Water Features as Sound Buffers2

Garden tip from Landscaping for Privacy by Marty Wingate01212 garden_water_feature

Timber Press, paperback, $19.95


Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker about gardens and travel. She writes for many national publications and is the author of three books about gardening.



As more American homes are built closer together, there is an increased need for privacy in today’s home garden. Landscaping for Privacy provides creative solutions for making private outdoor living spaces. Here are a few pointers from Chapter One, “Buffers,” regarding water features:


  • The more points of contact the water makes, the more sound it produces. Make the most of this with a feature in which water falls from several sources and onto several levels before reaching the pool; or choose a fountain that shoots up three feet and then showers the basin below with droplets.
  • Water falling onto a metal surface makes more sound than water falling on wood, concrete or ceramic surfaces.
  • Because of the echo effect, water falling into a deep basin or chamber that is only partially full makes more sound than water falling in sheets down the side of a container into rocks below.
  • A sheet of water pouring into a basin makes more sound than water falling into a single spot, and water that falls another level into more water creates even more sound.
  • Features with less masking ability can still create a soothing ambience. Trickling bamboo fountains create a steady pouring sound — a constant flow similar to the sound created by leaving a faucet running.
  • Bubble fountains, in which water bubbles up from the middle of a sculptural feature, create light, cascading sounds; more sound can be generated if the water then drips onto rocks. The higher the burble, the more sound the cascade makes.

Categories: Gardening