Pleasure isn't complicated. Omar Khayyám celebrated that fact in The Rubáiyát in his famous lines: "A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread - and Thou / Beside me singing in the Wilderness." Softly burbling fountains, which bring so much pleasure to gardens, need not look complicated, either.
Tons of boulders, miles of pipes, and truckloads of statuary are not necessary to create a beautiful fountain for a patio or courtyard. The timeless fountains pictured here all can be reduced to a few elements - a great pot, a pump, some pipe, and a spout to splash the water back into a reservoir. Their look is simple but elegant.
Oil jar classic
This glazed blue oil-jar fountain sits on a tile-covered concrete pedestal framed by a 20-inch-deep pool in the Hollywood, California, garden of Laura Smith and Michael Doret. 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. A rubber gasket and galvanized washer and nut hold the pipe in place and seal the hole. The pump runs on standard household current (120 volts) with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet for safety.
DESIGN: Frank Perrino, Woodland Hills, CA, and Laura Smith, Hollywood. Jar from Gladding, McBean (916/645-3341, ext. 202). Tiles from Los Angeles-based California Pottery and Tile Works (323/235-4151).