Fountain ideas for gardens and backyards: 11 ways to make a statement with water

These fountain ideas for gardens and backyards will provide a beautiful and soothing focal point

fountain ideas for gardens and backyards: fountain in pond with gravel and slate
(Image credit: Giovanni Santi Laurini/Alamy Stock Photo)

On the lookout for fountain ideas for gardens and backyards? They're a failsafe way to elevate an outdoor space for more reasons than one. And, there are so many designs to choose from, meaning it's easy to find one that's just right for your theme.

Any water feature idea makes a brilliant addition to a plot, whether that's a small pond or a meandering stream. But, fountains have to be one of our favorites. The continuously moving water is an enchanting, almost meditative sight, especially as it captures the light. Plus, the soft, trickling sound will help anyone wind down at the end of a long day.

They offer a 'sense of serenity to your garden, adding a soothing atmosphere to any outdoor area,' says the team at Lights4fun. 'They also make the ultimate statement piece,' they continue, and 'there are options to suit every style and space.' So, if you're thinking about updating your yard, why not bring one into the mix?

Fountain ideas for gardens and backyards: 11 gorgeous looks

To help you get inspired, we've brought together plenty of stunning fountain ideas for you to peruse.

1. Create an eye-catching illusion

lights4fun floating tap garden fountain

This design from Lights4fun is bound to turn heads

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

How about this set-up for a playful – yet definitely chic – addition to your patio? The clever design is bound to be a talking point amongst adults and kids alike, and as it's self contained it's super easy to install and move around as you wish.

We love the zinc planter below too, which suits all kinds of contemporary schemes. Paired with a cool black backdrop and soft ornamental grasses, this is a perfect look if you're after modern garden ideas with a twist.

2. Choose a textural design

round water feature with fountain

A unique fountain adds a sculptural accent to this space

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography/Future)

A textural feature like this one has an organic, intriguing appearance, and will create a captivating vista as water gently tumbles across its surface. Something so striking deserves to be centerstage, so it makes a lovely focal point for a tranquil courtyard space. 

Notice how the water trickles down into the circle of pebbles below. Here, it will be collected by a hidden underground reservoir before circulating back up in a soothingly seamless cycle. Surround with verdant greenery, and of course, one of the best garden benches to sit on and take in the view.

3. Light it up

lights4fun light up water feature

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Good outdoor lighting ideas will always give your yard an extra dose of drama. But combining them with trickling water will boost the ambience even further as the sun sets. Just take a look at this three-tiered, bronze-hued design, for instance.

'Light-up fountains are the ideal solution for channelling the peace and tranquillity of a Zen garden, with the warm white LEDs softly lighting the flowing water to add a truly cozy feel,' says Lights4fun.

Styles like this one also have the added bonus of being able to be displayed outdoors all year round, as continues the team. What's more, 'there is minimum maintenance required. Simply fill with plenty of water, plug in and position in the perfect spot in your garden.'

4. Try a contemporary look

RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021

(Image credit: Joanna Kossak/RHS)

This award-winning garden designed by Mike Long features a striking fountain feature that's full of unique charm. 

It's actually quite a simple set-up, using repurposed brass taps and a large, round, plastic water harvesting tank. It just goes to show that you don't have to go for fussy designs to make a statement.

Surrounded by lush planting in a pared-back tonal scheme of green and white, the space has a calming yet modern vibe. You could also pair it with an elegant rill for part of your patio ideas – a sophisticated way to divide different zones.

5. Mirror your planting

fountain in modern pond with gravel

Ornamental grasses make a complementary backdrop to this fountain

(Image credit: Giovanni Santi Laurini/Alamy Stock Photo)

If you've already got a pond in your garden, then adding a fountain is an easy way to give it a lift. And a style like the one above will add vertical interest to the space too.

As far as homemade water feature ideas go, a set-up like this is one of the easiest to do – you just need to buy a pump and fountain kit, pop it in your pond, and plug it in to a nearby outdoor electrical socket. Electrical wires can be disguised by concealing them beneath gravel or plants.

Speaking of plants, we love how these architectural tufts of ornamental grasses mirror the fountain – it results in a beautifully harmonious scene. If you'd like to recreate the look, our guide on how to grow ornamental grasses has lots of useful tips.

6. Choose terracotta for a Mediterranean theme

terracotta water feature

An urn-shaped fountain adds a touch of the Med to this space

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography/Future)

Want to try out some Mediterranean garden ideas to recreate the laid-back vibe of warmer climes? In terms of materials, you can't go far wrong with terracotta – whether that's with oversized containers filled with plants, or an urn-style fountain.

This gently babbling design would look stunning even in a tiny patio space, and the banded appearance adds a pleasingly tactile finish. Surround with silver-foliaged plants, such as fragrant lavender and rosemary, to enhance the theme further.

