Caring For Your Modern Outdoor Water Feature

Before buying a modern outdoor water feature, there are some things to consider.   While water features provide tranquility and artistic beauty to outdoor spaces, they do also require an amount of consistent maintenance.  When considering the installation of a fountain or other water feature in your landscape, it’s important to understand the care it will need to keep it beautiful and functional for the life of your landscape.   

CLICK HERE to see our modern outdoor water features.

Minimizing Scale Accumulation

One of the greatest challenges in water feature maintenance is minimizing scale accumulation.  Be aware that if you’re ordering a black fountain, the inevitable white hard water build up will be more noticeable.  If you are the type to want your modern outdoor water feature looking perfectly bright and clean at all times, then it may be worth choosing a lighter color.  But don’t let hard water worry you too much.  There are plenty of ways to minimize scale. 

Shade and Evaporation:

One of the main challenges of fountain maintenance is water evaporation.  When water evaporates, the minerals are left behind and the water becomes more and more concentrated.  Then, you add more water to keep the basin filled.  This adds more minerals, and it becomes more concentrated as the water evaporates again.  Over time, the original water in your basin will be incredibly saturated with harmful minerals.  The best thing for your modern outdoor water feature is to drain and replace the water when needed.  If possible, install your water feature in a shaded area to reduce evaporation and mineral concentration.

Water Softeners:

If you have very hard water coming from your hose–meaning it contains high mineral content–consider using a water softener to reduce calcium and magnesium levels, which are common contributors to scale formation.  This not only reduces hard water buildup on the visual parts of the fountain, but also reduces buildup in the pump, filter, nozzles, and plumbing to keep your modern outdoor water feature running like it should.

Water Chemistry Management:

If you don’t use a water softener, managing the pH and alkalinity of the water is also helpful.  This can be done pretty simply with a pool test kit and pool chemicals. 

Typically, a pH range of 7.2 to 7.8 is suitable for most water features.

Alkalinity helps to buffer pH changes and can really reduce scale formation.

Be cautious when adding chemicals to the water, though.  Follow product instructions and avoid overuse.  Some chemicals will actually contribute to scale formation. 

Do not use chlorine!  Chlorine will damage your pump and fountain surfaces.

Fountain Cleaning and Care

Regular Cleaning:

It’s important to perform routine cleaning of your water feature, including scrubbing the surfaces to remove any existing scale buildup. If left too long, the buildup will be harder to remove from the metal surfaces and especially on powder coated fountains.  Using CLR on stainless steel or other metal fountains works great to remove hard water scale.  It can even be used briefly on powder coated surfaces.  Be careful never to let it sit too long on powder coating.  It will hurt the finish.  Immediately rinse with water and apply a baking soda and water solution to neutralize the acid. Used briefly and then neutralized, CLR will remove moderate scale from your powder coated water feature without causing damage. Test in an inconspicuous place first.

Over time, if your powder coating has oxidation or light scale that will not come off, you can use Everbrite Coating to make it look like new.  It’s a very light coating that will not be visible or flake over time. 

Water Filtration:

We always equip our outdoor fountains with a high-quality pump and filter.  However, these should be cleaned out at least twice per year. Spring and Fall are best.  If algae has accumulated in the nozzles, no worries. Our rain curtain fountain nozzles are removable and easily cleaned out.

If your water feature is prone to algae, using an algaecide works wonders.  It is important to keep algae from clogging the plumbing, nozzles, filter, and pump.  Algaecide, if used regularly, only needs to be added every few weeks.

Beneficial dry bacteria is another excellent product that naturally eats algae out of your water feature.  Both algaecide and beneficial bacteria can be found at aquarium and pond supply stores.   Again, do not use chlorine to kill your algae as it will harm the components of your modern outdoor fountain. 


Don’t let all this article deter you. The work involved in keeping a modern outdoor fountain is quite minimal, and they are worth the effort. Well maintained, your modern water feature will last the life of your home and provide years of tranquil outdoor ambiance.