Few elements are as ubiquitous or as essential as water, or as appealing for the soothing sights and sounds with which it enhances our environment. Fountains are the ideal way to incorporate water's magic into our homes and gardens, and the fountain maker becomes something of an illusionist, striving emulate nature and to conceal the mechanics that make the perpetual flow of water possible.
Dorcas Adkins is certainly a magician when it comes to fountain design. Her wizardry encompasses bamboo, wood, ceramic, concrete, stone, and metal creations, from small tabletop delights to full-sized garden waterfalls. Her extremely thorough and well-diagrammed instructions make even the most complex projects approachable--and some of them are indeed fairly complex, involving woodworking skills, plaster and concrete casting, ceramic modeling, soldering, or rigging an existing sculpture. But the results are well worth the effort, yielding Zen-like arrangements in which water trickles over a miniature bonsai garden, through bamboo piping, or into a rustic stone trough filled with water lilies; or more traditional Western constructions such as a ewer-toting cherub, a shell-and-stone-and-tile mosaic, or various spouting faces.
Beginners or those seeking smaller-scale productions are best off starting with a more basic approach, like Dawn Cusick's Tabletop Fountains. But for the more adventurous fountaineers, it's hard to beat Adkins's presentation, which also helpfully includes a list of mail-order suppliers and a useful at-a-glance guide to finding general materials, from antique tubs to pond liners to wooden barrels. --Amy Handy
Explains how to construct tabletop fountains, waterfalls, and fountains of bamboo, ceramics or wood while discussing plantings and decorative fish.