Flowing water enlivens outdoor spaces with visual flair and gentle sounds. Twinkling in the sunlight and whispering kindly in our ears, water features have a priceless presence in the landscape. Assembling a simple fountain-focused container garden is an easy creative project that can turn a balcony, patio or other intimate outdoor space into a calming oasis.
For those short on time, creating a miniature water feature requires only a trip to the nearest garden center and about 30 minutes for set up. Most garden centers stock a variety of self-contained fountains to choose from, including models small enough to sit on a coffee table.
While you’re there, pick up a handful of lush-looking plants along with pots that match the look of the fountain. The plants will go around all sides of the fountain to form a tiny grotto, so select them based on height—smaller specimens to fill in the foreground, graduating to larger varieties as a backdrop. Look for ferns, lilies, reeds and other perennials with soft-textured foliage; any plant that looks like it belongs next to a waterway will do. A small potted tree with wispy, drooping branches, such as a dwarf Japanese maple, is absolutely enchanting overhanging a small fountain.
Statuary, stones, pebbles and colored sand are options for further embellishment of your new found sanctuary. These can go in the water or in and around the planters. Birds are likely to visit for a bath, especially if you hang a birdhouse and feeder nearby. The goal is for the creative process to be just as enjoyable as relaxing next to the finished product. Here are a few tips to prevent unforeseen challenges from arising:
- Nearby access to an electrical outlet is paramount. Using an extension cord to provide power is not recommended as a permanent solution.
- Water features are a three-season affair in non-temperate climates. As soon as freezing weather approaches drain the fountain completely and store until spring.
- Locate water features in the shade, if possible. Otherwise, algae build-up will be a constant problem.
- Remove sticks and leaves that fall into the fountain on a regular basis to keep the water crystal clear.
- Mosquitoes aren’t a problem as long as the water is constantly moving. If the fountain will be unplugged for more than a few days, be sure to drain it, so it doesn’t become a breeding ground.