21 Backyard Fountain Ideas That Will Make a Splash

Adding a fountain to your backyard can transform it into an oasis of tranquility. The soothing sound of moving water has a calming effect, masking unwanted noises and providing a relaxing atmosphere. Fountains also lend visual interest and make spaces feel more luxurious. With so many sizes, styles, and setups to choose from, there’s an option to fit any backyard and budget. Here are 21 spectacular backyard fountain ideas to make a big splash in your outdoor space.

Simple Tabletop Fountains

Small tabletop fountains are an easy way to reap the benefits of flowing water without a major investment. Here are some stylish options:

Stone Tabletop Fountain: This type of tabletop fountain features a stacked stone design that mimics natural rock formations. The water gently trickles down the stones into a basin below. Opt for a compact size, around 2 feet tall at most, to fit on a patio table or plant stand.

Tiered Tabletop Fountain: Tiered fountains have multiple stacked bowls or platforms for the water to flow over. The tiered effect creates pleasant cascading sounds. Choose a 3-tier design in a material like copper or bamboo for visual interest.

Solar Tabletop Fountain: A solar-powered tabletop fountain is convenient because it doesn’t require wiring or electricity. Solar fountains often have compact, spherical shapes with water gently burbling over the top. Place in full sun for optimal solar charging.

Illuminated Tabletop Fountain: Add lighting to amplify the fountain’s trickling effects at night. Opt for white lights to emit a soft glow. Fairy lights also create a whimsical ambience when woven through the fountain materials.

Mosaic Tabletop Fountain: Mosaic tiles in an intricate pattern add artful flair to a tabletop fountain. Opt for deep blues and greens reminiscent of the ocean or use multi-colored tiles for a vibrant, eclectic look. Keep the scale petite.

Freestanding Backyard Fountains

Freestanding fountains come in endless shapes and sizes to suit backyards big and small. They make a dramatic focal point yet take up less space than pond fountains.

Tiered Outdoor Fountain: A small tiered fountain can fit on a patio or deck. Larger tiered fountains are ideal for placing near a seating area on the lawn. Opt for 3-5 tiers of stacked bowls and a rainfall-style top tier for pleasant trickling sounds.

Sculptural Fountain: Choose a fountain with a unique sculptural design to make a statement. Abstract bronze or concrete fountains look modern while angel, bird or animal shaped fountains have a more classical appeal. Pick a style that fits your garden’s aesthetics.

Garden Fountain: A simple backyard fountain in a material like stone, concrete, or clay makes an attractive garden accent. Add lush plants around the base to complement the fountain. Aim for a petite scale, around 3 feet tall, to not overwhelm the space.

Solar Fountain: Harness the power of the sun with a solar fountain. Look for spherical shapes with water spouting from the top portion to take advantage of the solar panel placement. Solar fountains come in many colors to pop against plantings.

Floating Fountain: Floating fountains have a water feature that seems to magically hover above a basin. This effect is created through magnetic levitation. The lack of visible support structures gives a modern, minimalist look.

Rainfall Fountain: A rainfall fountain mimics a gentle splash of summer rain. It often features an overhead spout that lets water trickle down multiple tiers. The soft drizzling effect is soothing and meditative.

Fire and Water Fountain: Add visual drama by combining the elements of fire and water. Propane-fueled fire bowls or pillar candles can ignite flame effects near or within the water feature. Use with caution and proper safety precautions.

Wall Fountains

Wall fountains are designed to mount flush against a vertical surface, whether a fence, wall, or side of your home. They provide all the ambience of a fountain in a compact footprint.

Planted Wall Fountain: Turn any blank wall or fence into a lively garden scene. Opt for a wall fountain with planting pockets built into the frame. Cascading greenery like ivy enhances the organic vibe.

Mediterranean Wall Fountain: A clay or tile wall fountain evokes the relaxing courtyards found across sunny Mediterranean regions. Look for an arched shape, neutral colors, and distressed finishes.

Modern Steel Wall Fountain: Sleek stainless steel makes a statement on contemporary exteriors. Built-in LED lighting illuminates the water streams for ultimate impact. Focus on simple streamlined shapes.

Stone Wall Fountain: For a natural look, choose a wall fountain clad in stacked slate or limestone. Let the water gently trickle down the stone formation into a serene rock pool below.

Mosaic Wall Fountain: Tiny mosaic tiles in vivid colors, glass, or seashells transform a basic wall fountain into a stunning work of art. Mediterranean-style mosaics suit the look, or create your own custom design.

