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19 Backyard Fountain Ideas to Elevate Your Outdoor Space

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Transforming your backyard into a tranquil oasis can begin with the addition of a beautifully designed fountain.

Fountains serve as focal points in your landscape and bring the soothing sounds of water, creating a serene atmosphere.

water fountain in backyard

When deciding on backyard fountain ideas, you’ll want to consider various factors. These include design, location, and the style that best suits your outdoor space.

Selecting the right fountain for your backyard involves a blend of aesthetic preference and practical considerations. The right location will maximize its visual appeal and ensure it integrates seamlessly with existing landscape elements.

From classic tiered designs to modern sculptures, the choice of water feature sets the mood for your garden. Additionally, maintenance and care must be considered in your decision to ensure the longevity of your backyard centerpiece.

Accessorizing your fountain with plants, lighting, and other outdoor elements can further enhance the beauty of your outdoor living space.

Understanding Backyard Fountains

Incorporating a fountain into your outdoor space can transform the ambiance and aesthetic. Your choices range from simple to elaborate designs, each offering unique benefits.

Types of Fountains

There are several types of backyard fountains you might consider:

  • Wall Fountains: Ideal for small spaces, they attach to a wall and have a basin below.
  • Freestanding Fountains: These come in various sizes and can serve as a focal point in your garden.
  • Pond Fountains: Designed for larger spaces, they often become a centerpiece and can include live fish.
  • Tabletop Fountains: Small and portable, perfect for patios or balcony gardens.

Benefits of Having a Fountain

Relaxation and Aesthetics: The sound of trickling water from a fountain can contribute to a soothing environment in your garden.

Increase in Property Value: A well-designed water feature can enhance the overall appeal and, potentially, the value of your property.

Considering Your Space

A serene backyard with a stone fountain surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers, with the sunlight casting dappled shadows on the water

When choosing a fountain for your backyard, consider the following aspects:

  • Size: Ensure the fountain’s scale is appropriate for your garden size.
  • Style: Match the fountain with your outdoor decor to maintain a cohesive design.
  • Maintenance: Understand the level of maintenance required to keep your fountain in good condition.

Design and Planning

Careful planning ensures your backyard fountain harmonizes with your outdoor space, reflects your style, and withstands the local climate. Begin with a design that suits both your aesthetic preferences and the practical considerations of your environment.

Choosing a Style for Your Fountain

When selecting a fountain style, consider the architectural features of your home and the garden’s character.

Classical designs incorporate tiered fountains and stone sculptures, adding a touch of grandeur.

Modern fountains often feature simpler lines and metallic finishes, suitable for contemporary spaces.

For smaller spaces or minimalist designs, spout or wall fountains save space while still adding a water element.

Keep symmetry in mind—the fountain’s style should complement your garden’s layout.

fountain for sale

Incorporating Fountains into Landscape

Your fountain should be integrated thoughtfully into your landscape to enhance the overall design. Here’s how you can achieve that:

  1. Locate:
    • Place your fountain as a central feature for symmetry or in a secluded garden nook for a secret paradise feel.
  2. Visual balance:
    • Consider the size of your fountain in relation to your garden. A large fountain can overwhelm a small space, while a small fountain might be lost in a large area.
  3. Climate considerations:
    • In colder regions, materials and designs must resist freeze-thaw cycles. Heated options can prolong usage into cooler months.

Selecting Materials

Durability is key when selecting materials for your backyard fountain. Here are the optimum choices:

  • Stone: Granite and marble are resilient and age beautifully, fitting various designs.
  • Metal: Copper and bronze offer a gleaming, modern look but require maintenance to prevent tarnishing.
  • Concrete: Versatile and can be molded into different shapes, complementing most styles.

Selecting the Right Location

Choosing the right location for your backyard fountain is essential to maximize its beauty and functionality. Considerations such as sunlight exposure, visibility, and how it complements existing landscape features like patios and walkways are pivotal.

Backyard Versus Front Yard

Backyard: Ideal for privacy and creating a personal retreat. Your backyard allows you more creative freedom and is typically more enclosed, offering a tranquil setting for a garden fountain.

Front Yard: This enhances curb appeal and welcomes guests. Consider placing it near the walkway or in line with the front door to draw the eye and make a statement.

water fountain bowls

Sunlight and Shade Considerations

  • Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sun can affect water temperature and algae growth in your fountain. Positioning the fountain in a location with partial shade can mitigate these issues.
  • Shade: A too shady spot might limit the growth of water plants if your fountain includes a plant feature. It also can cause debris accumulation, necessitating more maintenance.

Visibility and Focal Points

  1. Focal Points:
    • Establish the fountain as a central feature by placing it in the direct line of sight from your patio or deck.
    • Ensure it can be admired from multiple angles and is accessible for maintenance.
  2. Integration:
    • Integrate the fountain seamlessly with the landscape. For instance, place it beside a bench along a walkway or amidst flower beds to enrich the garden ambiance.

