Garden Fountains – Choosing the Right Material and Type of Outdoor Fountain

Hopefully my first garden fountain article, “Garden Dรฉcor Revamped with a Garden Fountain” got you thinking of the benefits a fountain can bring to your gardens and landscaping. We also discussed thinking about the placement and material of your outdoor fountain before you actually purchase. I want to go into more detail in this article regarding the various materials commonly used in garden fountains as well as some advantages and disadvantages of each.

Outdoor water fountains, commonly called garden fountain, come in many shapes, sizes and materials. You will see rock waterfalls commonly used amongst landscaping that resemble actual rocks with water cascading down. You will find tiered fountains in which water flows from tier to tier or bowl to bowl, very common in the middle of a yard or courtyard. May be you are trying to go green any chance you can? Solar fountains may be the perfect fit for you, although, a smaller water fountain, there are many styles, colors and solar birdbaths to choose. No need for cords, just put the solar panel in a location where you get a lot of sun and enjoy! With so many options, you are sure to find the perfect look for your deck or garden area so let’s consider the material options.

You will commonly see garden style fountains in three materials, fiberglass, stone/granite, and ceramic. Of course there are others ranging from copper to slate to stainless steel, in this article we will compare the fiberglass vs. the cast stone options as they seem to be the most commonly seen and get the most questions.

Fiberglass outdoor fountains are very common and come in many different styles. You can find lightweight outdoor fountains that look like rocks, tiered styles with 1 to 6 levels, Japanese styles and various other unique designs, all constructed of fiberglass materials. These fountains typically have a “stone-like” finish to make them look like real, natural stone fountains. The largest advantage of a fiberglass outdoor fountain is the weight. Being a fiberglass material, your garden fountain will be kept at a manageable weight, thus making it easier to maneuver, move and clean. Many of the fiberglass tiered fountains although they can be tall, have a spin lock system so the pieces can come apart for easy storage in cold months and easy cleaning. Another advantage of the fiberglass garden fountains is that they are lighter to ship thus keeping the cost down. One disadvantage of the fiberglass material is that they could fade or chip over time from the sun and elements. However, to offset this, the fading or chipped piece can be fixed by refinishing your fountain with a water proof spray finish. One other point that can be a disadvantage to some is that most lightweight garden fountains are mass produced over seas and are boxed and ready to ship. However, once again, to offset this, it keeps the cost down and allows you to get a water fountain that is produced and ready to ship fast.

Now, let’s discuss stone outdoor fountains. Typically, stone or granite garden fountains are actually cast stone as opposed to solid concrete or granite to keep the weight down. The largest advantage of a cast stone garden fountain is their beauty and strength! Although heavy, they are very stunning and come in many different shapes and sizes. You can get a tiered fountain at almost any height, a smaller unique shaped fountain or a style that is meant to sit flush up against a wall, such as a wall of your home or deck. Another advantage of a cast stone fountain is that you can usually choose your color. The color is done as a stain or actually infused into the stone so it is very permanent so you shouldn’t have to worry about fading or chipping. The obvious disadvantage of cast stone in a garden water feature is the weight. They are heavy so typically you will want to pick a more permanent place for it in your yard. They can be moved, but it will take some time and energy to do so. Cast stone fountains are tougher to clean simply because they typically have to be cleaned where they sit rather than taken apart and cleaned thoroughly. Don’t let this turn you away however as there are many safe fountain care products that will keep your outdoor fountain looking great for many years!

No matter what style or material garden fountain you choose, remember that if you live in a cold climate where you get freezing weather, you need to be aware of the winter care such as draining and covering your fountain before a deep freeze. There are fountain covers that work great or you can just cover it with blankets and a tarp.


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