Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Warm weather allure on your outside deck moves an atmospheric notch when you install soft ambient deck lighting. Evening meals "out on the deck"...reading...listening to music...even adding a soft glow to outdoors deck camp outs for the kids all the more possible with the latest generation of long-life easy-to-install outdoor deck lights designs.
Deck Post Lights - With Optional Light Sensor Controls. Any number of deck post light designs can be used to increase outdoor ambience and day-to-night use. Think of flood lights...lantern designs set in as deck post lights or wall mounted...quartz flood lights...LED deck lights. Dawn-to-dusk adaptation becomes a cinch with the use of high tech hi-lo light sensor units...saving energy when you need to, or providing motion detection when people enter the deck area. Deck lamps can be post-mounted, screwed into the deck directly, or wall mounted too adapt to any outdoor lighting need.
Deck Step Lights. Deck stair lights are critical for night time safety. Homeowners should consider a pattern of deck stair lights, with two fixtures on the opposite ends of wide stairs over 6 to 8 feet, or a single center-positioned deck step light for narrower deck stairs.
LED Deck Lighting. Recessed deck lighting got a design boost with the advent of solar powered LED deck lighting systems. A simple kit for 1 or multiple lighting points, LED deck lighting designs exploit the "free energy" from the sun...charging up in under 4 hours...generating up to 12 hours of subtle low-wattage lighting...and the Big Winner is that you're entirely free of troublesome wires and the associated additional wiring costs. Several solar panels "collect" energy during the day. You can program the LED deck lights to come on automatically, or use a remote control for when-needed lighting control.
Low Voltage Deck Lighting. Is your deck shaded and limited in terms of capturing sunlight? If so then the alternative to solar deck lighting is hard-wired low voltage deck lighting. You'll get 100% guaranteed deck light-on-demand with the flick of a wall switch. Around 10 watts of power running through halogen bulbs gives you complete control over your deck lighting needs. Design materials include the range of copper, wood, bronze and mixed materials. Some individual low voltage deck lights can be screwed directly into the deck, be grounded and placed along garden pathways.
Solar Deck Lighting. Residential deck and stairs or even large landscape lighting needs are well met by the new breed of 2 to 4 watt solar deck lighting designs. Typically fabricated in long life anodized metal, solar deck post lights weight less than 2 pounds...each can be located exactly where you need it...self-contained with discrete solar panels combining with LED intensive lights...plus, the huge advantage of "no messy wires and connections" to be made. Charging time of 4 hours equals sufficient stored energy to run for up to 12 hours.
Recessed Deck Lighting - Subtle Designing With Light. In deck lighting, while custom in design and installation, creates the most subtle yet safe way to locate deck lighting so that you and your friends can comfortably see...yet not be blinded. Recessed deck lighting systems safely trail connective wires below the deck, and eye line. Once wired in to a nearby switch box, recessed deck lighting fixtures carry a protective cap so that the accidental step from kids, dogs or guests causes no harm. Alternative to wires? Look into the range of solar deck lights, especially recessed deck lighting kits...easy to install, weather resistant.
Learn More About Deck Lighting Designs, Deck Stair Lights, Solar And LED Deck Lighting And Much More.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Rome, viewed as a silhouette from Janiculum Hill, represents an array of broken marble columns and temple ruins, giant clusters of exceptional architecture, with St Peter's dome and the Roman Forum, capping a shimmering city of urban noises. Cars, taxis, and motor scooters stuff the streets and blow horns, with sidewalks densely packed with pedestrians, and crowdy cafes offering the empblematic cappuccino of the day. The tourists batlle crowds and traffic, carving their way to Renaissance spots and Baroque edifices only to plunge deeper, into famous ruins of antiquity. Rome is also a reputed site for giant political scandals, corruption, flaws, and is known as Tangentopoli, the bribe city, annually sending numbers of government bureaucrats to jail. Nevertheless, this is the site containing the Colosseum and the Pantheon, St. Peter's Basilica and the Trevi Fountain, sites merely described as 'compelling.'
The Vatican Museums, a gigantic repository of treasures encompassing antiquity to the Renaissance, is housed in a labyrinthine series of elaborate palaces, apartments, and galleries leading to the Sistine Chapel. The site occupies part of the papal palaces constructed from the 13th century onward. After climbing a spiral ramp, one is led into the Borgia Apartments, lavishly frescoed with biblical scenes by Pinturicchio of Umbria. The rooms were designed for Pope Alexander VI. The end of the Raphael Rooms culminates in the Chapel of Nicholas V, a chamber frescoed by Dominican monk Fra Angelico. Then comes the Chiaramonti Museum, an establishment founded by Pope Pius VII. The museum includes the Corridoio, or Corridor, the Galleria Lapidaria, plus the Braccio Nuovo, with the Corridor hosting an exposition of more than 800 Greek-Roman artifacts, including statues, reliefs, and sarcophagi. Galleria Lapidaria contains about 5,000 Christian and pagan inscriptions, plus an array of Roman sculpture and copies of Greek originals. The Braccio Nuovo, erected as an extension of the Chiaramonti, features The Nile, a reproduction of a long-lost Hellenistic original, a paradigmatic example of antique sculpture. The Collection of Modern Religious Art, a museum opened in 1973, represents American artists' invasion of the Vatican. The site comprises 55 rooms, with 12 of them being devoted to American artists, such as De Chirico and Manzù. The site also holds Georges Rouault, Picasso, Gauguin, Chagall, Henry Moore and Kandinsky art. The Egyptian-Gregorian Museum represents a careful showcase of sarcophagi, mummies, vases, statues of goddesses, jewelry, sculptured pink-granite statues, and heaps of hieroglyphics.
