I was so excited to move into new house recently; I had endless plans of what color scheme to give each room, exactly which vegetables and herbs I wanted to plant in my large and fertile backyard, and exactly where I wanted to put the decorative water fountain I had brought with me from the small apartment I had lived in prior. The only problem was that the space I had chosen for my fountain wound up being nowhere near the source of power necessary to plug in the old, outdated beast. But I’m tenacious, and I needed a fountain, so I had an idea...

I took to the Internet to find an extension cord that was long enough to plug it in but that wasn’t the traffic-cone orange types you find in stores. I found a number of indoor cords that were the perfect brown to hide underneath the recycled bark I had picked out with the intention of Xeriscaping, but they were too short and not graded for weather and water, so I was back at square one. Still unwilling to take “no” for an answer, I started asking around and found something even better than a cord long enough to run my inefficient enemy.

A solar-powered water fountain

It was such a perfect solution that I couldn’t believe I had ever even considered using something hardwired instead. The idea of using a solar fountain not only solved the issue of aesthetics, but it also offered an ecological and economical upgrade when compared to the plug from before. After a bit of research, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on solar yard décor. I think I’ve finally narrowed down which one I’ll pick for my yard; now I want to help you pick, too! By explaining the ecological, economical, and environmental benefits of solar fountains, I intend to show you why it’s worth making a change.

The design selection for solar fountains is similar to that of hardwired fountains. There are traditional styles, as well as options with a more modern feel. When making the final choice, the decision can be narrowed down by visual appeal, and is no longer held back by whether or not the placement is near a plug, or if you can find an acceptable way to hide an extension cord. And while solar water fountains might be harder to find in local hardware shops, there are a number of online resources that offer various styles, a wealth of information, and sometimes, free shipping.

Here’s why you should go solar

First and foremost, a solar-powered fountain is going to help you reduce your global carbon footprint with regards to both power and water consumption, which is pretty amazing. There’s a solar cell that runs the motor instead of a plug, so it uses zero electricity, which means no coal being burned to supply it with life. All it takes is the solar panel attached to the top. Some of them are able to run for nearly ten hours on a single charge. And instead of a hose or water connection, most fountains have hidden reservoirs, which just recycle the water endlessly after you fill them once. It’s virtually self-sustaining after the initial set-up, which means that you can focus your energy and resources on more important areas—like growing all those veggies!

Secondly, once you’ve purchased the fountain, it’s pretty much zero cost from then on; no power and no constant water supply means no money spent on running the thing. It’s essentially a no-cost fountain at that point, so go ahead and think of it as free! (Sort of.) It may be easy to forget something like an outdoor water feature when you’re calculating your monthly spend, but the wattage on some of the hardwired ones are similar to space heaters, which suck power hungrily if you aren’t careful about monitoring them. And while not all solar fountains consume that much power, the fact of the matter is that any amount adds up over time, compared to zero.

The last important reason to go solar was something I hadn’t really thought about until I read it in some of the reviews I came across, but birds prefer solar fountains—honest! I think it has to do with the fact that the solar cell battery is much quieter than a lot of the hardwired motors, so the only noise it makes is that of the water, which is really nice. And if it means I can provide a place for the local wildlife to stop and get a drink or take a quick bath before setting off, that’s a great thing.

It’s a no-brainer

At this point there is no question—as soon as I clear the space and get the rest of the yard organized, I’m placing my order. And if you look around a bit you’ll see that there are sculptures and other yard features that are available as solar rather than battery-powered or hardwired, so there’s pretty much no excuse when it comes to making the change. The number of options for art and lighting is almost overwhelming; now the only problem is finding enough free space to put all of them in.