“Did you see the Fountain of Youth?” I ask Jessica, the
graduate student living with us. She is freshly back from a day
trip to St. Augustine, Fla., our country’s oldest city and home
to Ponce de Leon’s famous water feature.
Fountains are on my mind these days because our new landscape
plan calls for one to go on — and draw attention from — the
25-foot stucco garage wall that borders one side of the yard.
“I am also counting on this fountain’s powers of
recuperation, restoration and rejuvenation,” I tell my husband,
“It’s a fountain, not a day spa,” DC says.
A few days later, I’m standing on a five-acre lot surrounded
by dozens of fountains at Distinctive Statuary, an Orlando-based,
family-owned business that started in 1962. Jason Bechstein, the
founder’s grandson, and Tony Evans, our landscape designer, are
along to make sure I don’t choose something stupid. It’s a
As we look, I realize that what I thought would be an easy,
20-minute task, won’t be. Choosing a fountain is one of those
decisions I can overthink to the point of purchase paralysis. An
hour later, I have taken a deep dive into the Fountain of
“I’m not finding exactly what I want, but I am finding what
I don’t want,” I tell Tony. “This one looks like a sink. This
one belongs in a theme park. This one’s too Aztec-y for my
colonial style home. This one looks like a wedding cake. This one
is too big, too small, too fat, too tall, too gaudy, too
Tony excuses himself for another appointment, while I keep
shopping the lot. Two hours later, because acres of fountains
aren’t enough, I’m in the sales office looking at catalogs.
Ultimately, I narrow my search to three on the lot and three in the
catalog. I take pictures on my phone and bring them home to show DC
and visualize them in my yard.
And finally, I pick one that features water coming out of the
mouth of Nereus, a Greek god of the sea. I place the order and
await … transformation.
Yard fountains are lovely to sit by, look at and listen to. They
cool the senses, charm the soul and, yes, rejuvenate, if not your
body, definitely your spirit. I think that’s what Ponce de Leon
found, too. If you have a place in your yard for a fountain,
here’s what Jason Bechstein says to consider:
Find your style – First decide if you want a freestanding or
wall fountain. Bechstein sells four freestanding fountains for
every one wall fountain. Then look for a fountain that goes with
your architecture. Much as you love that French Versailles inspired
fountain, it won’t go in a Hacienda-style home.
Size up your space – Scale is one of the hardest factors to
get right. Fountains that look tiny on the lot or large in a
catalog can appear just the opposite in your yard. Tape off and
measure where you want your fountain, then rule out any that
don’t fit the plan.
Contrast your colors – Most fountains and statuary come in
many colors. Consider bringing sample chips home to make sure the
color you thought was terracotta doesn’t read pink in your yard.
“The biggest mistake people make is picking a color that blends
with the background,” Bechstein says. “They miss the point of a
feature fountain. You want contrast.” I favor natural concrete,
without added color, and like it even more as it weathers.
Get a sound check – Though most fountains on the lot we
visited were dry, Bechstein helped me imagine what they would sound
like running. In general, the more tiers a fountain has and the
longer the drop, the bigger its sound. Fountains that cascade make
more sound than those that trickle, or have water coming out
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Clean with care – Anyone investing in a fountain needs to
know they need regular maintenance. Don’t use bleach or chorine
to clean them, or you’ll ruin the equipment and likely void the
warranty. This often happens when a pool service handles fountain
care. Use an algicide designed to treat and clean fountains
Factor in installation – Add to the cost of the fountain
delivery and installation. You will need a dedicated waterline.
Installers will connect the fountain to the waterline, prepare a
concrete slab base for the fountain to sit on and balance it so the
water is level and the pump runs properly. To feature your fountain
at night, illuminate it with well-placed lights.
Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
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