Top 25 Must-See European Water Fountains
From modern to classic, installing a water fountain inside (or outside) of your home can jazz up any area and increase the value of your home if you decide to leave it there for future renters or buyers. So, what’s trending now and how will you decide the best one that will suit your style? That’s where European and other worldly fountains come in- they are timeless, exotic, and truly make a statement. They have had a place in our world for centuries and continue to have a place in modern-day gardens and patios. From goddesses to royal lions and classic old world gardens, you are bound to find your perfect personal style that will make the neighbors jealous. Keep reading to learn about these designer fountains and the top 25 most popular European and other unique worldly water fountains.
1. A Trip to Ancient Rome
If you ever travel to Rome, you will see pillars with cascading and intricate designs, statues spitting water, stone and bronze and gladiators galore. So when I say an ancient Rome style fountain- it can be literally any of the following and beyond. So, let’s say you wanted to go simple and get a pillar style concrete pond fountain with water spouts that trickle down. If your style is less extravagant, this is definitely your go-to and totally what you’d see in a Roman garden. Now, think of something a little more unique, like a statue water fountain of the Roman Goddess Venus (the Greek equivalent of Aphrodite) with a pond at the bottom that delicately drips water from the top. Now that is something eye-catching, and who wouldn’t want the goddess of love in their garden or front yard? This picture features a technique that makes the stone look aged for an extra boost of antique.
2. Gods & Goddesses
Piggybacking on our last topic, ancient gods and goddesses will always be a trend for fountains. Elegant statues of Greek gods in the form of fountains were popular 3000 years ago and they are still being created and sold to this day. So, what gives? First off, many people believe that these are ‘charms’ and will bring good luck or senses of mystique and tranquility to a garden or wherever they decide to put it. Others like them because it looks expensive and ritzy without really even having to spend a lot of money. Regardless of why you want it, you should want it. Greek and Roman gods and goddesses are very similar but don’t forget about other ancients like Egyptian, Chinese, and Mayan. Really, there is no right or wrong and definitely no limit when it comes to statue fountains. The picture shown above is a simple fountain sculpted of Hebe- the goddess of youth. Her statue stands next to a water basin as she pours from a small vase making for a truly magical garden feature.
3. Vintage French Style Fountain
Vintage French is a mix of rustic and classy. The fountain pictured above is a common sight in France no matter which part you visit and was used in the early 18th and 19th centuries as an obvious way to transport water. However, it now makes for the perfect ornament anywhere around your home or garden. Traditional French fountains can range in nearly every size, from tiny to large, and they are almost always made of limestone and have at least one wrought iron spout that pours into the basin. A fountain like the one pictured above will not be a heavy flowing loud fountain like many others we will mention, but sometimes the quiet trickle adds to the ambiance of your surroundings and adds a relaxing feel to any area- especially if you live in a place that never rains.
4. Old World Drinking Fountain
This is another common design you would see all over villages and big cities in the old world. When you think of old-world Europe, what comes to mind? If you think of quaint and quiet areas with pretty stonework that has still been kept intact after hundreds of years, you are thinking correctly. Every village had them for decorations or water transportation. Some old world designs were loud and sculpted eloquently, while others like the fountain pictured above were simple and practical in functionality and used for a public refreshment similar to the small fountains we have inside of grocery stores these days. The only difference? Old world style drinking fountains were much more attractive and last so much longer. Many of these fountains stand only 4-5 feet tall and fit perfectly inside large houses and outside in gardens or patios.
5. Cast Stone Tiered Fountain
Cast stone is a mixture of stone that makes freshly-made fountains look like something that came out of a ten-acre palace garden during the Victorian era. In fact, these actually were and still are in gardens all over Europe, whether they have been there for 350 years or were recently installed. The cast stone makes it look more vintage rather than a marble design that would look more modern. The spouts can be as intricate as lions spitting (as seen above) or plain tiny hidden pipes and will be the center of attention in a garden made for tea time. This type of fountain style was made to be large or extra large, as a small size tiered fountain would look more like a bird bath.
