Sage Outdoor Designs » landscape design

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Modern fountain: the vertical trough

Not enough space, isn’t that always the issue? 

I started to fall for these vertical trough fountains for practical reasons, because they are such a great way to have an impressive fountain without needing a lot of space on the ground plane. Because the material used for the background is smooth, the water sticks to it and gently gurgles down, without splashing (No splashing means the basin at the bottom can be quite small). In all three of these gardens, the designers chose steel for the background material (two are Cor-Ten, the other is a steel I-beam). But now, my interest has now gone past the practical. I love how this design juxtaposes two planes and forces you to think in three dimensions. I love how calm it is. I love the sense of place it creates. And, that it works for very modern designs or for more classic ones.

I think I need a client who needs one of these… Any volunteers?

To give credit where credit is due:

1) The first and last images are by Thuilot Associates, whose work is just gorgeous in this organic modern style, very soft and approachable
2) The second garden is by Blasen Landscape Architecture. Their website is not very user-friendly, but have patience with it. The chance to see their work is worth the effort.
3) The last image is from the Sunset Idea House in San Francisco, and they have a lot more images of the garden, and other great eco-inspired design tips in this article. And a video tour, here.

© Kate Wiseman 2010. In San Diego? Want your own waterwise landscape design? I’d love to help! Please visit for more info.

Sage Outdoor Designs is a San Diego landscape design firm. Kate
Wiseman, the Principal, has been a San Diego landscape designer
for the past ten years. Find out more at