Even if you’re not literally seeing eye to eye with the neighbors, you might still be close enough to hear their conversation. Or you may be bothered by intrusive traffic noise or buzzing AC compressors. In such cases, adding a fountain to your privacy plan can mask unwanted sounds with pleasant white noise. These range from off-the-shelf, plug-in units that sit on a table or hang on the wall to custom designs that become a major focal point.
Keep in mind that flowing water becomes louder the farther it falls and the more tiers it travels over. Michael Glassman, a landscape designer in Sacramento, California, warns that it’s possible for a fountain to be too loud, which is just as disruptive as the noise you’re trying to hide. “The sound of rushing water might be inviting when guests arrive, but you don’t want to have to yell over the din at dinner,” says Glassman, who designed the wall and water feature shown here. All fountains have a recirculating pump, so if you get an adjustable one, you’re sure to find a sound level that’s soothing.