Fountain Installation

Installing a backyard fountain can significantly enhance your outdoor space. Whether you choose to install it yourself or hire professionals will largely depend on your confidence in handling tools and understanding of the system’s electrical and plumbing requirements.

DIY Versus Professional Installation

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Installation:

  • Pros:
    • Cost-effective: You save on labor costs.
    • Customization: Greater freedom to alter the design as you work.
  • Cons:
    • Complexity: Risk of incorrect installation without proper knowledge.
    • Time: Potentially more time-consuming than professional installation.

Professional Installation:

  • Pros:
    • Expertise: Benefit from experienced contractors.
    • Efficiency: Quicker installation with professional tools.
  • Cons:
    • Cost: Higher upfront investment for labor.
pondless waterfall

Setting Up Your Fountain

Choosing a Location:

  1. Ensure level ground to avoid water spillover.
  2. Select a spot near an electrical source if the fountain is not solar-powered.


  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions step by step.
  • Double-check that all connections are secure to prevent leaks.


  • Fill the fountain with water before turning it on.
  • Observe the initial run to ensure smooth water flow and make adjustments as necessary.

Electrical and Plumbing Requirements

Electrical Connections:

  • Use a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet to prevent electrical shock.
  • Cables must be properly insulated and rated for outdoor use.

Plumbing Setup:

  • Fountains typically use recirculating pumps, so no water supply line is necessary.
  • Ensure the pump is correctly attached to avoid malfunctions or damage.

Water Features and Fountain Styles

A serene backyard with a variety of water features, including a classic tiered fountain, a modern minimalist design, and a natural rock waterfall

Selecting the right type of fountain for your backyard can dramatically enhance its appearance and ambiance. Here, you’ll discover various styles suited to different tastes, from classic to contemporary designs, including eco-friendly options.

Traditional and Modern Fountains

Traditional fountains, such as the tiered fountain and pedestal fountain, are characterized by symmetrical designs and often feature intricate details. These fountains serve as timeless centrepieces that can bring a sense of elegance to your garden.

On the other hand, modern fountains tend to embrace minimalism with sleek lines and are typically made from materials like metal or glass to fit seamlessly into contemporary outdoor spaces.

  • Tiered Fountain: Multiple levels for a classic look; water cascades from top to bottom.
  • Pedestal Fountain: A single, ornate piece that stands out in formal gardens.
zen garden water fountain

Natural Rock and Artificial Fountains

Natural rock fountains like the rock fountain or cascading fountain are perfect for those seeking a more organic feel. These blend into the landscape, appearing as though they were always a part of it.

Meanwhile, artificial fountains can mimic this natural look with man-made materials that are often lighter and more versatile.

  • Rock Fountain: Composed of real stones; creates a rustic, natural aesthetic.
  • Cascading Fountain: Rocks are arranged for a natural waterfall effect.

Solar-powered and Eco-Friendly Options

Solar-powered fountains have become popular as sustainability becomes a priority due to their energy efficiency. They harness sunlight to power the pump, reducing electricity use.

Other eco-friendly options include the disappearing water fountain, which recirculates water and minimizes evaporation.

  • Solar-Powered Fountain: Utilizes solar panels; no need for electrical outlets.
  • Disappearing Water Fountain: Water reservoir is hidden underground; conserves water.

Incorporating a fountain such as a bamboo fountain, watering can fountain, or bird bath fountain adds visual interest and attracts wildlife, creating a lively and dynamic garden atmosphere.

  • Bamboo Fountain: Often found in Zen gardens; produces a calming sound.
  • Watering Can Fountain: A whimsical choice that recycles an old watering can.
  • Bird Bath Fountain: A dual-purpose design that’s both decorative and functional for birds.

Landscaping with Fountains

Incorporating a fountain into your landscaping can transform your backyard into a serene oasis.

With a focus on the interplay between water features and plant life, you can craft a visually stunning garden landscape that not only appeals to the senses but also enhances the overall ambiance of your outdoor space.

A backyard with lush landscaping and multiple fountains creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere

Integrating Flora with Your Fountain

When placing a fountain among your garden’s greenery, select plants that thrive in moist conditions such as ferns, hostas, and irises.

Encircle the base of your fountain with a variety of flowers to add vibrant colors that complement the water’s sparkle.

Consider adding low-lying hedges or shrubs that can double as natural barriers for a structured look.

  • Recommended Flora:
    • Moisture-loving plants: Ferns, Hostas, Irises
    • Colorful flowers: Impatiens, Begonias, Lily of the Valley
    • Structural plants: Boxwood, Japanese Spirea, Dwarf Yaupon Holly

Creating a Cohesive Garden Layout

Your fountain should be a central feature of your garden design, creating a flow that leads the eye through the landscape.

