Fountains – Home and Garden Decor to Enhance Any Space

Fountains are no doubt one of the best additions to any garden. The sound of rushing water perfectly complements the green foliage, and the intricate stone designs make it a great focal point. But garden fountains are more than a lawn ornament–they also represent a source of sustenance for your plants. Whether you have a small patio or a sprawling backyard, a well-placed fountain can certainly liven up your outdoor space.

HISTORY OF FOUNTAINS

As with most ornamental pieces, fountains started out strictly functional. They were first used in the Middle East, where the weather was hot and the water provided relief from the heat. Most of them were simple, surrounded by trees and built in royal courtyards. The Romans also experimented with outdoor water features, building their gardens adjacent to public baths. They were mostly used for bathing rituals, which were a vital part of their culture.
Ornamental garden fountains first appeared in ancient Mesopotamia, but it was only in the late medieval period that they were used in domestic settings. Garden fountains were used in Spain before the 15th century and in Italy some years later. It took yet another century for home fountains to reach American shores, and by the early 20th century fountains were a common fixture not only in home gardens but also in offices, hotel lobbies and shopping malls.

FOUNTAIN DESIGNS

Fountains come in several styles, but only a few are suitable for the typical home garden. Some of the most common are wall, pond, and tabletop.
Wall fountains have a basin-like base and a relatively low spray. They are so called because they are attached to a water source coming from the wall. As such, they don’t take up a lot of space and are perfect for small home gardens.
If you have a larger space, you may want to consider a pond fountain. These can be literally as big as a pond, but there are smaller versions available for garden and even indoor use. Pond fountains are usually wired and programmed with lighting and spray patterns.
Some gardens are simply too small to accommodate water features. If this is your case, you can go for a smaller tabletop fountain. As their name suggests, tabletop fountains are placed on top of tables, usually as centerpieces. They are usually electrically powered and fairly simple to set up.

MATERIALS

Concrete and ceramic are considered the best materials for garden fountains. You can choose from all sorts of shapes, from simple rectangular blocks to intricate stone sculptures. Many are given a sandstone or soapstone finish, which gives them a more interesting texture. Marble is also very attractive, but it’s a lot more expensive and is not practical for medium to large fountains.
Wood, copper and porcelain make great tabletop fountains. Needless to say, they won’t hold up well in full size, but a well-made (and well-placed) miniature would have just the same effect. To add interest, try adding interesting lights or bonsai features.
If it’s just the look you’re after, try fiberglass. Fiberglass fountains have become more popular in recent years because of their weather resistance and flexibility in design. They can be made to look like wood, stone, marble and glass–while maintaining constant structural integrity. So if you’ve always wanted a wood fixture but don’t want the maintenance fuss, fiberglass fountains are the perfect solution.

BUYING TIPS

One of your top considerations should be water and power consumption. There have been questions on whether ornamental fountains should be restricted, as they are an unnecessary waste of water supply. Even those that are labeled environmentally friendly will still use up water and electricity. Choosing a simple watering system will not only minimize this, but also cut down on your operating costs. Besides, it’s often the sculpture and workmanship–not the water–that grabs people’s attention.

Also consider installation and maintenance costs. Installation shouldn’t be a problem with most store-bought fountains, but keeping them running is another story. Be sure to clean your fountain routinely, and pat attention to the pump intake area to keep it free of debris.
You can buy fountains ready for installation at most garden supply stores. In most cases, all you’ll need is an extension cord and enough space for the fountain and water source. But if you want something that truly suits your personality, consider having it custom-made. Look for a contractor that specializes in outdoor and water features, and have at least a rough design in mind during your consultation.

Tips to Get Some Peace and Tranquility in the Home and Garden

In this day of ever burgeoning technical machines and the like, people still want to enjoy nature when they have some down time. Even if the family cannot get away to see the full effects of nature, we can still enjoy it by utilizing the garden or backyard to relax and breathe a little. Whenever we want to decorate those backyard gardens, we often look to bird houses or even water fountains to enhance the look and sound of the place and to enable us to get a little taste of nature at its best.

There are many different styles on offer which range from the countrified look to those sleek and modern ones that fit so well in the really high tech home. But for the garden in particular, rustic looking benches or niches offer a lovely way to fit in with nature rather than contrast it.

Springs or cascades help in that they give off a lovely tinkling sound which some people find extremely peaceful. They also attract some smaller forms of wildlife to use the garden too and many an hour can be spent observing their behavior. Squirrels and all forms of winged creatures just love to have their bath on hand whenever they visit the garden and this also offers some great photographic opportunities for those who are interested.

Even within the home, Zen like structures, which can be placed in corners or on tables, offer the same tinkling experience for those who like to meditate or just have a quiet read. Some have living trees incorporated and give the amateur enthusiast a chance to try out Bonsai trimming and such.

Sound seems to play an integral part in the minds of some people when they want to relax and restore their energy. Wind chimes are another way to ensure that the lovely tinkling sound is carried throughout the room or on the deck outside. These come in so many designs from the hollowed out bamboo styles to the glass or metal varieties. All have their own particular sound but some people collect many and have them all over the house for a good effect.