6. Japanese Tsukubai Garden Fountain
It may not look like much, but it’s actually quite new and modern in gardens and is also a trend that is becoming widely spread around the modern world for many reasons. One of the first reasons is the obvious zen and tranquility this simple ‘device’ looking fountain can bring to your garden. The other reason is that it actually serves a purpose- it’s a practical design used for centuries in Asian countries to water a small area and let water travel to other places using long bamboo pipes. It’s easy to say that this is a tiny yet unique additive to a garden if you are going for that vibe and if you love the calming aesthetic of an Asian garden. To make this design even better, it can be an easy DIY project- click here to learn more about how you can do it yourself. Coming from someone who lived in Japan for nearly a decade- there’s nothing more extraordinary than something so small bringing peace to an area. If this is your style you absolutely will not regret adding this to a small pond.
7. The Peeing Angel or Boy
A classic, right? This water fountain hardly needs any explanation and you would know what I’m talking about with or without a picture. But why is this such a ‘thing’? One of the main reasons it became popular was because of the Manneken-Pis, which was a popular drinking distribution system in the 15th century that became widely popular all over Europe and became a tradition that still exists to this day. The original fountain survived the bombing of Brussels and is dressed up and adorned multiple times a year. The peeing boy was seen everywhere by the 1700’s and is now a classic additive to fountain designs or can be used as a fountain on its own dripping into a pond. What else is there to say- it’s a classic and will never fade out of style.
8. The Tiki Man
Straying away from common designs, the tiki was first discovered in Polynesia, a south Pacific God. Known as the first man, this God has many faces that protect against evil spirits and have been praised as a fertility and luck booster. Now a common design all over the place, a tiki water fountain adds to a tropical and exotic garden design. A tiki bar is something you can now see all over the world, especially in themed resorts. But the true faces of the tiki man made into fountains are inspired from the islands that praised him. You can find hundreds of tiki style fountains of many designs ranging from small to extra large.
9. Celtic Accents
Celtic knots were used heavily in Celtic design and still remain very popular and unique on any type of decor you could possibly want. However, on water fountains, it brings a sense of power and charm to your home while still remaining minimalistic. The knots were some of the earliest forms of Celtic designs dating as far back as the 7th century when Europe was an ancient place of mystery. The fountain pictured above is accented with the famous Celtic knots in a birdbath two-tiered design. It combines a square top with a pillar stand making it the perfect accessory in any type of home design, from traditional to modern.
10. Fancy Victorian Fountain
The Victorian era (circa 1837-1901) was an era celebrating the finer things in life, and the wealthy class almost always had a luxurious garden with a fountain as a centerpiece with delicately carved details and multiple tiers. The bigger the better and the more detailed craftsmanship meant your garden would stand out compared to others. Luckily, these days you don’t need to be a queen, duchess, or count to own one of these garden ornaments- you just have to have the space to fit one. It’s very common for a fancy Victorian style fountain to have a circular base with a width as large as 20 feet. For a true Victorian look, there would be multiple tiers, white aged stone, and sculptures surrounding it (like the seashells and horses pictured above.)
11. Small Mounted European Pots
If you are not a big fan of the large and extravagant, this might be just what you’re looking for. This is more of a discrete water feature rather than a fountain, but still has the old-world European feel to it. What makes this fountain even better is the fact that it takes up no space on the ground and you can place it on your table or wall both inside and outside of your home. The rustic feel of the fountain pictured above contains European style pots with water spilling from the top and accents below the pots that would be commonly found on aged stone all over Europe. A classic design with bonus points- it’s very affordable!
12. Moroccan Mosaic Tile Fountain
This is definitely a top pick for me, and it definitely should be for you too. In fact, it may be one of my personal favorites on this list. What do I even have to explain? Each mosaic tile is crafted in a way that makes this fountain look absolutely stunning both up close and from far away. One of the better features of this design is how versatile it is- there are the classic Moroccan fountains like the one pictured above, but there are also ones that have tiers with the mosaic tile on the base. We are choosing the classic Moroccan fountain for this list though- beautiful tiles surrounding a single spout that spills water into the pond below and attached to a wall. If you are looking for a fountain with personality and originality, this is the style for you.
13. English Garden Birdbath
This is a typical English garden birdbath style fountain with a little contemporary ‘umph’ added to it. Therefore, it’s perfect for people with both a modern and classic eye wanting to combine both styles for a look of their own. This birdbath design is meant to be the focal point of a garden- placing it right in the middle of a patio with shrubs, plants, and flowers both surrounding it and placed directly under the fountain. Your English garden fountain does not need to be this big and doesn’t even have to be the main focal point of your garden. There are much smaller and equally as beautiful birdbath style fountains that can even be placed in more petite garden spaces. This is definitely not a ‘go big or go home’ type of style- it’s malleable to any style and size of a home or garden.
