The sound of running water whilst you sip your morning cup of tea in the garden is one of the most relaxing spiritual delights I have ever experienced. Having owned many different types of water fountains (indoor and outdoor), I would like to share my favourite list of small and large solar fountains that instil a sense of relaxation for all my readers. I have also tried to cover some buying and maintenance tips for all my readers at the bottom of the article.
I will be covering only solar powered water fountains in an assortment of different designs and materials - from cascading bowls, to water spheres. Adding a solar water feature to your lawn/ patio / decking / herb garden not only provides you with the sound of trickling water, but also helps your garden wildlife, providing a convenient drinking station for your birds and other insects.
Solar Cascading Water Features
Cascading water fountains follow a simple rule - gravity. The water is pumped to the top, then is left to trickle down through several tiers until the process is repeated.
3 tier oriental Solar Powered Water Cascade
- Triple Oriental Bowl Cascade
- Solar Powered
- Height: 49cm / Width: 31cm / Depth: 30cm
- Material: Polyresin
4-Tier Modern Cascading Water Fountain (Solar)
- Modern 4 Tier Cascading water feature
- Solar Powered (10ft of cable for better positioning!)
- Height: 42cm x Width: 39cm x Depth: 39cm
Large Traditional 3-Tier Cascading Water Feature
- Large Water Feature at 112cm height, 58cm Width
- Triple Tier traditional cascade design
- Weight: 9.5kg / 20.9lb
- Material: Polyresin
- Bird Bath - Birds will love this as not only a source of water, but as a bath 🐦🤽♀️
Solar Water Fountains
If you have a pond, or any body of water, you can easily add some extra movement and aeration using a solar powered water fountain. Many different fountains also had small LED lights that will illuminate when the sun goes down.
Floating / Submerged Water Fountain with Battery Backup
- 6.5W Solar Panel
- 5m cable to solar panel
- Usage: Ponds
- Can be used as floating or non-floating
- Battery Backup (up to hours of usage after a full charge)
- 6 fountain nozzles (interchangeable)
- Automatic "No water" failsafe ✅ (this is a must!)
Floating Solar Water Fountain
- No-Battery Backup
- Filtration on Pump
- Floating - can be secured with the 2 additional suction cups (provided)
- 4 Optional fountain settings
- Width: 17cm / Height: 4.3cm
- Usage: Pond / Place in a Pot / Rockery pool
Floating Water Fountain with LED Lights
- Solar Powered
- Battery Backup ✅ (600mA)
- 6 Bright White LED Lights which turn on automatically at night
- Automatic Shut off if no water ✅
- Size: Width: 20cm , Depth: 19cm, Height: 4.9cm
- Suitable for: Ponds, Bird Baths, Rockery Pools
Solar Sphere Garden Water Fountains
Similar to the cascading water features, the sphere water feature pumps the water from the base to the top of the dome, then trickles around the sphere creating a beautifully unique garden decoration. For the best results, always ensure your water fountain is placed on a level flat surface to prevent water only running down 1 side.
Black Modern Pillar Sphere Water Feature
- Solar Powered
- Material: Basalt (waterproof)
- Black Modern stylish twisted pillar design
- Battery Backup
- LED Light
- 200 Litre Per hour solar powered pump
- Usage: Patio, Lawn, submersible in Pond
Patio Solar Powered Water Ball - Black
- Stylish & Modern
- 4 x LED Bright Lights
- Material: Waterproof Resin
- Size: Width: 45.4cm / Depth: 42.8cm / Height: 37.6cm
- Weight: 6kg / 13.2lb
- Usage: Patio, Lawn, Decking
Stainless Steel Sphere Solar Water Feature
- Material: Mirror Effect 1mm thick Stainless Steel ball
- Size: 45cm Sphere
- LED Lighting (Illuminate at night)
- Solar Powered with 3m cable to solar panel for better positioning
- Self Contained Design - Ball sits inside its own pool of water which can be decorated with stones / gravel.
- Usage: Rockery, Patio, decking
Advantages of Solar Water Features
Solar water fountains as mentioned above require no mains electricity and are purely powered from the sun, but they also come with many positive advantages such as:
- Positioning - Providing you place your solar panels in an area with good sunlight - your water will keep moving. I have placed many different water fountains / features around my pond, and have a small rock water feature in my rockery areas.
- Portability - Large or Small, the fountains / statues are easy to manoeuvre around the garden and can often be position in seating areas for parties / family gatherings - then moved back afterwards.
- Energy Efficient - I feel this doesn't need to be said, but it's a huge positive feature of solar powered lighting and fountains. You do not need wires trailing around your garden to power the pumps - they just need sun.
