21 Different Types of Fountains

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Find out the different types of fountains — depending on style, materials, and features — to know which one will create the most impact on your home.

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A stone, cascading fountain with multiple tiers placed in a garden full of plants and flowers.

Fountains existed as early as 3000 B.C. in Mesopotamia and even in ancient Greece and Rome. Italy introduced the first mechanically-operated fountain in the 15th century. In the 16th and 17th century, fountains were conceived as “stations en route to illumination” and made their way into Italian grand gardens as well as Roman and Tuscan villas.

The Italian fontanieri added special effects and mixed physics with metaphysics as the new architecture inspired a mythical world wherein water and the fountain itself played an important role. They were eventually employed by the royals of England, France, and Austria to produce the decorative waterworks into their own palaces.

A. Types

1. Indoor Fountains

A black, resin outdoor fountain with a ripple design.Source: Home Depot

The first thing that you think about when you hear the word fountain isn’t typically an indoor water feature. Regardless, indoor fountains have become incredibly prevalent over the years. Many people enjoy having running water features in their houses as they can provide a really nice sense of calm. Some people like to put these fountains in their home office areas to help them concentrate and remain focused on the task at hand.

What the reason is that you want an indoor fountain, you will be able to find plenty of appealing options. There are a lot of different styles of fountains that can be used indoors. You will be able to enjoy a stylish fountain in your house without having to go through too much effort. Options are readily available whether you want something that is really ornate or you are looking for something simpler in nature.

2. Garden Fountains

A garden fountain with animal designs. Source: Amazon

You will find that many people commonly put fountains in their gardens. There are many different styles of garden fountains available for you to purchase. They can range from simple and elegant fountains to very ornate works of art. The variety of different fountain styles that can be put in your garden is quite impressive and you will surely be able to find something that appeals to you.

Many people decide to make the fountain a centerpiece of their garden areas. You will often find a large fountain on display with many flowers and other plants flanking it. This allows the fountain to truly feel as if it is on display and it works to gather the attention of anyone who is visiting your garden area. Garden fountains can be used in other ways too, though.

Sometimes you will see garden fountains being placed at strategic points in a garden to add a bit of charm as well. People enjoy using running water fixtures to accentuate the beauty of their gardens. It can add to the overall character of your garden and will help with the presentation. Those with really large garden areas will often have several garden fountains placed around their properties.

3. Spouting Fountains

A fish-shaped fountain spitter perfect for landscapes and gardens. Source: Amazon

The spouting fountain is likely the style that you think of when envisioning a fountain. These fountains can be quite dramatic as they spout water up into the air. Despite feeling grandiose due to the spouting effect, these types of fountains can actually be installed rather easily. All that is required is that you have an existing body of water to place the fountain in. They usually come with a sort of submersible pump that will allow the fountain to spout water properly.

There are other styles of spouting fountains too, of course. You can find more complex variants of spouting fountains in large parks across the United States but most of the types of spouting fountains that you will see in people’s gardens are more simple. This doesn’t make them any less impressive, though. A fountain such as this can be used to add a lot of fun to your garden area.

People like to put these types of fountains in ponds when they have one on their property. Sometimes people install man-made ponds just so that they can enjoy the aesthetic appeal that they add to their grounds. You will be able to find a style that will work for you and it will definitely look nice in your yard. You can even add this type of a fountain to your garden without having to spend too much money, making it a popular choice.

4. Japanese Fountains

Japanese bamboo fountains for indoor or outdoor use.Source: Wayfair

If you know anything about Japanese culture, then you will know that fountains are incredibly common in Japanese gardens. These fountains are also very commonly located in front of temples or other places that have a spiritual significance. To the Japanese people, fountains have been a symbol of both physical and spiritual cleansing for many years. These ideas date back to ancient times so it should come as no surprise that fountains are prevalent in the culture.

The Japanese styles used to make fountains are very eye-catching. They have a sense of natural beauty about them and they evoke images of purity and tranquility. Bamboo is commonly used in Japanese fountains and sometimes you will see fixtures that involve a bamboo spout trickling water down into a basin that is placed below. Adding such a beautiful fountain to your garden area will surely add a significant amount of visual appeal.

If you want to create a garden area that is really in tune with nature, then a Japanese fountain would work very well in that space. These types of fountains are not too difficult to install so you should be able to make great use of one. You will find that some people like to add koi fish ponds to their properties and have Japanese fountains trickling water down into the pond area. Whatever your idea for your fountain is, you will certainly be able to find a Japanese fountain that will be perfect for your purposes.

5. Swimming Pool Fountain

A white, plastic swimming pool fountain with LED lights. Source: Amazon

It is no secret that people love to be able to swim in the summer months. If you have been known to throw a pool party or two during the hottest months of the year, then you might be interested in purchasing a swimming pool fountain. These types of fountains are really interesting because they can make your swimming experience seem even more special. They can be installed inside of your pool relatively easily and are a lot of fun to play around with.

