The weather is growing warmer, and while many of us may not have the land or money for a big pool, a small bath or garden fountain can provide plenty of enjoyment. We asked renowned landscape architectural firm Page|Duke to share with us some inspiration for integrating smaller water features into yards. (And now, of course, we’re all pining for one!) Enjoy these little slices of paradise!
Many factors inform the design of a fountain. If a statue or piece of art is located at its center, the masonry and planting should direct focus toward such ornamentation. In some instances, as seen above, the landscaping shrouds the water feature, encouraging onlookers to approach the fountain and even sit on its rim. In other cases, when the fountain is meant to be viewed from a distance, planting around its base is kept minimal. As evident below, the art placed at the heart of a fountain is often a romantic statue, intended to be circumnavigated.
Oftentimes, a water feature is built directly onto an exterior wall of a home or into its foundation. In such cases, the design of the fountain and the materials used to create it are largely informed by the preexisting aesthetics of the house. Evident in the two fountains shown above and below, a spherically shaped water feature is the perfect platform for a dynamic lighting installation. Each of these fountains becomes an even more dramatic spectacle at nightfall.
It’s common for a water feature to be used as additional seating in a backyard. In the photo beneath, a rectangular fountain with an elevated wall sits across from a stone fireplace. It balances the design of the patio and sustains a compelling dialogue between the two elements of fire and water. Not only does the small bath provide a soothing sound, its spout also creates a gorgeous ripple effect atop the surface of the water that is equally cathartic.
When planting around a water feature, the designers at Page|Duke are cognizant of how the fountain is meant to be approached. In the photo below, taken at a home in the Garden District of New Orleans, tropical plants form a green alleyway, channeling traffic to the base of the fountain. The lush landscaping ensconces the water feature, providing protection and privacy, and making us feel as though we have entered Eden or some other consecrated space. The stone mosaic at the base of the fountain emanates from the cascading spout at the center, thereby reinforcing the sense of symmetry.
At this home in Memphis (below), a circular fountain was built behind the porch of the master bedroom. The transition between the porch doors and the stone walkway is seamless, carrying the momentum of the design outward and into the yard. This particular water feature is encapsulated by low boxwood bushes, creating an intimate space intended to be accessed. Again, an elaborate pebbled mosaic lines the bottom of the water feature, adding texture, color and dimension to the overall design. The results are sheer bliss.
“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you … Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone.” ― Margaret Atwood
Photography provided by John Chiasson