Our New Small Antique Millstone Fountain | Photo taken by Eric Swanson
Yes, spring is near, but winter still has it’s hold.
I’m already daydreaming of sprouts emerging in my edible garden, of my crabapple trees budding and blooming, and of turning my Stone Forest fountain back on to hear that soothing sound of water streaming over it’s smooth stone surface.
Many of our clients who inquire about our fountain and basin collections ask us “what does it sound like?” or “how loud is it?”. These are tricky questions to answer, since there are many factors that contribute to the sound that your fountain will create.
1. Size & Shape | Are you looking at one of our Ishi Basins? Sure, this is our smallest fountain, but when it is set up with a trickling bamboo spout that stands 10″ above the piece, the thin stream of water hits the inner pool creating a concentrated waterfall that gives out a deeper-toned splashing noise. Using a bamboo spout over a basin is based on traditional Japanese tea garden design, and can be used with any of our basins. As the size of the “pool” in the basin gets larger, the tone of the falling water deepens too.
Because of their tall, columnar shapes, one of our Basalt Column or Natural Boulder Fountains has water that bubbles from the top/center of the piece and clings to its sides as it falls to the bottom and drops down into the underground reservoir for recirculation. Although they still create wonderful sound, it tends to be a little more subtle because the movement is gentle and gradual over the stone’s sides.
In contrast, our Natural Millstone or Sky Mirror Fountains have a large surface area and elevated tops, so the water is moving with a greater amount of motion overall, as well as dropping a farther distance down into the reservoir. Noise is created when the water hits the surface of the pool underground. Our stunning Curved Waterwall also boasts great noise because the water flows over the entire 6-foot long surface, and simultaneously falls in one long sheet of droplets into the reservoir below.
2. Pump Size & Flow | Our submersible pumps push a certain number of gallons per hour (or gph). We match our various pump sizes with the stone piece based on overall height and dimensions to allow for proper flow. Should you desire more/higher flow, you can always bump the pump size up a notch. You can also play with the way the water flow appears, like a higher “geyser” coming off the top (as seen in the Natural Millstone Fountain video below), or an almost still, “glassy” look (as seen in this image of our Water Table Fountain). Moving water is easily slowed or “glassed” down by setting some of the surrounding beach pebbles into the “pool” of the fountain. This is the easiest (and most fun!) way to play with the water level that emerges out of the top. You can also pull or push the flexible garden hosing out of the hole in the top of the fountain. This will encourage more flow, or restrict it.
3. Environment | Where will your fountain live? Will you place it in your backyard, or a quiet courtyard? Do you live near a street with heavy traffic? Is it for indoor use? These questions also apply directly to the level of sound that you will hear from your fountain. If the piece is indoors, or is near a wall, the sound tends to bounce off of these surrounding surfaces and seem louder or more present. If your fountain is placed in a front yard on a busy street, traffic might occasionally drown out the sound of the water. This is something to keep in mind when selecting the piece, aside from the usual question of design & aesthetic.
In response to your inquiries, we decided to take videos of a few of our most popular outdoor fountains in action. The third video is a good example of the sound created with the bamboo spout, as discussed earlier. Hit the “play” button on each below to view them:
So as you daydream of your emerging spring spaces, try to imagine the calming sound of water alongside your blooming plant life, outdoor patio, front entryway, or any other space calling for a more alluring atmosphere. Not to mention the drinking, bathing, and fluttering birds you’ll attract!