Indoor/Outdoor Wall Fountain: Opt for a weather-resistant material like resin or fiberglass to allow placing your wall fountain outdoors or indoors. Miniature size options work well indoors where you can enjoy the pleasant sounds.

Backyard Water Wall: Scale up your wall fountain by installing a sheet of water that flows from top to bottom. Recirculating pumps at the base power the waterfall effect. Use LEDs to illuminate at night.

Pondless Fountains

Disguise the water source of your fountain to seem like the water appears out of thin air. These clever setups are called pondless or disappearing fountains.

Basin-less Fountain: Instead of splashing into a pond or basin, the water cascades over the fountain structure and disappears underground through a hidden reservoir. Various pumps recirculate the water.

Dry Creek Bed Fountain: The water feature is artfully incorporated into an artificial dry creek bed in your landscape. The water gently burbles up through rocks to form a naturalistic babbling brook that disappears beneath pebbles or gravel.

Recessed Fountain: Build a recess in a patio, wall, or yard to house the water source. Place the visible fountain feature near the front of the recess to make the water supply less noticeable. Lush plantings can further obscure the setup.

Vanishing Edge Fountain: Also called an infinity fountain, this setup has water pouring over the front edge of a small reservoir concealed below grade. The water seems to vanish over the ledge for a magical effect.

Unique Fountain Designs

If you want to stray from classic looks, several creative options can provide a memorable backyard focal point. Consider these unexpected fountain ideas:

Rain Chain Fountain: A rain chain can capture and redirect water runoff creatively. As water trickles down the copper links, it makes pleasant dripping sounds into a collection basin below.

Pot Fountain: Repurpose a large ceramic pot as an uncommon water vessel. Add water plantings to complement the organic style. Let water gently burble out through a spout you add to the pot drainage hole.

DIY Upcycled Fountain: Give new life to salvaged materials – anything from vintage kitchenware to old bicycle parts can become fountain features. Add LED lighting for extra nighttime drama.

Handmade Stone Fountain: Express your creativity by hand-building a fountain from found stones, concrete, or clay. Add artistic details like embedded mosaic shards or sculptures. Build up multiple rock layers for a natural look.

Japanese Bamboo Fountain: A rustic bamboo spout paired with a simple rock basin evokes traditional Eastern style. Let the water gently pour out of the bamboo into the stones below. Surround with delicate ornamental grasses and evergreens.

Champagne Fountain: Celebrate with cascading bubbles! Adaptable beverage dispensers can provide multitiered champagne waterfall effects for backyard soirees and weddings.

Scale Your Backyard Fountain

Carefully consider the scale of your backyard fountain so it fits the surroundings:

Tiny fountain: Opt for a desktop-sized water feature just a foot or two tall to tuck onto a patio table or garden bench. These mini fountains provide soothing sounds without dominating.

Small fountain: For minor backyard accents, stick with fountains 3 feet tall or less. Certain compact wall fountains and solar specimens work well at a modest scale.

Medium fountain: A 4 to 6-foot-tall fountain can make more of an impact while still suiting smaller yards. Freestanding resin or concrete fountains often come in these intermediate dimensions.

Large fountain: Fountains in the 6 to 8-foot range command attention as significant focal points. Be sure to have ample surrounding space to accommodate substantial installations.

Oversized fountain: Extra-large fountains over 8 feet tall work best in extensive backyards where they won’t feel overly imposing. Be sure required utilities can accommodate pumps and tubing.

Multilevel fountain: Incorporate varying heights by opting for a tiered or waterfall fountain design. This creates depth and allows larger scales while maintaining a sense of balance.

Position Your Backyard Fountain

Strategically place your backyard fountain to enhance the ambience:

Near seating: Install your fountain within view of patio seating spaces. The soothing sounds create the perfect relaxation zone for reading, conversing, or enjoying morning coffee.

Entryway: A small fountain placed by a home’s back entryway or near a garden gate offers a welcoming vibe. The delicate splashing sounds beckon visitors in.

Patio: Clear some space on your patio or deck to feature a tabletop fountain. Elevate on a plant stand for optimal sound distribution. This allows you to benefit whether seated or moving around.

Privacy fence: Mount a wall fountain on exterior privacy fences or side walls of your home to mask unwanted noises like traffic. The water sounds make the environment more peaceful.

Garden centerpiece: Make your fountain the crowning jewel of your backyard garden design. Place it centrally within a web of winding paths and plantings. This creates a lovely secret hideaway.

Near seating: Installing your fountain within view of dining areas allows you to soak in the ambience during meals. The fountain sounds also help mask clanking dinnerware.

