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Planting In and Around Your Outdoor Fountain

Posted by Doug Gardner on

Infinity Bubbler Fountain

Okay, so you've taken the step of installing (or planning to install) an outdoor water fountain in your home, business or community garden. Check. Don’t forget to consider that you can add additional warmth and style to the fountain by adding plants. Sometimes fountains need this extra feature to add interest and soften the lines; this is especially true of smaller, simpler fountains. Sometimes plants are a necessary part of the ecosystem you are creating. It helps to think in terms of each plant having a purpose, such as adding color, providing shade or protection to fish, or discouraging the growth of algae.


  • Adding color or height: Cardinal flower, marsh marigold and cattail would be a great addition to the border of your outdoor garden fountain. Ornamental grasses and wildflowers can also create a beautiful mix of height and color, while covering up a fountain pump that stands out like a sore thumb. Medium to large shrubs like hydrangea or viburnum add a vibrant backdrop as well. Be sure you are utilizing native plants whenever you can. Consider putting some of the more weather sensitive plants in pots, so you can bring them in during inclement weather. 


  • Algae-fighting plants: One of the most important things to know when adding plants in your water fountain is that there is such a thing as too many plants. Many experts will tell you to keep that ratio right around or just below 40% plants (unless you want to cultivate a green, boggy mess). Add Iris or Sweet Flag to add structure and elevation while also battling algae. Our much loved water lilies…not a good pick for this purpose.


For indoor fountains, it’s super simple to add a few potted plants on each side of the fountain. This simple addition goes a long way in terms of brightening your focal fountain piece(s). When you add plants to your fountain, whether indoor or outdoor, one of the most important things to remember is that the fountain is the star. All additional accents should highlight the fountain without drawing attention away from it.