Most of the swimming pool fountains that you will see on the market are meant for above-ground swimming pools. These types of fountains are going to be able to fit onto the side of your swimming pool and can shoot out water as you would expect. Some of them are even able to make the water appear to be different colors by using LED lighting effects.

There are a few different types of these fountains so you will have choices when looking into purchasing a swimming pool fountain. If you have a more expensive in-ground pool, then you can also get a fountain for that style of a pool as well. Sometimes this can be more costly as you might need to commission something special from a professional craftsperson. The more affordable swimming pool fountains are going to be easier to come by and you will have ample amounts of fun playing around with them.

6. Endless Fountains/Disappearing Fountains

A pond-less, cast stone fountain perfect for gardens. Source: Amazon

Another interesting type of fountain is known as a pondless fountain or disappearing fountain. What is unique about these types of fountains is that they do not require any sort of a pond or visible water feature in order to work. Instead, you will be placing their water source underground. This can make for a very impressive feature in your garden and will surely add significant aesthetic appeal.

You are going to need to make sure that the ground is even when you want to bury the water source for these fountains. The ground where the fountain is going to sit should ideally be quite level as well. There are many different types of pondless fountains and many of them are stunning works of art. You can find pondless fountains that are a bit more affordable or you can go with something high-end to truly add a special piece to your property.

One of the most popular pondless fountain styles features columns. A design with three columns with water cascading down is very visually appealing. You will find that it draws the eye to whatever area the fountain is placed in. If you want to bring attention to a particular area of your garden, then installing one of these pondless fountains there is an excellent idea.

7. Cascading Fountains

Cascading rock fountain for indoor or outdoor use.Source: Home Depot

Cascading fountains have an elegant beauty that is all their own. People who enjoy fountains for their tranquil qualities will love owning a cascading model. This is going to allow you to sit and enjoy the sight of flowing water while you relax and take the time to soak in the atmosphere. If you want your garden area to help you relax, then this fountain just might be the perfect thing for you to install.

The way a cascading fountain works is that water will be flowing downwards from one level to another. The most common type of cascading fountains will have three different levels. The top part of the fountain is generally where the water is flowing from. It is designed in such a way that the water will steadily cascade downwards to the bottom level.

You will find cascading fountain designs that feature three basins with each level getting progressively bigger from the top. There are other types of cascading fountains as well. Some designs may feature columns and others might depict water flowing down a mountain or hill. No matter what type of cascading fountain will appeal to you the most, you will be able to find the perfect piece to give you an extra sense of calm in your garden area.

8. Wall Fountains

Gray, cascade wall fountain for outdoor use.Source: Wayfair

There are so many different distinct styles of fountains that it is somewhat astounding. One of the easiest types of fountains for people to enjoy is the wall fountain. Getting a wall fountain installed is very simple and you will be able to enjoy it either indoors or outdoors, depending on the type of fountain that you have purchased. Many people do enjoy having these inside of their houses as the sound of running water can be very soothing and is known to help some people sleep more soundly.

These fountains are also commonly used outside in garden areas, of course. People often place wall fountains on the sides of barns or on garden sheds. This adds a good sense of fun to the area and can make for a great decoration. The types of wall fountains that are available are really diverse so you can get pretty imaginative with your choices.

Fountains such as this work very well when you don’t have a large yard. There are many people who would love to own a fountain but simply do not have the room to accommodate most of the other outdoor fountain styles on this list. If you are short on space in your yard, then a wall fountain can be installed right on your fence and it will look really nice. This gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy having a fountain in his or her yard.

For the most part, wall fountains will feature some sort of spout. This will spit out water down into a basin that is placed below. You can find wall fountains that will trickle water downwards as well. It really just depends on what you want out of your wall fountain. You will find plenty of characters and interesting designs when looking for wall fountains so take the time to look for something that will appeal to your personal sense of style.

9. Self-Contained Fountains

A self-contained fountain made out of concrete.Source: Wayfair

For those who want to have a really easy time installing their new fountains in the garden, these self-contained fountains are very appealing. As the name implies, these types of fountains are completely self-contained. They have everything that they need in order to operate properly and do not need to be placed in a pond or pool. Fountains such as this have their own pump in the internal plumbing structure that is needed so that it can function properly.

Installing a fountain such as this in your garden area doesn’t take too much work. You just need to find the right spot in your yard to place the fountain. As long as you can place this fountain somewhere that is completely level, you will have an easy experience. This is similar to the pondless fountain mentioned above but it is even simpler because you don’t have to bury anything to get this to work.

A lot of people decide to place these types of fountains on their decks or patios. It is easy to get these fountains going because all you have to do is put the water inside the fountain. It will have the internal plumbing structure to keep itself going. This way, you will be able to enjoy a beautiful new fountain in your yard without having to put in a lot of work installing it.

