Choosing a fountain or water feature
Garden design is a very personal thing, what works for one person would be wrong for another, so whether you want a large tiered design or a small pot feature its a personal thing. We have a range of different styles/types of fountains and water features that you can browse but these few pages are not about pushing our products to you. The information that follows is of a general type to help you make an informed choice on what and whoever you buy from, the only thing I would say is to enjoy whatever type you buy.
How much space do you have?
One thing to consider is how large the space is, this is not to say that large gardens always need large designs and small gardens need small designs but rather that fountains are an integral part of your garden layout and so you need to consider how you want to incorporate them into this, some examples would be to provide a focal point to a planting scheme, perhaps to provide a backdrop to your garden seating or barbecue area, perhaps you are close to a busy road and wish to drown out traffic noise.
If you have a large garden the temptation may be to go for a large fountain design but this very often ends up as an isolated folly sitting in the middle of an expanse of featureless lawn . Rather than go that route of trying to recreate a stately home in your 3 bed semi, perhaps consider where you spend your time, is it the little seating arrangement in the corner of your patio or is it to one side where the sun is always present late into the summer evenings. It may even be the small area in front of your french doors from where you can see the children, keep an eye on the dinner, listen for the door bell or keep one eye on your favorite TV program.
My point is really to choose a design to meet your needs rather than the formal aesthetics of a garden designer who will never spend more than a few hours in your garden, introducing water into your garden should enhance your life, not just visually as an ornament but also in the sounds of running water and the twinkle of reflected light that comes from being close to moving water. So a small fountain close to your house may well be more effective than a larger one 30m away.
Integrate into your lifestyle
Also consider what you will be doing when around your fountain or water feature, if you will be sitting, perhaps listening to the radio or reading your favorite magazines, so you may be dwarfed by the 6ft high 4 tier fountain that looked so good in the picture or the vast expanse of the garden center display area
Size and where to place it
One guideline to consider is that the larger/higher your fountain the further away it has to go from your seating area, the smaller the fountain or water feature
the closer and more intimate its location, any thing above 1.5m is likely to overpower anything else around it for at least a 5m distance, you need to consider any splash or gust of wind that would catch the water as it falls.
If you want to drown out traffic noise a small garden fountain close to your seating area may work better than a large one which is further away, ideally place the fountain between you and the noise but as close to you as possible.
On hot summer days a fountain will cool the air around itself, if you have a prevailing direction for breezes in your garden try and position the fountain upwind of your seating or patio, this way you will benefit from its cooling affect. Positioning a water fountain close to a window can in hot summer weather introduce a cooling breeze into your house
One thing to avoid is to place a small water feature to far away from the most used parts of your garden, I recall one of those tv programs where they come in and design your garden for you, they made a big thing about a millstone water feature which was nice but they placed it at the end of the garden 30 foot away from the seating area where you would not see or hear it unless you walked to stand beside it, it was such a waste.
Free standing or Sump?This is something you may have heard but not really understood, so I will try to clarify it for you.
Free standing: means the water is contained in the main bowl of the design, this means you can see the water reservoir, you can see and hear the twinkle as the the water falls into it, it is a display in itself, it is open to the air and will provide a cooling affect around itself. A free standing fountain or water feature can be placed on a patio or paved area. Because the water is held above ground level this type of feature should be drained in winter as the water can freeze into a solid block possibly damaging the pump and in extreme cases the reservoir itself.Sump: a sump is usually an underground reservoir that feeds the water feature above. This can be found on some water feature designs like Millstones and those shiny steel tubes designs but can be used with any type of design. The advantage of this is that the water is below ground level so is a little harder to freeze during the winter months .
However this advantage is in my opinion outweighed by the disadvantages, these are as follows:
- You need to dig a hole so you cannot place easily on a paved area unless you lift the paving
- Its difficult to move it if you decide to
- Because the water is out of sight you miss out on the display of water falling into itself, there can be little or no sound
- Inevitably debris will build up in the sump, it will rot and smell awful as it it pumped up into your feature, it is not something I would want to smell in my garden
- Cleaning can be difficult as reaching down into a 2ft hole to scrape out a smelly sludge is not so easy, for this reason they are frequently left without being cleaned, this leads to the pump becoming blocked and the water feature fails