The fountains seemed categorized roughly into three markets:
- small tabletop (is that even safe to use outdoors? I figure "no") with prices in $50 - $150 range
- affordable resin in many shapes & colors, some with immersed lights, many with several levels for cascading water (and how am I going to clean out one of those?) with prices ranging from $70 - $300 and most models priced around $175
- expensive, large stone suitable for estates and circular driveways with prices beginning at $800 and moving upward into that zone known as "Custom, Call for Pricing" (the cost of freight would exceed that base price)
My personal review of the above categories resulted in opinions of too quiet, too easily broken and just too damn large and heavy (respectively). This should be a simple thing to find -- a feature to bring the calm, gurgling sounds of running water onto my balcony.
I found a cute ceramic fountain with the best features of all categories. With only 4 pieces, it is easy to clean and took just a few seconds to assemble on my balcony (in the dark no less). It holds about one gallon of water, has an adjustable water pump and makes a lovely sound. It is ceramic (oh, be careful!) which is good feng shui. Best of all, the fountain is only about 20" high. Very cute. I had hesitated thinking that this might be too tiny. My fears were unfounded since this ceramic piece has the "feel" of an artisan with an undulating shell pattern, varying hues of blue, and, to me, an endearing appeal of looking handmade. There is no Made in China sticker on this [not that there's anything wrong with that...]. Goldilocks found just the right size.
I got so excited that I took a flash photo in the dark about 3 seconds after setting up the fountain (see first photo and oh yeah, does that ever look swell next to the purple watering can, eek).
By the next afternoon, I had the fountain settled in very nicely (second photo).
I am amazed how much pleasure this adds to my garden experience. Difficult to describe, yet I'd say it has added another dimension to my enjoyment. Additionally, that subtle water sound is soothing. I would call that a Zen experience for me. After setting this up the first evening, I lit a candle and sat in my garden for, oh, about 4 hours. Just lovely.
Feng shui dictates that the flow of water be directed towards my door and that suits me just fine.