A Peaceful Retreat

Transform your garden into a backyard oasis with the soothing sound of flowing water. A fountain can create serenity in even the most hectic home, and it’s the perfect addition to an outdoor retreat during the hot summer months.


1. Copper fountain by Smith and Hawken, $279 at Smith and Hawken (Mill Valley). 415.381.1800, smithandhawken.com

2. Curved Waterwall by Stone Forest, $4,000 at Stone Forest. 888.682.2987, stoneforest.com

3. Solas Fountain by Ceres and Solas, price upon request at Charles Swanson. 888.636.3015, bovstudios.com

4. Flowing Water Series by Ceres and Solas, price upon request at Charles Swanson. 888.636.3015, bovstudios.com

Go Fish?

If you’ve got a large enough waterfall you may want to add goldfish or koi; however, neighborhood explorers like the family cat, raccoons and even skunks may drop by looking for a free lunch. To fend them off, Chris Untermann, owner of San Rafael’s West End Nursery, suggests buying a fountain that has a big enough bowl to support fish life and to keep mammals, who need solid footing to capture their meal, at bay. The best solution is netting over the fountain—although it may not be as visually enticing—or installing a motion-sensitive alarm.

Should fountain water be treated?
“Assuming that fish are not involved, it is not necessary to treat fountain water,” says Untermann. “ That being said, if the water is left untreated or the fountain is not continually cleaned the water will eventually get dirty and algae will grow all over the fountain, and most likely eventually clog the pump. There are special fountain cleaning solutions that are available to help with this problem. A lot of people ask if they can clean their fountains with bleach or chlorine. While both of these work great to clean the water, most all of the fountains that we sell are painted and both of these will eat away at the paint over time, and it is very hard to repaint them. If you have fish in the fountain, make sure to find a solution that doesn’t harm fish or your pets or birds if they drink from the water in the fountain.”