4 Ways to Properly Maintain Water Features and Fountains

4 Ways to Properly Maintain Water Features and Fountains

So you’re house-shopping for a gorgeous new property and you think you want an outdoor water feature to go with it. And who could blame you? Outdoor water features add an indelible sense of serenity and class to your backyard area. There’s nothing better than sitting outside listening to the soft sound of a nearby fountain or admiring it as part of your garden décor.

But how difficult are outdoor water features to maintain? What do you have to do to keep them running
smoothly? Not to worry. Outdoor waterfalls and fountains don’t require too much maintenance. If you follow these simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy your new feature for years to come.

1) Assess the Area Around the Fountain

Especially if you’re still house-shopping, examine the area where the feature is or will be. You don’t
want to put it in a place where rogue baseballs or soccer balls-or excessive foot traffic-are going to damage the feature or cover it with debris. Dry, dusty areas will also make you clean your fountain more often than you might like.

The best place for your fountain is where you can still see and hear it, but where it’s away from walking
paths and play areas-in a quiet, clean spot.

2) Clean the Pump Regularly

The pump is the heart and soul of your water feature. It’s also the mechanism that will demand the most
attention from you. To keep your pump working properly, you’ll need to clean it regularly-especially if your fountain is near a lot of trees or collects a lot of debris.

To clean the pump, take it out of the water and wipe it down with a clean cloth. Wipe debris and mineral
buildup off the outside, and then open the cover to clean the inside of the pump. First, clear out any large
leaves, twigs, or other sediment with your hands. Then, use a toothbrush to scrub down inside all the hard to reach areas.

If your pump has hard mineral buildup that you can’t wipe off easily, soak it in a 50/50 mixture of
distilled white vinegar and water. This mixture will soften the deposits so you can clean them off with just a cloth.

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3) Calibrate the Pump

The sound of soft, trickling water is one of the water feature’s best characteristics. But sometimes you
might notice the sound is too loud or the water is not pumping forcefully enough. In this case, you’ll need to calibrate your fountain’s pump.

4) Keep the Water Clean

No water feature looks good if its water is too dirty. Since outdoor features naturally attract more dirt
and debris than indoor ones, you’ll need to drain and clean your feature every few months or whenever the water looks particularly grimy.

Most fountains have a drain on the bottom. Simply pull the plug to drain the water out. Once the water’s
gone, take a scrub brush and some mild soap (dish detergent works best) and scrub down the fountain’s
interior. If there are some stains you can’t easily get off, try putting a little baking soda on them and
scrub gently.

When you refill the fountain, use distilled water if possible. This step makes mineral buildups less
likely and slower to occur. If your fountain is too big to use distilled water, then add a couple teaspoons
of bleach to your regular tap water. You can also use an enzymatic water cleaner that prevents mineral
buildup and algae growth.

Speaking of algae, if you do notice algae growth, a couple drops of algaecide in the water should take
care of it in no time.


Water features and fountains add a lovely ambiance to your backyard environment. If you choose a home with
a water feature or fountain, remember these maintenance tips to keep it running well for years of enjoyment.