June 22, 2017

You do not need to live by a river to enjoy the sound and sight of water in your landscape. Instead, opt for a low-maintenance garden fountain to please the senses. Select one for your yard by considering the styles available, the size that will work best, and where you will put it.

Garden with vase

Spitters and Spouters

Emitting streams of water, fountains known as spitters and spouters are often life-size statues of animals, such as birds, fish, frogs, turtles and alligators. The water usually exits the statues’ mouths. Another kind of spouter features hollow tubes, with the highest tubes pouring water into lower tubes. A spouter also may have a single tube from which water flows.

Spitters and spouters are made of polyresin, metal such as brass and bronze, cast stone, and wood (including bamboo tubes). Each type recirculates water with the aid of a pump, hidden tubing, and a basin or reservoir. The pump forces water upward from the basin and through the tubing to the spitter or spouter, which emits the water and sends it down to the basin.


Bubblers and Drippers

Some fountains make water bubble at their tops before it cascades down their sides. Others simply drip water. Bubblers and drippers include a design made of stacked rocks. The fountain’s pump sends the basin’s water upward through tubing in the center of the rocks. A fountain composed of pots works in a similar way, as does a single ceramic urn fountain. The same technique creates a waterfall with water streaming down a wall to a basin that includes a pump.

many colorful flowers and bird bath

Whimsical and Stately

Some fountains are suitable for formal settings while others provide a laugh. For example, a spitter depicting an animal in a funny pose, such as one standing with its forelegs on its hips, lightens the mood of a setting. In comparison, a stacked-rock bubbler blends with lighthearted and serious atmospheres.


Tiny and Bigger

Garden fountains are fairly small, which makes them simple to clean and maintain. Spitters and spouters range in height from under 2 inches to about 2 1/2 feet. Typically, bubblers and drippers are several inches tall to about 2 feet tall. Determining where you want to put a fountain will help you decide which size of fountain to choose.


Near and Far

If you want a focal point for your yard’s middle, then a sizeable fountain will work. A deck or patio is an option for a small spitter or a larger fountain, depending on available space.

A fountain’s location must have safe access to electricity to run the fountain’s pump. The water basin can be situated underground or above ground.

Placing a fountain away from trees helps to keep it a low-maintenance feature. Leaves, seeds, and nuts falling on the fountain or in its water basin add to its cleaning time.


Off for Winter

Garden fountains are not usually designed for winter use in Ann Arbor, Michigan or other areas with freezing temperatures. Whatever material it is, a fountain lasts longer when it spends winter in a place that stays above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow care instructions that come with your fountain and pump. When outdoor temperatures in your different location remain above freezing in spring, you can set up your fountain to provide warm-weather enjoyment.



With so many fountain styles and sizes available, you have a wide array of choices that will ensure you will find just the right fountain for your needs. Whether you select a spitter, spouter, bubbler or dripper, your fountain will deliver a high degree of entertainment and require a low amount of maintenance.