A fountain's job is to move water. In doing so it can create a beautiful water display. There are basically three different types of fountains: one that displays a rising jet of water, one that creates a downward cascade of water and the third being a combination of both. When looking at a fountain's function, there are other things that should be taken into consideration, such as what to do with water over flow in the event of rain, the fountain water source (most garden fountains are closed systems, only needing to be filled once), the type of visual and acoustic display desired and the type of pump to be used.
Main Parts of a Fountain
The most important part of the fountain is the waster reservoir. The water needs to be contained in some kind of water catchments unit, like a pond, pot, plate or any aesthetically pleasing reservoir. The water reservoir should be designed for easy cleaning and have the colour chosen appropriately; brown reservoirs make the water look dirty. The water needs a nozzle to pass through. This determines the water effect. A simple opening can make the water cascade or a small nozzle can spray a fine mist of water into the air. This is the heart of the fountain is the water pump; it can be a dry pump (out of the water) or a submersible pump.
Ancillary Fountain Parts
To ensure the clarity and quality of the water being pumped through the system you need a filtration and water treatment component. If your fountain is small (less than 500 gallons) it may not be necessary to install a filtration system. Using an oxidising treatment regularly will keep the bacteria and algae population down. Lighting can be used to turn your simple garden fountain into an exciting nighttime display. You will also need a water proof junction box that will house the power supply to the pump and filter. An assortment of drains is needed to keep the fountain functioning properly, suction drain to circulate the water, and overflow drain to remove excess water.
Setting the Water in Motion - Simple Jet/Nozzle Fountain with a submersible pump
The water is circulated through the system artificially by using a pump. In the simplest design which is used in most garden fountains, the water reservoir is placed in the desired location. The submersible pump is then installed into the water basin with its power hook up connected to the junction box, outside the water basin. This fountain circulates the water within the basin by pumping the water through the nozzle creating a water spray. The water falls back into the basin and is recirculated through the system.
Setting the Water in Motion - Simple Jet/Nozzle Fountain with a dry mount pump
The pump sits outside the water reservoir, with the suction pipe carrying water from the water basin to the pump, which delivers the water back under pressure to the nozzle located in the water basin. The water is then sprayed through the nozzle, falling back to the water basin. The water is recirculated back to the pump via a drain pipe. The filtration system, electric controls and water treatment are located away from the water.