7. Add character with sculptures

bronze sculptures in pond with fountain

Flamingo sculptures bring the wow factor to this scene

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

To give your fountain ideas for gardens and backyards an extra dose of character, try combining them with a sculpture or two (or in this case, a few). It will create a point of interest for your plot that can be enjoyed all year round – even in the midst of winter when there isn't much else to look at.

These bronze flamingos help to create a jungle-like theme, especially when surrounded with masses of lush, architectural foliage (you can find out how to grow ferns in our guide). However, even a smaller-scaled version can still have impressive results.

8. Go for classical charm

stone water nymph statue fountain

(Image credit: Haddonstone)

For a classical, romantic look, opt for a cast stone figure like this one, which pours a never-ending stream of water from a vessel. 

You could position it to the side of a small pond amongst soft planting, or at the center of a pool for a focal point – wherever it is, it will add plenty of charm to an outdoor space. And, it's old-world vibe will only be enhanced as it weathers over time.

9. Pick an eye-catching color

tap water feature on pink wall

A hot pink fountain adds a sense of fun

(Image credit: Mabo/Alamy Stock Photo)

This bright pink display couldn't be more different from the classical look above, but if you're a fan of vibrant color and modern design, then it could be perfect for your plot.

Even if you're not 100% sold on the hot pink, the style itself would be ideal for a small backyard as it doesn't take up much space. You could always opt for a more neutral palette, or how about some deep and moody tones for a sense of industrial chic? We like how it neatly combines with a raised bed too, allowing the opportunity for a complementary planting scheme to go alongside.

If you're on the lookout for more small garden pond ideas to introduce to your space, then our guide has plenty of lovely designs.

10. Surround your fountain with flowers

blue water fountain in garden

Elevate your flowerbeds with an elegant fountain

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp Photography/Future)

With its pretty turquoise tone and weathered finish, this is a gorgeous style if you're after sophisticated fountain ideas for gardens and backyards. The shallow dish is good for attracting visiting birds too, who will be able to take a drink and wash their wings.

Tucking it amongst a border of billowing blooms softens the look further. It would complement both cottage gardens and more contemporary plots alike.

11. Keep the look minimal

sphere water feature from Cox & Cox

(Image credit: Cox & Cox)

This glass fibre concrete sphere oozes with a cool industrial vibe due to its granite-effect finish and fuss-free design. 

The gentle stream of water softly circulates throughout the feature, and you can be sure that wherever it's positioned, it will offer a sense of serenity. Allow it to take the limelight in the center of a patio, or place one either side of a back door for a smart and orderly look. Then, why not introduce some Zen garden ideas to the surroundings, to boost the feeling of tranquility further?

What should you consider when choosing your garden fountain?

When choosing your garden fountain, you'll first want to check that it matches the overall look of your backyard, so that it blends cohesively into your theme. You'll also need to think about how much space you have available. 'We recommend clients look at as many designs as possible, choosing one that will be both practical and aesthetically pleasing in their garden,' says Tim Redwood of Redwood Stone.

You will also need to think about your budget. Of course, some designs are much more expensive than others, such as large cast stone styles or bespoke features. Some smaller, self-contained designs are more on the affordable side of things, however (and these tend to be easy to maintain, too). Alternatively, if you have an existing pond, you could simply add a fountain and pump mechanism to give it a boost. If you don't have one already, you could even learn how to build a garden pond with our practical guide.

Most water fountains are powered by electricity, so this is another thing to bear in mind when choosing your design (and deciding where to place it). You'll need to ensure there's an outdoor socket within reaching distance or have one professionally installed by an electrician. Of course, you could opt for a solar-powered design instead, but these can be slightly less reliable.

water bowl with fountain from solus decor

(Image credit: Solus Decor)

Can you make a fountain without a pump?

Most fountains will move their water around with the help of an electrical (or solar-powered) pump. But can you make one without one? Well, technically yes, with the help of gravity.

With the right design, water will be drawn downwards to the lowest point, pressure will build, and then it will be pushed back up through a series of tubing (simply put). This was how fountains were made way before electricity was around, and the particular style is sometimes known as 'continuous-flow water fountains'. However, you're much more likely to find pump-powered fountains readily available to buy.

stone water fountain in garden

Most fountains are powered by an electrical pump

(Image credit: Mim Friday/Alamy Stock Photo)

Do garden fountains attract mosquitoes?

Water fountains, features and ponds can encourage all kinds of beneficial insects to your garden, as well as birds. However, unfortunately, they can attract ones that are less desirable too: mosquitoes.

But don't let this put you off, as it's still (and especially – stagnant) water that is the biggest problem when it comes to attracting these bugs. If you switch your water fountain on regularly (especially during hot weather), and give it a good clean now and again, they're much less likely to be a problem.

To deter them further, consider adding some of the best mosquito repellent plants nearby, too.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.