They can also include animals too, like humming birds or dragonflies which really enhance the surroundings that they are set in. Indeed, frogs also have their place in nature and some people are crazy about these little creatures, to the point of having different forms of architecture or knick knacks depicting them all over the place. Of course, it is all down to personal taste since some people just love hedgehogs!

What many families do is to have a common theme running through the home and out into the garden. This produces a lovely cohesive look to the whole place and it becomes a haven for the family to treasure and relax in away from the stresses of the world. A collection of different animal sculptures can be used for the corners of the house or for those hidden places in the garden and children love this since they never know what they are going to see around the next corner.

Travertine Tiles For Home And Garden Decor

Travertine is one of the most famous stone products for use both in the home and in the garden or yard. This classic Roman stone has been utilized for construction and tiling for thousands of years. Indeed, the Coliseum in Rome is in fact composed almost entirely of travertine not marble as many people think. Travertine is a sedimentary rock that was formed by the evaporation of water in pools of hot springs. When the water evaporated it left behind layers of minerals and these minerals are what give the stone its beautiful shades. The main hues of travertine tiles range from soft browns to dark mahogany and fiery red. Many accenting colors can be found in each tile depending on the addition of different minerals during the formation process.

Travertine tiles are used for many purposes in the home. The stone makes a very wonderful flooring and is quite common in foyers. When used on the floor the tiles require a seal coat so as to shield against staining. As the rock is sedimentary it generally has small pores and air pockets which permit the staining material into the structure if the surface is not closed. These stains are almost impossible to remove to keeping up on the sealer every few years is very important. The surface on these floor tiles will wear well as these are rather hard and tough. Other common uses in the house include as countertops or worktops and back splashes as well as trim and accent pieces. If the tiles are applied to the wall, which works well because they are so much lighter than marble, then they are not required to be sealed. But you definitely will want to use filled tiles on the counter or work top. A filled tile, like its name suggests, has all the holes and voids filled with a material that matches the color of the tile. This stops bits of food from being trapped in the face and causing a health problem. Another quite nice use is to tile throughout the bathroom.

A travertine tile shower gives you the very stylish look of an old world Roman bath. Again a sealer will be required if the cut tiles are placed on the floor or shower walls. In the garden, Travertine paving stones are quite famous as backyard floors as well as pavers throughout the garden to maintain ones feet dry. Being made of stone the pavers will be fine, but they do require to be covered from moisture in areas with cold weather because if the water filters in and then freezes, it can break the tiles. If you are planning a renovating or remodeling project Travertine tiles are worth your attention.

Landscape Designs – Home And Garden Ideas

Landscape designs can be planned out in a variety of different ways, and there is no right or wrong way to design your own. It’s all about your visions of that perfect view. You don’t have to be a professional landscape designer to get the perfect look. Go ahead take a chance and be as creative as you wish with your design, incorporating many ideas into the final product.

With a little planning and a lot of creativity your visions of a beautiful landscape can be achieved.

The one thing that you want to remember is to make sure that you lay out the design of your landscape before breaking ground. To save yourself more unwanted work it would be best to draw the design out on paper first. Doing this will save yourself time and heartache by ripping out and rearranging your landscaping ideas. Don’t worry if you aren’t an artist, a rough sketch will do the trick.

When you are planning your new front or backyard the main thing that you want to do is make sure that all of the plants, shrubs, or trees you are planning on using compliment each other. You wouldn’t want your newly constructed landscape to look like a big collection of mismatched creations. You also wouldn’t want to decrease the value of your property when you are finished. The idea is to add value to your home, and make it more inviting to your visitors.

An important factor to great landscape designs is finding something that catches everyone’s attention, which will become the focal point in your design. You may want something that is extraordinary or maybe something simple, but ultimately eye catching. Choose something that gives your garden or landscape a warm and inviting feel for all those who grace it. A couple good examples are an arbor or large planter.

An important part of your landscape is accessibility and functionality. Keep in mind your intent for the space while you are designing that new look. If you’re someone who utilizes that particular space often for family gatherings, then you will want to keep the space open and comfortable for your guests. If the space you are creating is used for a peaceful getaway, then your design should include less space with more soothing features such as plants and flowers.

Another great way to bring peacefulness and attention to your space is to add water gardens or ponds. If you are wishing to install one of these magnificent eye catchers, you should shop around and find the best idea and products that fit your situation. There are many resources written on this subject, and also plenty of places and professionals to help you chose the best product for your design. Keep in mind that there may be more maintenance with this, depending on how you proceed with it.

There are some other excellent places to find even more great ideas. Browsing in a magazine, books, or on the internet are terrific places to start. You can also look at other landscaped designs to help you come up with that perfect layout you are searching for. You may want to take pictures of different designs throughout your community and incorporate your favorite looks into one magnificent design. Talk to your neighbors if they have something in their yard that you envy.

If you are planning on designing and constructing the landscape yourself remember to leave yourself time for creativity. You will undoubtedly think of things to add when you are partially through the project. By taking the extra time you will make your home into a place that you can enjoy, and show with extra pride knowing that you created it yourself. The last thing you want to think when you are finished is that you wish you could’ve added something else.