- Easy to maintain - Providing you look after your solar pump everything should be pretty much maintenance free.
- Great gifts / presents - I love giving gifts of solar powered items to friends and family. I don't have to worry about them tinkering with electrics to get an item to work - it really is "no-plug and play"
- Increased Wildlife - As mentioned above, adding a water source for your garden creatures can attract a wider variety of birds / insects to your garden.
- Plant Life - A lot of the products allow for an area to place some water plants / reeds - more plant life = more wildlife.
Disadvantages of Solar Powered Water Features
I feel I should also mention one of the major disadvantages of a solar water feature... is the battery. Unlike solar garden lights where the battery only needs to power a few LED lights - the battery is required to pump water. Pumps require more power and often drain the battery within a few hours of being without solar energy - so please bare that in mind. I mentioned in my Solar Power for Ponds article that relying on solar power to keep your pond clean / cycled is a bad idea - if you want to have a read of the article it's over here
Other disadvantages include:
- Costs - Slightly more expensive than mains powered - Due to the additional electronics, battery backup etc, the overall price for a good quality solar feature can be quite a bit more - but surely it's worth it 😉
- Pump Efficiency - Unlike mains powered pumps which are able to eject dirty and other items, solar pumps can often become clogged due to the lack of power they receive. A pump that is dirty will draw more power and ultimately drain the backup-battery quicker.
- Pump Burnout - A lot of the cheaper solar fountains often use very cheap pumps. If you take a standard pond mains powered pump they have an automatic failsafe if there is no water supply. Cheaper solar pumps don't have this feature and can often "burn out" if there is not enough water.
- Attracting Rodents - Placing water in your garden can also have a negative side effect and attract some unwanted pests to your garden such as rats & mice. My general rule is... "as long as they are not in my house", but I did want to mention it.
Caring for your Solar Water Feature
With all outdoor items they do require some level of care to ensure 100% performance. If you notice decreased movement on your fountain try following the steps below:
- Ensure your panels are cleaned at least once a week to ensure peak performance. A handy tip I'd like to share is to use a product called RainEx - which creates a small protective film across the panel allowing water / dirt to just slide off.
- Position your solar panels to capture the most sun. Summer and Winter months have different peak areas for sun light. Always keep a note of the area that receives the most sun, and if possible align your solar panels accordingly.
Solar Water Pump Maintenance
- Turn off your solar water feature and inspect your pump. Over time small pieces of algae will begin to wrap itself around the impeller reducing its it's efficiency and draining the battery at night. Using a small pair of tweezers remove any algae and clean both the inlet and outlet using a small cloth.
- If your pump has a fountain attachment, remove from the pump and soak in hot water to clear all the tiny holes. You can also use white vinegar if the material of your fountain attachment will not be damaged. Personally, I get great satisfaction by using a bent paper clip to clear each of the holes.
- Ensure connections to the pump are tight and sealed. Rubber & Plastic exposed to the outdoor elements may become damaged due to the shifting in temperatures - so ensuring the pipes do not have any holes or leaky seals is always good to check when performing your solar pump maintenance. If you do notice a small leak, use either some silicon sealant, or wrap some PTFE tape around the leak as a quick fix.
Water maintenance for your Solar Fountain
A question I was asked a lot whilst working in retail was "Why is my water fountain green". The simple answer is "Algae". It's every pond owners nightmare and if not treated quickly can cause your pump to block and your lovely outdoor solar fountain to stop working completely.
A major benefit of solar fountains is the ability to drain the water, and replace with new in a matter of minutes and something you should do at least once a month. Once drained, you can use a soft brush clean all the algae off rocks / spheres / spouts - then re-fill with clean tap water.
If you want to be "pro-active" then there are supplements you can add to your water feature which will prevent algae growth and keep the water sparkling. A product I recommend is the "Single Shot Ultimate Fountain Fresh water feature cleaner", it has amazing reviews and using it every few weeks will ensure you don't need to drain and clean as often.
Clear out animal waste & other large objects - Especially in Autumn months where leaves are falling and winds are higher - your fountain can be littered with leaves / pine needles and other foreign objects. If you do not remove these items, you run the risk of damaging your pump - and potentially poisoning the water used by wildlife in your garden.
Final thoughts from Professor Power
This article went on for much longer that even I anticipated, but I am really pleased that you managed to get this far! Solar Water Fountains are incredible and require very little in terms of maintenance - while providing so much in return.
It's worth spending that little bit more to ensure the pump has an auto shut-off feature, but if your solar fountain is not working, have a read up through the maintenance section to see if you can easily resolve.
If you're stuck what to get your friends & family for Christmas / Weddings / House Warming - then I would highly suggest a solar garden water feature.
All the best,