Fountain buying guide

Fountain buying guide
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Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds

85 guides
From Buddha fountains to waterfall fountains, there is no end to the different styles and types of garden fountains. Whether decorative or functional, fountains are usually made of reconstituted stone or cast iron. Equipped with a spout or cascading pool, the most important factor when selecting a fountain is design.

Important features

  • Functional or decorative
  • Style
  • Material

Decorative or functional fountains

A distinction should be made between functional fountains, which are hooked up to drinking water and constitute an actual water source, and decorative fountains, which consist of cascading, non-drinkable water pumped from a nearby pond.

Decorative fountains


Operating as a closed circuit, these fountains are purely decorative in nature.
Most decorative fountains have a pump and, depending on the design, a cascading effect, whereby water from a higher basin flows into one or more lower basins.
The water in these fountains is not drinkable.

Functional fountains


Functional fountains are generally around 75 cm in height and may or may not feature a basin positioned beneath their spout, which is generally made in the same style and from the same material as the fountain.
They are hooked up to drinking water through the existing water supply system (temporary installations could incorporate a garden hose, permanent installations would use copper pipe).

Different fountain styles


There is a fountain to suit every garden. Whether you are looking for an outdoor accessory to match your home or something distinct that catches the eye, you will first of all need to decide on a style for your fountain.
Whether you are in search of a fountain with lots of character, a modern model, or one with an antique look, there are numerous options available, from traditional to unique.
  • Wall-mounted fountains for a stone wall or a living plant wall
  • Fountains made from sculpted stone or cast iron, fitted with a spout
  • Fountains made of natural stone (stone blocks) or sculpted stone (shaped)
  • Rectilinear fountains made of stainless steel or zinc
  • Spherical fountains (on a pedestal or basin) made from wood or stone
  • Re-purposed objects transformed into fountains, such as extra-large watering cans, pots stacked on top of each other, amphorae, fire hydrants, and so on.
The sound of water flowing along a surface is not as loud as that of a traditional splashing fountain, which can get annoying over time.
For an enchanting atmosphere and softly lit evenings, some fountains can be equipped with built-in LEDs, LED strip lights, or floating lights.
With regards to price, garden fountains that are ready-to-use can cost anywhere between a few hundred to several thousand pounds.
Explore the ManoMano catalogue
Garden fountains

How fountains work


Fountains distribute water that moves round in a closed circuit. This operation is both environmentally friendly (no wasted water) and economical (no water supply required). Incidentally, rainwater can be collected and added to the basin simply by using a watering can or some other type of set-up from your rainwater collection system. There are numerous different systems.
Outdoor decorative fountains require a pump to circulate the water in the basin or collection tray through a component located higher up in the system. There's no need to worry about the aesthetic aspect as fountain pumps can be easily concealed beneath the base or in a nearby location (in housing and/or hidden by a plant, for example).
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Fountain pumps

Fountain materials


The materials used to make the fountain will depend, in part, on the style of the fountain and the type you choose will determine the amount of maintenance required. Possible materials include:
  • reconstituted stone, which comes in different levels of density, styles and colours;
  • natural stone, the properties of which depend on the stone used;
  • cast iron, which is heavy and very rust-resistant;
  • galvanised steel or zinc, which is lightweight, comes in a wide range of colours, and is rust-proof;
  • polyresin, a lightweight material that comes in different shapes and colours;
  • wood, which offers a rustic, natural look and is treated for protection against various weather conditions and pests.

How to install a fountain


You can find full fountain kits.
It is possible to incorporate a fountain into an existing pond. Otherwise, you will need to factor in building or installing a pond, bearing in mind the location of pumps and filters, or you can go for a tank.
Which components do you need in order to set up your fountain?
  • An electrical outlet within reach
  • A programmer (optional)
  • Water supply and drainage if you are installing a functional fountain (with drinking water)
  • A pool pump if you are installing a decorative fountain that does not include a pump
Unless the pump is solar-powered, it will need an electrical connection. For safety reasons, the electrical outlet should be housed in IP65-approved waterproof casing.
Depending on your fountain's design, weight and stand, you may need to create a concrete base and consider attaching it to this base using fixing plugs.
It is also possible to install a fountain on a patio or a large balcony. The best suited fountains for this are basin-style fountains that are not too heavy (approximately 25 kilos).
Quick tip: like aquatic plants? Be sure to place them far from spraying water. This will ensure your plants live a long life!
Guide written by:

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds 85 guides écrits

Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends.

I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish.

I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece.

I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.

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