This Stunning Yard Feature Sets A Peaceful Tone At Home, According To Jenny Marrs

Front yards can often be one of the most important elements in making a great first impression, whether it's just for visitors or for potential buyers when selling a home. In a recent episode of HGTV's "Fixer to Fabulous," hosts Dave and Jenny Marrs transformed the front yard of a beautiful waterside log cabin, whose front walkway featured a large stone statue fountain. By replacing the outdated and overly formal fountain with a stylish bowl-shaped contemporary one, the Marrs were able to retain the serenity and beauty of a water feature in the middle of the yard — but use one much more in line with the style of the log cabin itself, as well as the surrounding wooded landscape. 

While the older fountain evoked a more Victorian aesthetic, the new one selected is geometric and minimalistic, while still being quite rustic. It allows water to flow gently and soothingly over its sides rather than spurting or spraying. In the episode, Jenny Marrs tells the homeowners, "I just love this fountain. It's so beautiful and peaceful and it really fits with the surroundings out here, because this whole place is so beautiful and peaceful."  

Marrs is correct: the new fountain aligns much better with the nature retreat feel of the entire property. Adding a water feature that truly and specifically fits your home like this can be a great way to maximize your front yard's beauty, but there are a few things to keep in mind, including both benefits and drawbacks. 

Is an outdoor water feature right for your yard?

Many yards, large or small, can benefit from the addition of an outdoor water feature, whether it is front and center like the one chosen by Dave and Jenny Marrs, or off to the side. Soothing water sounds are an excellent way to welcome guests to your home, and set a relaxing tone before they step inside. Choosing the right fixture and placement is important, however. If we look to the practice of Feng Shui for inspiration, the philosophy suggests that water features can have beneficial effects on the overall harmony of a home when placed correctly, but also greatly detract when placed improperly.

The water feature can be as large as a koi pond or as small as a bubbling birdbath or tabletop fountain, which are sold by a number of retailers like Pottery Barn, Wayfair, and Amazon. Fountains of all sizes can be found in various materials, price points, and design aesthetics, including more old-world statue fountains and modern, abstract designs. If space is at a premium, you can also install a wall-mounted fountain on the exterior of your house, a stone garden wall, or along a fence. For a budget-friendly custom approach, create a DIY water feature on your own using things like barrels, stones, plants, and a basic pump. 

A front yard water feature might not be right for you

While water features can be a beautiful addition to your front yard or home's entrance, keep in mind the additional energy needs of having a water feature, as well as possible maintenance. Most fountains recycle the water they use, but they do use some additional power to operate. Keeping filters and pumps clean of debris, and keeping them functional, can mean additional labor and expense. So can winterizing a water feature in colder climates. In addition, note that certain materials, like granite, may hold up better over time if you have harsher winters.  

You may also want to consider size and scale, as too large or too small a water feature can work against you in terms of curb appeal, either overwhelming or underwhelming the yard. Aim for a feature that is no taller than one-third of your home's height. The key to replicating Dave and Jenny Marr's successful front yard transformation lies not only in finding a water feature that fits the yard in scale, but also one that complements the home in terms of style and design. While their bold and large choice is perfect for that specific cabin, it would be less ideal outside a more contemporary ranch home. Single-story homes typically work better with something smaller and less of a focal point. It would also be a poor fit for a multi-story Italian Revival home, which may look excellent with something higher and more dramatic like the original statue fountain that Marrs removed.