Contemporary Garden Decor: Outdoor Fountains and their Beginnings

A fountain, an incredible piece of engineering, not only supplies drinking water as it pours into a basin, it can also launch water high into the air for a noteworthy effect.

From the onset, outdoor fountains were soley there to serve as functional elements.

Contemporary original People in cities, towns and villages received their drinking water, as well as water to bathe and wash, via aqueducts or springs nearby. 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 supply of water such as a reservoir or aqueduct located higher than the fountain. Fountains were not only used as a water source for drinking water, but also to adorn homes and celebrate the designer who created it. Roman fountains usually depicted images of animals or heroes made of metal or stone masks.

Muslims and Moorish garden designers of the Middle Ages included fountains to re-create smaller models of the gardens of paradise. King Louis XIV of France wanted to illustrate his superiority over nature by including fountains in the Gardens of Versailles. The Romans of the 17th and 18th centuries manufactured baroque decorative fountains to glorify the Popes who commissioned them as well as to mark the location where the restored Roman aqueducts entered the city.

The end of the 19th century saw the rise in usage of indoor plumbing to provide drinking water, so urban fountains were relegated to purely decorative elements.

The creation of unique water effects and the recycling of water were two things made possible by swapping gravity with mechanical pumps.

Modern-day fountains function mostly as decoration for public spaces, to honor individuals or events, and compliment entertainment and recreational activities.


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