B. Styles

1. Tabletop Fountain

Small, table-top fountain with metal leaves.Source: Home Depot

You can even buy fountains that will fit right on your tabletop. These are very nice and can add a bit of character to any room that you place one in. This fountains are inexpensive and can provide a sense of relaxation as you are able to gaze at the flowing water while performing household tasks. It has an included pump that is easy to set up and all you will need to do is plug this into your normal electrical outlet to get it working.

2. LED Fountains

An LED fountain with a contemporary finish. Source: Amazon

Many fountains are being sold with LED lights included in the design. These LED lights can add some functionality to the fountain itself. You will be able to enjoy the flowing water appearing even more impressive as it can be shown in different colors. Even if this is just a trick of the lighting, it can still be very impressive to look at and these styles of fountains can be purchased at affordable prices.

3. Waterfall Fountain

A dark gray, waterfall fountain with a modern finish.Source: Wayfair

Replicating the look and feel of a waterfall has been quite popular over the years. There are many types of fountains that are made in the waterfall style. These waterfall fountains can be quite beautiful and are commonly seen in both indoor and outdoor environments. Some waterfall fountains can be very complex but there are options that are simpler and easier to manage.

4. Birdbath Fountain

A bird bath water fountain in a fiberglass construction.Source: Home Depot

Birdbath fountains are really popular among people who love nature. If you love having birds come to your yard, then installing a birdbath fountain is going to be really appealing. These fountains make for a great centerpiece for a small garden area. They aren’t too difficult to install or maintain, either, so you will have a great experience when you decide to purchase one.

5. Decorative Statue Fountains

A decorative, statue fountain perfect for outdoor use.Source: Hayneedle

Many fountains also serve a purpose as being decorative statues. Some of these statue-style fountains can be very high-end and others are going to be affordable for just about anyone. Fountains that can double as statues are very fun to have in your garden. Many of them will feature designs of cute animals or small children playing so they definitely evoke a fun vibe.

6. Solar Fountains

A blue ceramic, indoor fountain with a glazed finish.Source: Home Depot

Some people may not be aware that you can purchase fountains that are solar-powered. You can find most types of fountains when looking for a solar option. These are really convenient as you won’t need to hook them up to an electrical outlet. Not having to power a pump with traditional electricity can be a boon when you have a large garden and don’t want to have to run an extension cord.

7. Classic Greek Statue Fountains

Classic Greek statue fountain made out of antique stones. Source: Amazon

One of the most enduring images of fountain styles is certainly that of the little Greek statue peeing. Everyone has seen this type of statue and it remains very popular to this day. Greek statues have an appeal that is timeless and many people like to have fountains that depict classic Greek imagery. Whether you want a classic design such as the peeing boy or if you would prefer to have a fountain depicting one of the Greek gods or goddesses, you will surely be able to find something to suit your tastes.

C. Materials

1. Cast Stone

An electric-powered, cast stone fountain with three tiers.Source: Wayfair

Fountains that are made out of cast stone are some of the most sought-after on the market. They can also be a little pricey if you don’t have a larger budget. Regardless, these fountains are absolutely gorgeous and will be an excellent addition to your garden. Considering purchasing one is worth the money in most situations.

2. Metal

A table-top fountain with leaf-shaped metal designs.Source: Wayfair

You will find that fountains made out of metal are pretty common. Metal fountains are made in various styles so you should be able to find any type of fountain that you desire. Metal fountains are going to be very sturdy and you can rely on them to stand the test of time. If you want to purchase a piece that will become a permanent part of your garden, then getting a fountain made out of metal is ideal.

3. Ceramic

A cascade, ceramic fountain in lava red.Source: Home Depot

Ceramic fountains are also pretty common and they are used both indoors and outdoors to great effect. You will be able to find ceramic fountains in many different styles but the material is popularly used to make cascading fountains. You will also find ceramic being used to make spouting fountains fairly often. Ceramic can be very beautiful so this type of fountain is definitely going to look good in your yard.

4. Fiberglass

A Buddha fountain made out of fiberglass. Source: Amazon

Many types of indoor fountains are made out of fiberglass. You will find plenty of interesting designs when looking at indoor fiberglass fountains. This material is easy to work with and companies can create fountains that have a lot of unique designs. If you want to have a fun fountain that will be neat to look at in your home, then purchasing a fiberglass fountain is a good option.

5. Plastic/Lightweight Resin

Gray faux stone, synthetic fountain. Source: Amazon

You will find that some fountains are made completely out of plastic or lightweight resin. This is pretty common when it comes to indoor fountains and fountains that are meant to hang on the wall. At first glance, you might think that fountains made of this material are not as sturdy or worthwhile as ones made of other more rigid materials. That isn’t necessarily the case as these plastic fountains can be maintained very well if you are diligent enough.





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