(ARA) - Ponce de Leon spent his life searching for the "fountain of youth." Fortunately for us, we only have to search a local garden store to find that special fountain which will transform our own backyard into a private oasis.
Today when we relax in our gardens, the soothing sounds of flowing water from a fountain can calm our soul. We, too, are drawn to the spiritual qualities as the gentle sounds of flowing water wash stress from our busy days, restoring and relaxing us.
This universal appeal is making fountains more popular with homeowners, especially as the effort to create personal outdoor spaces continues. Retailers are fueling this demand by offering a wider range of fountain designs, which run the gamut from traditional to more modern Zen-inspired pieces.
"Our fountain category continues to grow," says designer Peter C. Cilio, creative director of Campania International, one of the leading garden accessories purveyors in the country. "Customers want cast stone fountains, glazed, terra cotta and even light-weight -- all types of fountains to bring the sight and sound of water into the garden in an easy low-maintenance way."
"Water in the garden is an essential element," agrees John Carloftis, a renowned garden designer. "Adding a fountain to your garden, even a small fountain is a great investment." He recommends self-contained and easy-to-install fountains. They come complete with pump, tubing and all the necessary accessories.
Here are some simple guidelines from the experts that will help you choose the perfect fountain for your garden space.
RICK URBANOWSKI Enlarge
What's Your Style?
The most important consideration to keep in mind when choosing the right fountain is the overall style of your home and garden.
"People who love a beautiful garden are becoming more experienced and comfortable with their own styles and tastes outside," says Cilio. "Whether you have an urban, contemporary or country garden, the fountain should be compatible with your personal style and the aesthetics of your house and garden."
With fountains ranging from traditional European designs to more modern Zen-inspired pieces, today's selection of fountains appeals to the broadest of palates.
Carloftis reminds us to keep proportion in mind. "It is everything in the garden. Choose a fountain that will fit and feel good," he says. "And if you go big, be sure to keep it simple."
For a burst of bold color in the garden, new contemporary glazed fountains are the perfect solution. These fountains are available in a wide range of colors from vibrant reds and blues to earthy browns and greens. Glazed jar and sphere fountains from Campania can be paired with a round or square lightweight basin for below- or above-ground use.
RICK URBANOWSKI Enlarge
Consider Your Space
Whether on a patio or in the landscape, a free-standing fountain can be a mesmerizing focal point. The size of the fountain that you choose will depend on the size of your garden space.
"You could have a 4-by-6-foot pocket garden and put a small beautiful fountain at the end, and you've really made an incredible statement," says Carloftis.
Although fountains can take center stage in the landscape, you might also consider nestling your fountain in a secluded corner of your garden. Tucked away among the plantings, the fountain will not distract from the overall composition. Discovering such pieces, as one strolls in the garden, brings a delightful element of surprise and magic.
What's Your Desired Outcome? Dramatic or Zen?
If creating a highly dramatic effect is your desire, the classic choice is a larger two- or three-tiered fountain as a focal point for your landscape. Carloftis suggests Campania's elegant Newport Fountain, which is a beautiful tiered composition made of cast stone with a lightweight basin for better maneuverability.
If you want something Zen, look for a more soothing effect in water gently cascading over a cast stone ball. Discover the allure of dancing water from a fountain lit at night, while you entertain on the patio or deck. Look for freestanding wall fountains, which include lighting components for dramatic night-time illumination.
Low or High Maintenance
Keeping your fountain clean and free of debris to prevent algae growth and clogging is something to consider when purchasing a fountain. Smaller fountains don't require as much maintenance as larger fountains. And remember to protect your fountain in winter with a water-resistant fountain cover to prolong the life of your fountain.
Whether simple or ornate, you can create your own private oasis by introducing your own fountain of youth into your landscape or garden. Courtesy of ARAcontent