Corner: Tuck a compact wall fountain into a garden corner to soften the angles. Plant greenery at the base for a nestled effect. This also saves space for open lawn areas.

Accentuate Your Backyard Fountain

Use these tips to seamlessly integrate your fountain into the backyard landscape:

  • Place large river rocks around the fountain base to neatly hide tubing and direct splashing away from walkways.
  • Add gravel, sand, or pebbles to extend the fountain sounds as the water trickles over the materials.
  • Plant flowering shrubs around the fountain to frame it. Choose fragrant varieties like gardenias or jasmine.
  • Weave fairy lights through and around the fountain for a twinkling glow during summer soirées.
  • Set garden torches or pathway lighting nearby to create a cozy ambience on the fountain at night.
  • Nestle potted aquatic plants into the fountain basin. The fresh greenery enhances the natural effect.
  • Incorporate wind chimes, bird baths, rain barrels, or other water-wise elements to coordinate with the fountain scheme.
  • Build a pergola overhead to provide filtered sunlight on the fountain. Trailing vines over the structure boost the secret garden vibe.
  • Add rustic wood benches, stools, or Adirondack chairs nearby to create a designated fountain lounge zone.

Maintain Your Backyard Fountain

With proper maintenance, your backyard fountain can provide lasting relaxation for years to come. Follow these fountain care tips:

  • Keep the water level topped up to prevent damage to your fountain pump. Consider installing a smart fountain controller to maintain the level automatically.
  • Change the water frequently, about once a week, to deter algae and mosquitoes. More frequent water refreshes may be needed for small tabletop fountains.
  • Clear away debris like leaves, dirt, and other accumulated junk regularly to keep waterways unobstructed.
  • Clean fountain surfaces with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth as needed to remove stains and mineral buildup. Avoid abrasive cleaners.
  • Inspect the hoses, tubing, pumps, lights, and other electrical components periodically to check for damage. Make any needed repairs immediately to maintain proper function.
  • Bring fragile concrete or resin fountain materials indoors for winter if you live in a climate prone to freezing. Leave more weather-resistant stone or metal fountains outside year-round.
  • Consider installing a fountain cover or placing a tarp over the fountain during the off-season to protect from harsh weather exposure.
  • For illuminated fountains, replace any burned out bulbs as soon as possible. LED lighting tends to have the greatest longevity.

FAQs About Backyard Fountains

How much do backyard fountains cost?

Backyard fountain costs vary immensely based on the size, materials, and complexity of the design. Small tabletop fountains can cost as little as $50 while extensive customized waterfall fountains with lighting can cost over $10,000. Many homeowners spend $250-$1,500 to add a medium-sized backyard fountain.

What size fountain do I need for my backyard?

Choose a fountain scaled to fit your backyard size. For a small patio, opt for a tabletop fountain under 3 feet tall. Backyards under 1,000 sq ft are well suited for small fountains around 3 feet tall. Large backyards over 1,000 sq ft provide flexibility for grand 6-8 foot designs.

How do you keep algae out of a backyard fountain?

Frequently changing the fountain water deters algae growth. Adding a fountain sanitizing solution tailored for backyard ponds and fountains helps keep the water fresh and algae-free. Maintaining proper water circulation and avoiding overexposure to direct sunlight also inhibit algae.

What plants go well with a backyard fountain?

Some great plants to complement backyard fountains include: flowering annuals like petunias or begonias, fragrant herbs like mint or thyme, trailing vines such as ivy, rounded shrubs like azaleas and hydrangeas, air plants, and aquatic varieties like water lilies.

Can you put fish in a backyard fountain?

Goldfish and koi can add visual interest to larger backyard fountains, provided the water feature is at least 2-3 feet deep. Ensure the fountain pump is powerful enough to properly aerate the water. You’ll also need to feed the fish and control algae since natural food sources are limited.

How do you keep dogs from drinking out of backyard fountains?

If you want to deter dogs from drinking from or playing in your backyard fountain, use a motion-activated sprinkler system. When triggered, these devices harmlessly spray water to startle animals away from the fountain area. Fencing around the fountain can also restrict access.

Bring Tranquility Home With a Backyard Fountain

Awater feature is one of the finest ways to elevate your landscape and create an at-home oasis. With so many sizes, styles, concepts, and placement ideas to choose from, you’re sure to find a backyard fountain to fit your space and budget. The soothing sights and sounds of flowing water lend beauty and serenity to any backyard. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let your fountain be a personal haven for well-deserved relaxation.