14. Ancient Mayan Fountain
Maybe European isn’t your style- that’s fine. Because guess what the world has a lot of? Countries! Countries with incredible cultures and stories and world wonders that you can make a theme out of if you’re passionate about it. One of these incredible designs is the ancient Mayan pyramids that you can still visit today- architecture that has been standing strong for approximately 3,000 years. This is a design that has been adopted and brought back to life (of course in a way smaller form) as a fountain for your garden like the one pictured above. This pyramid fountain is interesting because it does not spray hard vertically or waterfall- it’s more of a mist that comes out of the top and lightly trickles down the sides of the pyramid into a stone pond rather than a water pond. Regardless, it’s still mesmerizing. It’s a very rare design and is often found in small-medium form meant for a garden feature. Click here to see another gorgeous (yet smaller) Mayan pyramid fountain.
15. The Saints
No, not the New Orleans football Saints, these are the highly respected saints turned into water fountains that make beautiful tributes to any saint you adore. For example, the fountain shown above is of St. Francis, an Italian saint known for his devotion to taking care of the sick, poor, and even preaching sermons and showing love to animals circa 1181. The fountain in this picture shows St. Francis pouring water into a bowl for thirsty birds and rabbits which adds such a tranquil charm to your garden- a saint watching over all the critters and helping your garden flourish. Whether you are religious or not, you’ve got to admit that this sculpture of St. Francis as a water fountain is carved to perfection and would look great in any garden style.
16. Happy Buddha
Piggybacking off of the last fountain again, here we are celebrating the life of Buddha by adding him as a fountain to your garden for peace, good luck, and serenity. While he is not a saint, he is the man that enlightened many and started what is now known as Buddhism- a religion practiced by millions. Another Asian influenced garden feature like we mentioned before with the Japanese Tsukubai, the happy Buddha fountain or garden ornament is very popular in zen Asian style gardens. Of course, this is a style that can range from a tiny desktop fountain to a large outdoor fountain.
17. Grecian Style
The Greeks and Romans were a lot alike when it came to style- classy, elegant, and usually adorned with Gods and Goddesses as a sign of wealth and power. A classic Greek fountain was commonly pressed against walls (though they also indulged in huge 5-tiered fountains as well). This fountain would make an exceptional outdoor wall piece even without the flowers and plants surrounding it. The small two-tiered fountain is made even bigger in size with the pretty area around it which includes a brick arch and flowers with pots at the bottom- a famous feature in many Grecian designs. This style is definitely one of a kind and would create a very vintage look to your home.
18. Smooth Antique Limestone
Limestone is commonly used as an antique building stone because it ages very well and looks great whether it’s brand new or hundreds of years old. It was also very standard and cost-effective for creating fountains in Europe for many centuries (it was even used in building the pyramids in Egypt). Therefore, it is simply a classic in European fountain designs. You can get a vintage limestone fountain in pretty much any design, from a classic 3-4 tiers, ponds with sculptures, and contrasting shapes. This cascading 2-tier design is added to a pond with traditional pillar designs surrounded by greens to give a flourishing garden appearance.
How awesome is this?! Okay, so gargoyles are really neat on their own as a statue, but as the topping of a water fountain...it’s even better. This isn’t the best picture, but imagine it glowing while the pond is filling up as a garden ornament. If you have a taste for the more ominous side of decor, then this look was made for you. Gargoyles were a part of gothic architecture beginning around the early 13th century and were originally used as water spouts on gutters to shoot water away from buildings in a creative fashion. They were a symbol of protection against evil spirits and became a huge statement during that era and thousands still stand today as a part of European culture. This fountain is medium in size and would fit perfectly in any sized garden. There are other small gargoyle fountains that can go inside your house or be mounted on walls.
20. Tuscan Fountains
The Tuscan style (from Tuscany) is original and incorporates both elegance and a rustic nature to create an aged appearance. Tuscan is a very popular style for nearly everything, from home design to architecture. Basically, it’s a way to make a statement. Usually, in a bronze color or aged limestone, Tuscan style water fountains can be on their own with two tiers or look similar to Moroccan style fountains with colorful tiles surrounding them. One of the most common looks includes large pots or cauldrons to complete the look with a single spout pouring into the pot. This fountain is small in size and it can fit in a large variety of garden sizes.
