A great landscape design is not just about the plants, or color at specific times of the year. You’ve heard me say that before, but it bears repeating: In order to truly enjoy your outdoor spaces you need to provide points of interest and novelty, not just perennials and annuals, growing cheek by jowl. Further visual interest can be incorporated with rock and what’s known as ’hardscape,’ These additions can contrast perfectly with what’s growing. But how about adding another sensory element, such as sound? No, I’m not talking about a speaker system. What can work well can be a water feature, which adds much, much more to your visual design. I’ll show you two distinct fountains that can add real pleasure to your outdoor spaces.
This traditional fountain placed at a strategic point in the garden performs a great task; it serves as a destination and focal point. It has all that typical fountains provide, such as low maintenance, attraction for songbirds, and a style that is complementary to the house. Bust as you gaze at this photo, you know what’s also here: The calm and lovely sound of trickling water. That one sound makes a fountain, no matter its size, a point of interest to all. Something else cool about this one is that, no, it’s not made of cast iron. It’s concrete stained black. Talk about low cost and upkeep. And your foundation plantings and annual planted for seasonal color seem to almost lean into this water feature.
One of a pair, this fountain is fabricated from recycled brick, vintage waterspout, and glazed jars we offer at Botanica. I designed this pair to serve as a sort of boundary in the garden, and everything to build them was found and repurposed. I created an open top, and installed four LED uplights within. The fountains are also lit at night. I used vintage spouts and inserted the motor in each. You can just plug these water features in and walk away. What’s nice here is that they’re upright and not bulky, which means they won’t overpower the space and you’ll have plenty of room to nestle plants all around. Fountains, by the way, don’t call for specific or traditional plantings only. A water feature will only bring out the best of your plant groupings, no matter the style or quantity.
Remember this fountain is not cast iron, but concrete. You wouldn’t know that unless you studied it closely. It is a great addition to this garden, however, because it’s on another level and creates further dimension to the design. And, like I said before, the sound of the water–soothing and tranquil–will attract and delight your guests.
Because this pair of fountains would be part of the garden boundary, I wanted to make sure the fence itself didn’t detract from them. And, in keeping with the recycle-reuse-repurpose philosophy I was mindful of while creating the fountains, I chose iron salvaged from an old carport on the property. The brick fountains pull the eye up, and aren’t hulking or massive, yet are also unexpected. These fountains have spouts that control the water flow, so what you get in the way of sound here is a ’burble,’ not a splash. Which means you can convene the book club nearby, and everyone can be heard.
Garden design doesn’t have to be confined to elements that we can see only. Don’t forget your other senses when planning your space. And fountains don’t have to be expensive or large. You can find a fountain design–or design one yourself–that will fit any budget and any space. The sounds of water flowing up, over, and down as it follows gravity will delight you and your guests, no matter the season.
Live Life to the Fullest,
Chris H. Olsen