Arrange paths to guide visitors towards the fountain, and use repeating patterns of plants and flowers to create visual harmony.

Incorporate trees with varying heights to frame the fountain and give your garden depth.

  • Layout Tips:
    • Pathways: Curved, Natural stone
    • Repeating Patterns: Cluster the same species in groups, Alternate flower color schemes
    • Vertical Elements: Ornamental trees, Tall grasses

Using Fountains to Enhance Curb Appeal

A thoughtfully placed fountain can be a statement piece that significantly boosts your property’s curb appeal.

Position your fountain within view from the street, flanked by striking plants like sculptural topiaries or vibrant flower beds.

Choose a fountain design that complements your home’s architecture for a cohesive look.

  • Curb Appeal Enhancers:
    • Visible Placement: Front yard centerpieces, Corner accents
    • Complementary Flora: Symmetrical plantings, Seasonal flower displays
    • Architectural Harmony: Classic tiered fountains for traditional homes, Sleek designs for modern aesthetics

Accessorizing Your Fountain

A backyard fountain surrounded by lush greenery and decorative stones, with a variety of colorful flowers and plants adding a pop of color to the tranquil scene

Enhancing your fountain area effectively extends its beauty and creates a more inviting outdoor atmosphere.

Choose accessories that complement the fountain’s design and your garden’s overall theme.

Selecting Outdoor Furniture

Your choice of outdoor furniture should balance aesthetics with functionality.

Consider a weather-resistant bench or a set of chairs to provide comfortable seating with a clear view of your fountain.

A durable, stylish table can also serve as a convenient spot for decorative items or a relaxing cup of tea.

  • Furniture Material:
    • Metal: Durable, ranges from ornate wrought iron to modern aluminum.
    • Wood: Natural look, requires maintenance for weatherproofing.
    • Rattan/Wicker: Lightweight, casual aesthetic, often synthetic for durability.

Lighting and Decorative Elements

Strategically placed lighting can dramatically enhance the fountain’s appearance at night.

Submersible LED lights can be installed within the fountain to illuminate the water jets, while garden spotlights and path lighting can accentuate surrounding foliage and pathways.

  • Decorative Elements:
    • Statues: Complement the theme of your space.
    • Garden Stakes: Add subtle charm without overwhelming the fountain.
    • Wind Chimes: Provide a gentle, soothing soundtrack to your fountain’s burble.

Adding Life with Fish and Plants

Incorporating fish like koi or goldfish can animate your fountain and add a new dynamic to your garden.

Ensure you have a proper filtration system to keep the water clean.

For plants, select species that thrive in moist environments, such as water lilies or papyrus.

  • Aquatic Plants:
    • Floating: Water lettuce, duckweed.
    • Marginal: Iris, cattails.
  • Fish Care:
    • Balanced Diet: Provide fish with appropriate feed.
    • Regular Cleaning: Maintain water quality for the health of the ecosystem.

Fountain Maintenance and Care

A person cleaning a backyard fountain, scrubbing with a brush and adding water to keep it running smoothly

Proper maintenance ensures your fountain operates smoothly and lasts longer. You can prevent algae growth and pump blockage by routinely cleaning your fountain and treating the water.

In colder climates, winterizing is essential to avoid damage due to freezing temperatures. Being equipped to troubleshoot common issues will save you time and money.

Cleaning and Water Treatment

Frequency: Clean your fountain every two months, or more often if you notice algae or debris.

  • Algae Prevention: Use an algaecide suitable for your fountain size and type; follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Debris Removal: Regularly remove leaves and other debris to prevent clogs.
  • Water Quality: Replace the water completely every month to ensure a clean environment; this will help maintain optimal pump function.

Budget Tip: For an inexpensive cleaning solution, consider using a mixture of white vinegar and water instead of commercial cleaners.

Winterizing Your Fountain

  1. Drain Water: Before the first freeze, drain all water from the fountain and wipe it dry.
  2. Protect the Pump: Remove, clean, and store the pump indoors to prevent damage.
  3. Cover: Cover your fountain with a breathable cover or, if possible, store it indoors.

Note: If your fountain cannot be moved, ensure the cover is secured against wind and provides sufficient insulation.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If your pump stops working or makes noise, first check for debris. If clear, verify the water level; pumps require submersion to function correctly.

  • Pump Problems:
  • Leaks: Regularly inspect for leaks. Small cracks can be sealed with silicone sealant; larger ones may require professional repair.
  • Water Treatments: If water becomes cloudy or discolored, assess your cleaning frequency and water treatment methods. Adjust as needed to maintain water clarity.

