Recommend me a loud freestanding backyard fountain.
May 2, 2015 7:13 PM   Subscribe

It's springtime, I've hung my hammock, and I'm considering getting a backyard fountain to add some white noise to help drown out the sound of cars from the busy two lane street that runs in front of my house.

Do you have a noisy backyard fountain you like? Features I should be looking for? A warning about the type of fountain I should avoid? Or thoughts on why it'd be a great idea to buy components and build my own?

My brief research on the internet so far suggests that ad copy for fountains doesn't say much about how loud they are, so I'm looking for recommendations.

NB: I don't care if it lights up (prefer if it doesn't, really), and while I like birds, this fountain doesn't need to be a water source for them. Also, ideally it will sit high enough for my dogs to not drink all the water out of it.
posted by deludingmyself to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a wall? Because if you do you could build your own against it. What you need are 2-3 shelves (smaller one at the top, then bigger and biggest) for the water to cascade down, and then a little pool at the base for the water to collect in, and a pump to recirculate the water back up again. It helps if the wall is concrete because the water won't damage it. We built one last year and are building another this year, using natural stone. The one we're building now will have shelves made out of large flat rocks used for stepping stones. We chiseled them to the right shape. The collecting pool will have pond liner and river rocks. There are good books on how to build fountains and ponds, though they tend to be overkill. And also, stores specializing in acquatic supplies or ponds will have knowledgeable sales people.
posted by zagyzebra at 7:46 PM on May 2, 2015

Make sure the water falls and doesn't slide. A longer fall seems to be better. The best outdoor foundations that I've seen are type with two bowls like this one.
Having experimented with desktop fountains, it seems like designs that let the waters pool at little and then spill are noisier.
posted by metahawk at 7:48 PM on May 2, 2015

You might explore pondless fountains and waterfalls. They'll have the noise, but without the dog-drinking issue and some of the maintenance associated with ponds and fountain pools (although where there's water there will be maintenance).

Sounds like you're open to some DIY - there are several kits on the market that can be cribbed pretty easily. Rock yards (aka hardscape centers) will likely have some good advice.

All you really need is a submersible pump with a fountain (spray pattern) attachment, a shovel, a liner, and some rocks. If you want to keep it above ground, you trade the shovel for some more rocks. Basically you dig (or build up) a basin, lay down the liner, fill it with enough water to cover the pump, and cover everything except the fountain nozzle with rocks. Of course, you can get as elaborate as your budget and imagination allow. This approach would have the advantage that you can configure it yourself to maximize the noise level. You'd come out cheaper too.

I wonder what's louder: water hitting rocks or water hitting water? Probably depends more on the amount of water circulating and in what pattern.
posted by GPF at 9:07 PM on May 2, 2015

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