Now that George Parker is retired, he and his wife spend a lot of time working in their yard.

Their backyard is nicely landscaped with flowers, shrubs and trees. They’ll often sit on the patio, sometimes with family or friends, enjoying the fruits of their labor. And nearby: the soothing sounds of trickling water in a three-tiered fountain.

“When it’s up and running it’s kind of a focal point,” Parker said. “It’s relaxing.”

The Twin Falls couple purchased the fountain several years ago when they lived in Arizona. In Grand Canyon State fashion, it’s decorated with a coyote and cactus. But it fits well with southern Idaho, too.

“We’ve got coyotes here,” Parker said.

Even in dry southern Idaho, water fountains have become popular in recent years, said Travis Mallory, garden manager of Southern Idaho Landscape Center in Filer. They come in a variety of styles — cottage, old English, Mediterranean or looking like natural rock — and are fairly easy to install and manage.

Some tips:

• If you plan to put a fountain in a flower bed or garden, make sure the ground is level so that water flow is even. This often requires preparing some sort of platform or base.

• Treat water with chlorine or another algae-killing substance to prevent unwanted buildup.

• In winter, remove the pump, drain the water and cover the fountain. Many of today’s fountains, such as the ones the Filer store sells by Henri Studios, are made to better withstand cold temperatures. Otherwise, depending on its size, you might be able to store your fountain in a garage or shed.

Fountains cost anywhere from $100-plus to more than $1,000, depending on brand and style. The more falls a fountain has, the more water sounds you’ll get. But no matter what kind you buy, it likely will stand out amidst your home’s landscaping. Fountains add character to yards, Mallory said.

Greg Wills landscaped the front yard of his TwinFalls home with a pond and waterfalls surrounded by small bushes and bell-shaped fountains. He and his wife often sit on the porch in the evenings and relax with the sounds of moving water.

“Water features are nice, if done right,” he said. “It has nice curb appeal.”

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