How to Care for Your Outdoor Water Fountains

fountain careGarden lovers around the world love putting fountains among their flowers, plants, bushes and shrubs. And with the Christmas season upon us in the U.S., many garden lovers may get their very first fountain as a gift this year.Fountains make wonderful gifts year round. They’re beautiful to look at, and fit well with almost any landscape. They’re also quite serene and have a wonderful calming effect. So if you’re getting or giving an outdoor water fountain for a gift this year, here are a few caretaking tips you’ll want to have on hand…

  1. Many outdoor fountains are made of concrete, and concrete expands and contracts in cold weather. If at all possible, you should move your concrete fountain indoors for the winter.
  2. If you’re not able to move it indoors, check it frequently to see if there’s water collecting in it. You should keep it completely dry during the winter months.
  3. If your fountain will stay outdoors throughout the winter, you also need to remove the pump and store it indoors. Fill, wrap, or cover the fountain with blankets, burlap bags, tarp or other protective materials to help shield it from severe cold. Be sure you have the fountain covered entirely for maximum protection.
  4. During warmer months, you’ll want to clean debris – leaves and twigs for example – from your fountain at least once each week. Take particular care to clear any debris from around the pump as well, so it doesn’t clog.
  5. Add a small touch of bleach or special algae removing solution to your fountain regularly, to keep the water clear and prevent residue or algae buildup around the sides. If your fountain is accessible to pets and animals: do not use bleach. Instead, be sure to use an animal friendly cleaner such as Microbe-Lift Fountain Clear.

Following these simple maintenance tips will help keep your outdoor fountains in tip top, beautiful condition for many years to come.

© 2004, Kathy Burns-Millyard. Please Visit where you’ll find articles about a variety of decorating styles, indoor and outdoor decorating ideas, decorating photos and much more!

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15 Comments so far.

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  1. Great tips! Protecting a fountain from the cold is probably the most important part of maintaining a fountain. When it looks like things are warming up you should still exercise caution. Surprise freezes can happen even when the weather has been great for weeks.

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    • Indeed. One hard freeze with water inside and you’re almost guaranteed to have a ruined pump or blown out lines. That’ll cost ya.

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  2. My wife and I have been looking in to decorating more of our garden with fountains or statues. One of the things I am most worried about is maintenance and repair, as these things sit outside all day. Great point on just simply bringing your fountain in during the winter; that is probably something we will do as winter can be pretty harsh here. Thanks for the tips.

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  3. I hadn’t considered that I could move my fountain indoors over the winter. I’m not sure if that is practical, but if I can’t move it then I can try some of your other tips. I think wrapping the fountain in a tarp could go a long way in keeping it in top condition. Thanks for the advice, and I will be sure to take the pump inside as well.

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    • Yep. If it’s not too heavy or permanently installed, then hauling it indoors is one of the easiest way to ensure longevity. No winter weather = no damage every time.

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  4. I have a beautiful fountain in my backyard and I never knew how to clean it. I thought that the burlap bag idea was really helpful for keeping the fountain safe in the winter. I will definitely try that technique this winter—thank you for the advice.

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  5. I have recently bought a few water fountains for my garden and I was kind of stumped about how to take care of them. I really appreciate an article like this that goes over the particulars of the maintenance process as well as providing unique information that most people don’t know about fountains. I never knew that they should be brought inside for the winter, thank you!

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  6. I think that you can care for indoor water fountains as you would outdoor water fountains. It is important to keep them clean and clear of debris. However there will be little to no debris on one that is indoors. Regardless, do be sure to clean them to keep them in good working order.

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    • True. Basic maintenance will be similar, but with indoor units, you don’t have cold temps, sun damage and other weather conditions to worry about.

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  7. I’ve been wanting to get a water feature for my front yard, but I also needed to make sure that I can keep the fountain working properly. I had no idea that concrete fountains should be moved inside during the winter or be kept dry to prevent cracking. I’ll take this into consideration while I’m looking for a water fountain. Thanks for the needed information about caring for an outdoor water feature!

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    • Yep. Proper maintenance is very important. Especially when you consider how much some models cost. If you invest a significant amount of money, you’ll want to take steps to ensure it lasts for many years.

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  8. I have wanted a fountain in our back yard for a long time now. I had no idea that adding a small touch of bleach helps keep algae from growing. I always thought that you had to buy a special chemical that would clean the water. Thanks for the information.

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