A stone fountain adds interest to a gravel path through planting beds.
In this garden, lady's-mantle with chartreuse blooms surrounds the fountain, while cape fuchsia (Phygelius) with orange-pink flowers spills into the path.
7 of 31Thomas J. Story
Stylish noise muffler
This garden is about two blocks from a freeway, but the owners hardly notice the sound thanks to their burbling fountain.
8 of 31Steven Gunther
Urn of stone
Water spills from an antique French stone urn into a rectangular pool and a narrow, 18-inch-deep channel in this San Clemente, Calif., garden. A pump recirculates the water.
The design, a joint effort of Larry Steinle, a Laguna Beach landscape architect, and Lew Whitney, chairman of Roger's Gardens in Corona del Mar, is the focal point of a garden corner that invites quiet contemplation. Scented geraniums and other foliage plants grow nearby.
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A tiled fountain pool surrounded with foliage is just big enough to make a splash in this tiny space.
This glazed blue oil-jar fountain sits on a tile-covered concrete pedestal framed by a 20-inch-deep pool in Hollywood, Calif.
A submersible, recirculating pump housed within the pedestal pushes water through a galvanized pipe, which fits through a hole in the jar's bottom; the water then trickles over the jar's rim into the 3 1/2-foot-square, concrete-lined pool.
This rough-textured pot would look as appropriate in an ancient village square in Italy, Greece, or Spain as it does in this garden owned by Robert and Carolyn Volk of San Marino, Calif.
Water recirculates through a pump placed in a fiberglass pond liner beneath the pot; stones cover the liner. The pot is from Al's Garden Art in South El Monte, California. Design by Mark Bartos, BEM Design Group, South
12 of 31Thomas J. Story
Heath ceramic tile and a green stucco wall mingle with a Cor-ten steel fountain and recycled-wood fencing in this eco-minded house in San Francisco.
Well chosen accent pieces can help turn a tiny urban garden into a tranquil space. Here, a fountain acts as a visual transition between two areas of the yard. Its spherical shape is echoed by a trio of orbs on the deck.
A two-level fountain adds a lively splash to the shady part of this Denver backyard. Water spouts from the mouth of a cast-stone ram's head into a shell-like bowl before spilling into the crescent-shaped basin below.
The fountain appears to extend from a 6-foot-tall dry-stacked stone wall. Actually, the stone is an artful façade that covers a conventional brick wall just behind.
Rustic fountains help make Mediterranean-style plantings look at home among California's golden hills. Because water is a precious resource, using it respectfully in the garden is a tradition. Something lavish would have been out of character in this drought-tolerant landscape.
17 of 31Thomas J. Story
Scotts Valley, California: South of the border
Against a rustic stucco wall, water trickles out of scalloped bowls into a colorful blue fountain bedecked with blazing bougainvillea.
Although it seems like a scene from a remote Mexican village, this 430-square-foot townhouse garden is actually located at the base of the mountains west of Silicon Valley.
This fountain in a small front yard was designed to be enjoyed from the porch. "We love being out in the garden," says owner Marie De Lorenzo of Venice, Calif., "But looking out at it from indoors is almost as good."
19 of 31Steven Gunther
A fountain without water
Water used to spill from the conch shell on this cherub's shoulders, splashing into the giant clamshell beneath his feet.
But when Bill Anderson inherited the fountain and moved it to his home in Newport Beach, he and his wife, Dana, decided against the expense of added plumbing. Instead Dana planted a cascade.
The main spiller is white-flowered bacopa. The froth under the cherub's toes is campanula and Alpine strawberries.
20 of 31Steven Gunther
Water spills from a turquoise Bauer oil jar. The glass balls are Japanese fishing-net floats.
A handmade fountain is just one of the details that make this forested hillside garden such an experience.
Everywhere you turn there's something new to see, and as you wander beneath the lush tree canopy, you can hear the soothing sound of water running through creeks and cascading in fountains and waterfalls.
Design: John Pruden, Portland International Garden & Design, St. Helens, OR (503/780-3687)
23 of 31Claire Curran
Water is an essential element of a garden, says designer Maria del Carmen Calvo. "I've created a garden where I'm never far from its sound," she says.
Though Calvo's garden is not large, she has included seven fountains, most of her own design. Here, pots of purple fountain grass flank a gate leading to a cherub fountain in a charming outdoor room.
24 of 31Thomas J. Story
A butterfly-friendly fountain
Multitiered raised beds and house walls protect this courtyard from breezes. The fountain in the center provides butterflies with a necessary supply of water. (After spilling down the column, it moistens the rocks below before disappearing underground; siphoning water from a puddle beneath wet rocks is a butterfly's preferred way to drink.)