The Importance of Fountains in Japanese Gardens

You will seldom see a Japanese garden that does not feature a water element. Since Japanese water fountains are considered emblematic of physical and spiritual cleansing, they are often positioned at the entrance of buildings or shrines. cpi_80203_1__56032.jpg Since water is the most essential component of any Japanese fountain, the design is usually simple.

Bamboo is a popular material to use for spouts and therefore often incorporated into water fountains. The basin, which tends to be built of stones, receives the water as it trickles down from the bamboo spout. People generally make them look weathered and worn, even when they are new. Natural elements such as plants and rocks are often put in place around a fountain so that it seems more interconnected with nature. To the owner of the fountain, it obviously is more than just attractive decor.

An alternative is to find a stone fountain, set it on a bed of rock, and place live bamboo and pretty stones around it. Eventually moss begins to grow over the stones and cover them, and as that happens the area starts to look more and more like a natural part of the landscape.

If you are lucky enough to have a big plot of open land you can create a water feature that is much more elaborate. Popular water feature additions are a koi pond or any sort of little pool, or even a wandering brook.

However, water does not need to be an actual element in a Japanese water fountain.

Pretty rocks, sand, or gravel are good alternatives to actual water, as they can be used to symbolize the water. The impression of a creek with moving water can also be achieved by placing flat stones very closely together.

The Origins of Modern Wall Fountains

Hundreds of classic Greek texts were translated into Latin under the auspices of the scholarly Pope Nicholas V who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1397 to 1455. Turning the city into the worthy capital of the Christian community was important to him, so he also took steps to beautify it. In 1453 he initiated the repairing of the Aqua Vergine, an ancient Roman aqueduct which had carried clean drinking water into the city from many miles away. Nicholas V also revived the Roman custom of installing lavish fountains, referred to as mostras, to mark the end point of the aqueduct. At his behest, the architect Leon Battista Alberti undertook the building of a wall fountain in the place where the imposing Trevi Fountain now stands. The aqueduct he had reconditioned included changes and extensions which eventually allowed it to supply the necessary water to the Trevi Fountain as well as the famed baroque fountains in the Piazza del Popolo and the Piazza Navona.

Where did Fountains Begin?

A water fountain is an architectural piece that pours water into a basin or jets it high into the air in order to supply drinkable water, as well as for decorative purposes.

Pure practicality was the original purpose of fountains. Cities, towns and villages made use of nearby aqueducts or springs to supply them with drinking water as well as water where they could bathe or wash. Until the late nineteenth, century most water fountains functioned using gravity to allow water to flow or jet into the air, therefore, they needed a source of water such as a reservoir or aqueduct located higher than the fountain. Fountains were an optimal source of water, and also served to adorn living areas and memorialize the artist. The main components used by the Romans to create their fountains were bronze or stone masks, mostly illustrating animals or heroes. During the Middle Ages, Muslim and Moorish garden designers included fountains in their designs to mimic the gardens of paradise. Fountains played a considerable role in the Gardens of Versailles, all part of French King Louis XIV’s desire to exercise his power over nature. To mark the entrance of the restored Roman aqueducts, the Popes of the 17th and 18th centuries commissioned the construction of baroque style fountains in the spot where the aqueducts arrived in the city of Rome

Urban fountains made at the end of the 19th century served only as decorative and celebratory ornaments since indoor plumbing provided the essential drinking water. Gravity was replaced by mechanical pumps in order to enable fountains to bring in clean water and allow for beautiful water displays.

Contemporary fountains are used to adorn public spaces, honor individuals or events, and enrich recreational and entertainment events.

What You Will Need for an Outdoor Water Fountain

A lot of people forget about the need for an electrical socket or water source close by when contemplating where to locate their garden fountain. People sometimes overlook the technical things because they get caught up in the excitement of installing their newest purchase. If you require an extension cord to reach a 120v wall socket, feel free to use one, as conventional power cords are only 12 feet long. A practical place to get water is important since you will need to fill your fountain. It is difficult to move water from one spot to another. If you have given thought to it before installation, having a hose nearby will make the job of filling the fountain much simpler. If you have an specialist on hand, you may want to consider getting a water fountain autofill with a connection to an external water line, as this would be much easier in the long run.

Spruce up Your Garden with the Help of Feng Shui

Incorporating feng shui design into your yard will help circulate its energy into your home and your life.

Do not be concerned if your yard is considered too little for feng shui design, as size is is not especially relevant. It is great to have a huge space to work with, but do not worry if the area is small since you can always introduce feng shui design.

The same tools you employ to incorporate feng shui design into your home can be used in the garden. Your yard's bagua, or energy map, is an extension of your home’s bagua, so it is important to figure out your home’s first.

There are five elements in feng shui theory, and you should understand how to apply each of them to intensify the energy.

The Earth element, for example, should be positioned in the northeast portion of your garden which is linked to the personal growth and self-cultivation energy in feng shui design. A Zen garden with some pretty natural rocks is ideal for that spot, as the rocks epitomize the Earth element.

Anyone thinking about incorporating a water feature into their garden should place it in one of these feng shui areas: North (career & path in life), Southeast (money and abundance), or East (health & family).

Multi-Tiered Water Features for your Backyard

Fountains with more than one tier are very easy to find, and common above all in gardens. You can see many of these fountains in Italy, Spain, and other Southern European countries. While they can be seen anywhere, they are most common in the center of building complexes and in popular areas where people get together.

Tiered fountains come in a wide range of designs, from elaborately carved styles to relatively simple types.

Traditional or classic surroundings are ideal places for them. The fountain should blend right into the surroundings as if it has been there since the beginning.


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