Gardening Water gardens

Instant Floating Solar Fountain

Floating solar fountain. Photo: http://www.greenercountry.com

If you’ve always wanted a fountain in your garden, but figured you had neither the space nor the means, think again. There is a new generation of fountains running on integrated solar panels, therefore requiring no writing or electricity to install or hide. You can set yours up in just a minute and in any basin of water.

Three free-floating fountains in a water garden. Photo: smartsolarfountin.com

These fountains float on any source of water you want: a garden pool, a bird bath, even a bucket or basin of water you set on your deck. They come with changeable fountain heads for different spray heights and effects. Just set them in water on a sunny day and off they go. The better ones will work on cloudy days too!

Most come with an “anchor,” a sort of suction cup you with a cord so you can fix it to the bottom of your chosen basin and limit its movement. Otherwise, it will wander about as winds and currents push it. 

Splashing water attracts birds. Photo: http://www.nestneed.com

The sound of water splashing is a good way to attract birds to your garden, but just remember that birds need shallow water to bathe in, so you may want to add rocks to your basin so they’ll be able to take a shower.

And these fountains aren’t expensive. I’ve been seeing them in the $12 to $55 US range. The difference in price is often linked to whether the pump has a “battery backup” that will allow it to function on cloudy days and whether it has blocking and dry run protection (so it automatically turns off, thus preventing burn out, when the pump is blocked by a leaf or other debris or if the basin dries out).

Simple to install, simple to use. Photo: skytrendy.com

Are there any downsides to these fountains? Sure! They splash and splashing water is hard to control, especially in windy weather. So, don’t place yours near anything you want to keep dry.

Also, they will need sun and the more, the better. Don’t expect much of a show in shady areas!

Finally, keep that basin reasonably filled with water. The spraying effect means lots of water is lost to evaporation and has to be replaced. 

But an instant fountain you can actually afford: I think that’s pretty cool!

Look for one on Amazon and from other mail-order sources if not a local store specializing in water garden supplies.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

5 comments on “Instant Floating Solar Fountain

  1. I have one, and it works quite well.

  2. Patricia Evans

    I got one for Christmas but haven’t set it up yet. I’m not very good about remembering to refill the bird bath, so it may not last long here.

  3. What a good idea! I have always wanted the sound of running water in my garden!

  4. These things are rad. I have no use for fountains, so did not want to put a lot of work into installing one. These were a fair compromise. Because they are so inexpensive, I do not mind replacing them every few years.

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