21. Old Mediterranean Water Fountain
Much like the Spanish courtyard and Tuscan style, the Mediterranean follows along the same guidelines while still having designs that are unique all over the many Mediterranean countries. It’s very common to see the same accents and colors shared between both Spanish and Mediterranean styles. The color schemes of the Mediterranean style fountain range from light blue to very dark and the tiles are almost always placed in a pattern- sometimes the tiles create pictures of birds, people, flowers, and other mosaic pictures. The circular base of this fountain with the tile placed around the circumference makes it stand out without being overly colorful and loud. Two tiers with a vase-shaped water tower draw attention and the plants surrounding it gives this fountain a classic and tropical Mediterranean vibe.
22. The Artsy Renaissance
The Renaissance was a period during European history (1300-1600) in which a total reform and ‘rebirth’ swept the countries after the Middle Ages. So, what does this have to do with the architecture of a water fountain? Well, the time period was based on rediscovering and expanding art, science, politics, literature, etc. It was a time where art was at its prime and the structures and furniture still standing are beautifully decorated and crafted. Your typical Renaissance inspired water fountain would be just that- either really glamorous or a tasteful multiple tiered fountain hand-carved to perfection. This Renaissance-style fountain combines both art and simplicity with patterns on the pillars between each tier. It features a Toscana pool at the bottom and four fabulous tiers. The cream color is what you’d expect to see during the Renaissance but many other colors suit the era as well. Whether you’re the artsy type or not, this fountain was made for turning heads.
23. Royal Lionshttps://www.outdoorfountainpros.com/products/classic-lion-pillar-cast-stone-outdoor-fountain
As you would probably suspect, lions represented many things throughout Europe’s history. You would see them everywhere, especially around palaces or high-end stores and wealthy homes. They are a symbol of nobility, power, wealth, courage, strength, and of course royalty. What’s not to love about adding those traits to your garden? If you decide on having a royal lion themed water fountain, there are many routes you can go- from spitting lions surrounding the pool or an actual lion shaped fountain. That might be a little extreme, but the sky's the limit when you want a royal garden. Other common (and less fancy) lion water fountains are wall mounted and feature a lion’s face spitting water into a small pool, which is great for small gardens and people who prefer small water features. This royal lion fountain is a classic- it features an octagonal basin with lions spitting water as well as water spraying from the top. What’s even better is that it’s medium in size, so you can indulge in the ‘old world feel’ without needing an extra large garden space.
24. Segovia Style Stonehttps://www.outdoorfountainpros.com/collections/outdoor-wall-fountains/products/segovia-wall-outdoor-fountain
The Spanish inspired cast stone water fountain is a timeless look, named after Segovia, a famous city in Spain known for historical buildings still standing. The city features medieval walls, rich architecture, and cathedrals. So, it’s only fitting to list a water fountain that is based on this look and feel. Every time you step into your garden you will feel like you are a part of this rich culture and you have a little bit of medieval Spain only a walk away. One single spout pours into one small tier before landing into a larger basin and will perfectly fit against a wall to maximize your space. The design of this fountain fits with many design schemes, so don’t be worried about it looking out of place. Multiple color choices can also make this fountain fit right in!
25. Urn Fountains
Urn-shaped fountains were first seen in Greece and parts of Asia (otherwise known as vase-shaped). They would usually be shaped like a large urn with a spout used to fill up bowls, cups, or just to drink out of. Today, you don’t have to have a giant urn in your garden unless you want to. Urn fountains come in all shapes and designs but still have an ancient nostalgia to them. We decided that a giant urn would be fitting in this context though, simply because it’s what you would see there and if you want an ancient European feature in your garden this will be one of the most historically accurate choices. The rectangular basin at the bottom fills with water that pours from the top of the urn (or vase) and the cast stone has an aged appearance that will add nostalgia to your garden.
After having gone through many European and other worldly fountain designs you might be overwhelmed with choices (and all the fun history facts you just absorbed). However, most people will have quite a few that catch their eye- narrowing choices down tremendously. Based on what you’ve narrowed it down to, you will know if you prefer the old world looks, ancient looks, colorful designs that pop, or classic tiered features. Or, you might want something completely original and unique to your own taste with a combination of multiple accents from different fountains. Why not? From there, your search can begin and soon enough you will have the perfect timeless water fountain in your own garden.
- Catherine Sibi