Fountain Care Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid 

Proper fountain care is essential to keeping your outdoor space looking beautiful. Learn more about fountain maintenance and how to avoid the most common fountain care mistakes from the experts at Aquatic & Garden Decor.


ATTENTION:  Aquatic & Garden Decor proudly stands behind the quality of all of our products.  In order to ensure the merchandise you have purchased maintains its structural integrity through the winter, it must be winterized by product purchased at Aquatic & Garden Decor

Download the PDF version of this tip sheet for easy printing.


General Fountain Care

  1. Any fountain set outside should not be set directly on dirt or mulched beds. A patio stone must be placed beneath it, unless the fountain is sitting on a deck or patio that does not allow standing water to accumulate around its base. A fountain with a flat bottom basin set in the landscape, must have a minimum of 2 inches of pea gravel as a base. A fountain with a flat bottom basin set on a hard surface (concrete patio, paver patio, etc.) may need 1/2″ or more of sand underneath it for leveling and for the pump cord to run under the basin. A bead of silicone should be applied around the perimeter of the basin to prevent the sand from washing away.


  1. Fountains should never be installed on loose soil. When installing a fountain where a tree, shrub, etc. has been removed, gravel or crushed limestone may be needed to fill in the hole. The area must be compacted to provide a stable base for your fountain. It is important that the area is stable so that your fountain can remain level. An un-level fountain will not flow properly.


  1. Fountain bowls must remain filled with water at all times in season. Allowing a fountain to run low on water will cause the pump to overheat and fail. Pump failure due to lack of water is not covered under any warranty.


  1. The pump intake must remain free of leaves and debris at all times. If the pump intake is clogged, the pump will not have enough water flowing through it to keep the motor cool, and the pump could overheat and fail. Pump failure due to operating while clogged

is not covered by warranty.


  1. Aquatic & Garden Decor does not recommend using extension cords with re-circulating pumps.


  1. Do not run fountains 24 hours a day. Do not run fountains overnight, while at work, on vacation, etc. Fountains running for longer periods of time are more susceptible to water loss from wind, splash, evaporation, etc.


  1. Algaecides available at Aquatic & Garden Decor can be added to fountains to help prevent algae growth. They are not harmful to humans, birds, or other animals when used as directed. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the package. Also, clean out the fountain and fill it with fresh water before adding the algaecide.


  1. Chlorine bleach is not recommended for use in fountains to treat algae. It is corrosive to the pump and will fade any color applied to the fountain. Adding chlorine voids the warranty of the pump and the fountain.

How to Winterize Your Outdoor Fountain

  1. For the winter months, re-circulating pumps should be removed if practical. They should be cleaned and stored indoors in a container of water. The water prevents the seals from drying out.


  1. If water accumulates in a fountain bowl during the winter and freezes, the bowl could crack. In most cases, a fountain cover is the most practical way to winterize a fountain. Prior to covering fountains, be sure to remove all drain plugs and/or grommets and place water absorbent material in the bowl(s) to absorb any condensation that forms under the cover. Fountain covers are conical in shape and are water resistant. They are not waterproof. For the fountain cover to function properly, there needs to be a high spot at the top center of the fountain. If you have removed any components of the fountain, or the fountain does not have a natural central high spot, it may be necessary to use an object to hold the center of the cover in a cone shape allowing water to run off. The cover must fit snugly so it does not sag, creating areas where water can pool. If there is extra cover material at the top, it can be gathered and tied into a ‘ponytail’ so the sides are taut and water sheds off. Fountain covers come in a variety of sizes, to fit most fountains, and are available at Aquatic & Garden Decor. For smaller fountains, the bowls may be flipped over, or the unit may be stored in a garage or shed. If the unit does not splash, it could be brought indoors for the winter and run inside.


  1. Do not use antifreeze in fountains during the winter. This will not prevent winter damage and will void any warranty.


  1. Do not leave fountains outdoors, assembled and uncovered during the winter. This will void any warranty. Water from rain and snow will accumulate in an assembled uncovered fountain, which will then freeze and damage the fountain.


  1. Do not use any type of heating or de-icing device in any type of fountain during the winter. Not draining and not covering the fountain voids any warranty.


**Cast stone fountains and other garden ornaments are not toys, and are not meant to be climbed on or played around.**

Top 4 Fountain Care Mistakes to Avoid

Low Water Levels 

Under-filling your fountain or allowing it to run while low on water can result in an overworked pump. Fountains lose water due to splashing, wind, evaporation, and other environmental factors. The appropriate water level will vary based on the fountain you choose, but always make sure you monitor the level and top it off regularly. 

Keeping the Fountain On 24/7

We don’t recommend keeping your fountain on 24/7. This is because fountains running for longer periods of time are more susceptible to water loss from wind, splash, evaporation, etc. This can result in a low water level, which therefore can cause strain on the pump. 

Neglecting Cleaning

You must clean your fountain regularly to prevent algae and debris buildup. Depending on where you place your fountain, you may only need to lightly clean it once a week as needed. However, if you place it under a tree or other foliage, you may need to clean it more heavily to prevent leaves and waste from clogging the pump. 

Placing Fountain on Loose Soil 

Always place your fountain on a solid base. Not only will this prevent your fountain from tipping over, it will also keep the water level so it can flow properly. 

Get More Fountain Care Tips from the Experts at Aquatic & Garden Decor


Aquatic & Garden Decor has been helping people create their perfect at-home paradise for over 60 years. As a family-owned business, we pride ourselves on our knowledgeable, friendly staff, and beautiful displays. Our store offers an unmatched selection of diverse and beautiful high-quality garden art, fountains, birdbaths, benches, planters, home and garden accents, water gardening supplies, and water plants. Stop by today!

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