If you’re home in Larchmont this August with no tickets to Europe, you can still get a snapshot of you in front of a fanciful fountain. It won’t be Trevi, but you can transform your patio, yard, or deck into a beautiful destination by adding a garden fountain.
Do it in one day, or for a slightly more established look, three days, tops.
August is one of the best times to purchase. Garden centers are starting sales and may be open to discounts even if there are no current promotions. And right now, Tony’s Nurseries and Larchmont Nurseries are offering special prices for Gazette readers (see below).
The payback is long term. “Outdoor fountains add financial value, absolutely,” observes Ellie Ohebshalom, of Houlihan Lawrence, a broker with fourteen years experience in the area. “Fountains take the landscape to a higher level, and especially when we’re talking about resale, the house becomes more charming and more desirable.”
If you get started now, you’ll get immediate returns this year, since your fountain can run into October.
Choose a location that will give you a regular lift: as part of a driveway contour, nestled along a frequented path, or as I did, centered on my ranch house’s concrete backyard patio.
In The Mood For
Then consider the style, mood, and price you’re looking for. Do you want it focal or camouflaged? Modern or traditional? In tones of creamy, rust, or verdigris? How many tiers, how much splash? Solar (requires direct sun) or electric? Fiberglass or concrete (cover in winter)? Many fountains have a flat back, ideal for mounting against the house near a pre-existing electrical outlet.
On the Wing
I’d longed for an angel fountain, and on my way out of Tony’s Nursery with a station wagon full of plants, there she was. The tag read “nature fairy,” but close enough. Early summer I paid, $399 for this fountain by Massarelli’s.
One, Two and Three
Day One: Friends helped unload the fountain onto the back patio, attach its pump, fill the basin, plug it in with an extension cord. Easy. Bethesda Fountain in the burbs? It’s a start.
Day Two: For extra stability, I stood the fountain in a basic barrel planter and added soil.
Day Three: Masons estimated $800 to $1,000 to make a circular surround. But at Home Depot I found 12″ angled retaining wall bricks, $2.48 each. Forty-four for $109.12 before tax was light on the wallet, but the bricks weighed plenty and required four trips.
No mortar needed: just patience to stack four rings of eleven just so. Smearing the stones with mud and tucking in moss added a somewhat “aged” effect. Dwarf boxwoods gave formality, nepeta and myrtle ivy lent scent and softness. Plastic fish from the toy bin provided fun and feng shui (for prosperity).
The splurge: hiring a mason to cut a trough in the patio so an electrician could install a socket next to the fountain and run wiring for an indoor timer.
Now at 7 am, I’m outside with my mug and the sparrows rimming the basin, waiting for the fountain to come alive so they can take their morning drink from the jets while I sip my coffee. Not quite the Bellagio, but we’re all delighted.
Ready for your own fountain? In our area, two manufacturers predominate. Get started at: massarelli.com, and campaniainternational.com. You’ll find further ideas by browsing the internet for “outdoor fountains.”
Tony’s Nurseries 2285 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, 914-834-2172. Sean Cunningham offers our readers 20% off two gems shown above: Massarelli’s 23″ Petal Pool Fountain #3616. $399.99; and Campania’s Sorrento Grotto Fountain, FT-007. $630.50. Also available are small angel fountains at fifty percent off $99, but they require a pump.
Larchmont Nurseries. 2315 Boston Post Road, Larchmont, 914-834-5802. Owner Joanne Grossman is taking 10% off wall fountains for us. Five standing fountains are on display, or order through her catalogs. From $399.99.
You can also find good deals at Home Depot. 55 Weyman Ave., New Rochelle, NY 10805; 914-235-7575. Six styles of outdoor fountains, some on sale from $119.
Pump It Up
Most fountains come with pumps, but always ask. If not, inquire how many gallons per hour are required. Find pumps at: Home Depot. Beckett Pond Supplies, www.pondbiz.com, 886-466-4319. Little Giant, 800-701-7894, for advice and store referrals.
Some people need to board a plane every time they want a get-away. But for now, with a fountain burbling in my backyard, I’ve got it all right here in Larchmont.
Katherine Ann Samon is the author of four books including Ranch House Style, Clarkson Potter. Check out her other stay-cation ideas: Larchmont to Jones Beach in Less Than an Hour.