Budgeting for Your Fountain

A serene backyard with a fountain as the focal point. Surrounding the fountain are lush green plants and flowers, with comfortable seating nearby. The fountain is elegantly designed and the water flows peacefully, creating a soothing atmosphere

When planning for a backyard fountain, you must carefully consider the initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs to ensure it fits within your budget.

Calculating Initial Costs

To accurately assess the initial costs of your backyard fountain, you need to account for several key components:

  • Fountain Unit: The price of the fountain itself can vary widely depending on size, materials, and design.
  • Installation: Professional installation might be necessary, especially for larger or more complex fountain setups.
  • Accessories: Pumps, lights, and decorative elements can add to the base cost.
  • Landscaping: Modifying your existing yard to accommodate the fountain may be required.

Example Cost Breakdown:

  • Fountain unit: $200 – $2000
  • Installation: $100 – $500
  • Accessories: $50 – $400
  • Landscaping: $100 – $1500

Note: These figures are estimates and can fluctuate based on your specific choices.

Long-Term Fountain Expenses

Your backyard fountain will incur regular expenses over its lifetime. Maintenance expenses are a crucial aspect of your long-term budget.

  • Electricity: Your fountain’s pump will require power to operate, impacting your electric bill.
  • Water Treatment: You may need water treatment supplies to keep the water clean and the pump working efficiently.
  • Repairs: Over time, wear and tear can lead to the need for repairs or replacement parts.

Considering both initial and long-term expenses, you can make a cost-effective investment in your backyard fountain that remains within your budget.

Additional Outdoor Elements

A serene backyard scene with a stone fountain surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers. Sunlight filters through the leaves, casting dappled shadows on the water

Integrating your backyard fountain with other landscape features will enhance your outdoor space and create a more cohesive and functional environment.

Pairing Fountains with Ponds and Pools

Incorporating a fountain into your pond or pool can add a dynamic element to your water feature. A fountain can aerate the water, promoting a healthy ecosystem. For pool designs, a fountain can serve as a stunning focal point. It can also create a relaxing ambiance with its gentle sounds.


  • Aeration: A fountain helps oxygenate the water.
  • Visual Appeal: Add a tiered or cascading fountain for a dramatic effect.


  • Integration: Choose a fountain that complements your pool’s shape and style.
  • Ambiance: Opt for fountains with LED lights for nighttime elegance.

Outdoor Entertainment Areas

Your outdoor fountain can become the centerpiece of an entertainment area. Consider flanking your fountain with an outdoor kitchen or a dining space. This allows guests to enjoy the tranquil sounds of water while socializing.

  • Outdoor Kitchen: Position your kitchen so the chef doesn’t have their back to the fountain or guests.
  • Barbecue: Blend your grill or barbecue setup into the landscaping, near the fountain for an immersive experience.

Incorporating Fire Elements

Balance the tranquility of water with the warmth of a fire pit or other fire features. A juxtaposition of fire and water can be both visually striking and functional. It can also extend the usability of your outdoor space into cooler evenings.

  • Fire Pit: Ensures comfort for your guests during gatherings around the fountain.
  • Porch Integration: If you have a porch, adding a fire table can provide a welcoming transition from the water fountain to the coziness of your outdoor seating area.

Frequently Asked Questions

A tranquil backyard with a bubbling fountain surrounded by lush greenery and colorful flowers

Here are answers to common questions that can guide you in enhancing your outdoor space with a fountain.

What are some creative ideas for designing a small backyard water fountain?

For a small backyard water fountain, consider a tiered design to create a cascading effect. You can also incorporate LED lights for a dramatic night-time display. Another idea is to use a repurposed vessel like an antique bucket or a stone urn to add character.

Where are the best spots to place a water fountain in a backyard for optimal impact?

The best spots for a backyard fountain include areas visible from your indoor living spaces. You can also place it near seating areas for sound and visual enjoyment. Lastly, you can use it as a focal point in a garden to draw the eye through the landscape.

How can I make my own DIY backyard fountain?

You can build your own DIY backyard fountain using a water pump, a waterproof basin or container, and decorative rocks or tiles. Stack the materials to create your design and ensure the pump is submerged for proper water circulation.

What are the latest trends in modern outdoor fountain designs?

Modern outdoor fountain designs lean toward minimalist and sleek aesthetics. They often feature geometric shapes, smooth surfaces, and materials like stainless steel or natural stone. Incorporating smart technology for water flow control is also a trend.

Is it necessary to have a water supply plumbed in for an outdoor fountain, or are there alternative options?

It’s not essential to have a permanently plumbed water supply. Many outdoor fountains use recirculating pumps that cycle the same water. Solar-powered pumps are an alternative to reduce the need for electrical wiring.

How can I minimize water usage while maintaining a garden fountain?

To minimize water usage, choose a fountain design with a small surface area that requires less evaporation.

Regularly check for leaks. Use a timer to run the fountain selectively. Also, consider a rainwater collection system for replenishment.

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