softer ground, you will need to build a foundation of at least two inches of level pea gravel or packed sand to create a permanent, solid base.

One final consideration is your climate. If you live in a part of the country that has freezing winters, you may want to protect your fountain from ice and thaw, depending on the kind of material you chose. Concrete for example is a porous material that absorbs small amounts of moisture. If this moisture freezes, it can create cracks and chips. If you don't want your fountain to have the aged and weathered look, keep it dry during the coldest part of the winter (or select a different material.) In any case, the pump should always be brought indoors during freezing weather. If you live in a more temperate climate, you can enjoy your fountain all year round.

Fountains can add a beautiful decorative element to your home and garden and they can also be beneficial for your state of mind by helping you unwind from a stressful day—just kick back in your favorite chair with your favorite drink and listen to the soothing sounds of running water. Even if you live in the heart of a bustling town, the sounds of running water are sure to transport you to the country, the beach, or the lakeside -- at least in your imagination.

Other ideas:
Build a Backyard Barbeque
Build a Pathway Arbor
Add Pathway Lighting

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