Fans of fountains tend to be devout in their love of the grand, water-cycling wonders that are known for turning paltry backyards into proper gardens and oases. Dating as far back as 3000 B.C., fountains were mainstays of ancient Greece and Rome. In the 15th Century, Italy unveiled the first mechanically-operated fountain, catapulting the antique garden fountain from mere alfresco decoration to garden centerpiece.
Antique water fountains pack a plethora of benefits. Key among them? Their tranquility-inducing effects. Aquatic anxiety reducers, so to speak, fountains are coveted for their calming sound effects, which can range from babbling brook to oceanic rumble. Unlike other gardenal bodies of water (namely ponds and swimming pools), antique garden fountains keep water in continual motion, which prevents insects like mosquitoes from taking up permanent residence.
Antique water fountains will add gravitas to any outdoor space, whether that be a courtyard, entryway, or patio, Circular driveways—usually one of the most nondescript areas of the home—can score a major stylistic boost with the addition of a used antique fountain. Because fountains trend more formal than other garden architectural elements, it’s common to see antique outdoor fountains holding court in manicured, English-style gardens. Don’t be fooled; however. A used outdoor fountain can be equally extraordinary in an unkempt garden filled with fruit trees and scented vines, or even a contemporary gravel garden.
If you’re on the hunt for a used outdoor fountain, it’s worth measuring your intended location, as it can be easy to under or overscale.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON TYPES OF ANTIQUE FOUNTAINS?
Antiques and used water fountains come in near-limitless styles, but there are a few forms that maintain the majority of the llme light. Don’t consider this an end-all guide to used water fountains for sale, but an elementary guide.
Those on the hunt for a used fountain to fill an exceptionally spacious backyard are likely to consider a free-standing fountain. The undisputed archetypal of fountains, free-standing fountains typically consist of a tiered waterfall structure attached to a bottom basin or pool. The pool acts as a holding tank for water, which is pumped to the top of the tiered structure by way of mechanical-operated pumps.
Among free-standing fountains, Andalusia fountains are perhaps the best-known subset. Taking their name from the dreamy Andalucia region of southern Spain, Andalusia fountains are typically fashioned from cast stone (although not a requirement), and feature a shapely tiered structure that rests within a wide, rimmed basin. Often, basins will assume the shape of a quatrefoil or other similar shape.
If you’re dreaming of the life aquatic, but don’t have the square footage to go all-out water world, a wall fountain can make an excellent pinch-hitter. Wall fountains typically consist of a decorative backplate that screws into a wall and sports a spout for spitting water. The bottom of the feature is typically a deep-sided semi-circle basin which rests on the ground. Marvelously compact and elegantly refined, these used outdoor fountains are ideal for bringing character to oft-forgotten corners of the yard. Side yards, especially, take on an air of Secret Garden clandestine with the addition of a trickling wall fountain.
To be clear, birdbaths are not exclusively for the birds, but rather anyone seeking a low-maintenance fountain that strikes an ultra-charming chord. Delightfully low-tech, birdbaths generally consist of a shallow basin hoisted atop a pedestal or column base. Some feature a center island that trickles water but more often they forgo a pump mechanism altogether. Designed to be more garden filler than top biller, bird bath fountains are perfect for accenting an out-of-the-way nook or providing balance to ornamental planters.
WHAT MATERIALS ARE ANTIQUE FOUNTAINS MADE OF?
With a dreamy, creamy white finish that conjures up the world’s most famous fountain, the Trevi Fountain in Rome, limestone is a stunning choice for any home fountain. Worth noting is that the Trevi Fountain is actually constructed of travertine. While visually similar, limestone is denser and therefore a bit more durable than travertine. Still, limestone is a bit soft and porous. On the upside, this makes limestone easy to carve, resulting in visually spectacular fountains. On the downside, it makes limestone more perceptible to the cracking effects of freezing and thawing.
Limestone is also a bit finicky when it comes to maintenance and upkeep. Since the stone can be easily eroded, it needs to be maintained with specific stone-only cleaning products.
Ceramic /Tile Those who covet the look of Moroccan or Spanish fountains should consider a fountain crafted of ceramic or tile. Because fountains can easily be constructed of any tile on the market, ceramic tile fountains tend to be the most colorful fountain options. Wall fountains can provide one of the best vehicles for ceramic tile, as the backplate can showcase a wide expanse of tile. If you’re looking for less of a showpiece for your garden, ceramic fountains fashioned from ceramic pottery or urns are also available.
Cast Iron If you’re shopping use outdoor fountains for sale you’re almost certain to run across cast iron fountains. Like outdoor patio furniture, iron is a favored medium for fountains because of its malleability that allows it to be molded into virtually any shape. If a stone fountain;’ weight intimidates you, a cast iron fountain can be a choice alternative. It has a similar appearance and texture to stone but weighs dramatically less.
USED FOUNTAIN MOTIFS
Because of their antiquated origins, antique fountains motifs have a distinctly old-world feel. In addition to geometric motifs borrowed from parts of the globe as far-flung Europe, the Middle Eastern, and Latin America, fountains feature a docket of Neoclassical-inspired motifs, such as cherubs, gods, and goddesses. Urns and scrollwork are also common. On the more contemporary side of the spectrum, traditional 20th Century garden motifs like birds, shells, and lion heads are common fountain features.