The Etruscan-Gregorian Museum, founded by Gregory XIV in 1837, and continuously supplemented to ever since, provides a complete collection of Etruscan art. The site includes sarcophagi, bronzes, urns, jewelry, a chariot and terra-cotta vases. The Regolini-Galassi tomb, an acclaimed exhibit unearthed in the 19th century at Cerveteri, is displayed along the Mars of Todi, a bronze sculpture dating from the 5th century B.C. The Ethnological Museum provides an ensemble of artworks and objects from all over the world, the principal route being a 5km stroll through 25 geographical sections, showing objects that cover 3,000 years of world history. The Historical Museum outlines the story of the Vatican, exhibits arms, uniforms, armory, typically from the early Renaissance period and displays the carriages used by popes and cardinals in religious processions.
Rome's Pinacoteca or Picture Gallery houses paintings and tapestries from the 11th to the 19th centuries. The site holds oldest picture at the Vatican, this being s keyhole-like wood panel depicting the Last Judgment, a 11th century work. Another landmark object is the Stefaneschi Triptych, the six panels crafted by Giotto and his assistants. Here is Bernardo Daddi's example of early Italian Renaissance art par excellence, the "Madonna del Magnificat". The site holds works by minituarist Fra Angelico, a15th-century Dominican monk, with his important "Virgin with Child". The Raphael salon includes three paintings by the Renaissance master, namely "Coronation of the Virgin", "The Virgin of Foligno", and the "Transfiguration", a work completed shortly before his death. The rooms keep eight tapestries crafted by Flemish weavers from Raphael sketches. The place holds Leonardo da Vinci's uncompleted "St. Jerome with the Lion" plus Giovanni Bellini's "Pietà" and Titian's major piece "The Virgin of Frari", along with Caravaggio's Baroque piece "Deposition from the Cross".
Pio Clementino Museum includes a collection of immediately recognisable Greek and Roman sculptures, including the Belvedere Torso, a semi-preserved Greek statue from 1st century B.C., and a paragon for Renaissance artists. The rotunda contains a large gilded bronze of Hercules from 2nd century B.C. The remaining sculptures are set under porticoes opening onto the Belvedere courtyard. "Laocoön and His Two Sons", the 1st century sculpture which immensely inspired Michelangelo, plus the Apollo Belvedere, the late Roman reproduction of a 4th century BC Greek work, are also displayed here. There sculptures have grown into symbols of classic male beauty, outrivaling Michelangelo's David.
The Raphael Rooms, comprising a series of rooms in the apartments of Pope Julius II, which the artist was commissioned to fresco, trace his work from 1508 to 1524. The rooms, representing the typical Renaissance blend of classic beauty and realism, include the the Stanza dell'Incendio, a showcase of Raphael's pupils' work, and one master piece, the fresco across from the window. Here one can distinguish the figure of partially draped Aeneas rescuing his father. The next and major salon, the Stanza della Segnatura, includes predominantly pieces by Raphael, including the School of Athens, one of his landmark works, depicting Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates. The majority of the figures in actuality are portraits of major Renaissance artists, including Bramante (as Euclid in the right), Leonardo da Vinci (as Plato, pointing heavenward), and Raphael himself (looking out from a corner). Raphael, after having viewed the progress of Michelangelo's work on the Sistine Chapel, added a sulking Michelangelo to the School of Athens. The Sala di Constantino, completed by his students after Raphael's death, includes a loggia designed after Raphael's sketches, and frescoed with more than 50 Biblical scenes crafter by his students.
The Sistine Chapel, frescoed by Michelangelo in his 30s, was a project commanded by Julius II. The Florentine master, regarding himself a sculptor, not a painter, was immensely contemptuous of this particular artform, ceiling frescoes, and was further irritated that he had to stop work on the pope's tomb. After having labored for four years (1508-12), and permanently damaged his eyesight, Michelangelo completed nine panels, dealing with the Genesis subject matter, and surrounded them with prophets and sibyls. Here are the panels detailing Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden, as well as those depicting the creation of man. In his sixties, Michelangelo began the "Last Judgment" on the altar wall. Working against his wishes, Michelangelo depicted a more jaundiced view of people, with God sitting in judgment and sinners being plunged into hell'd mouth. The side walls include frescoes by other Renaissance masters, such as Perugino, Signorelli, Botticelli, Pinturicchio, Roselli, and Ghirlandaio. The clusters of male nudes decorating the corners of the ceiling were grandly controversial when initially displayed.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
When you are looking for large bold plants, suited to mass plantings, then the Miscanthus family of ornamental grasses could easily fit the bill. These low maintenance plants will integrate well in a mixed or perennial border as well. Miscanthus easily tolerates heat and humidity, so is an extremely good choice for warmer regions. It is hardy in zones 4 or 5 through 9, so can be used extensively.
These bold ornamental grasses are clump-forming, so will not be invasive. The flowers of all species and varieties are fan shaped panicles that add an airy graceful touch to the fall borders. Use the flowers to add to your cut bouquets as well. The tall stalks which hold the flowers remain upright over winter, giving your garden and border some interesting highlights in an otherwise barren season.
The three main species of Miscanthus are:
Miscanthus floridulus. Known as giant Chinese silver grass, this has tall clumps of green leaves with gracefully arching tips. The tall stalks support reddish-pink flower spikes that open to silvery plumes as they mature. Tolerating poor soil and even shade, this 3 foot tall specimen can even be used as a screen or living fence.
Miscanthus sacchariflorus. Giant silver grass (Robustus) quickly forms a patch of tall corn-stalk like stems, with graceful arching foliage resembling bamboo. The silvery plumes turn reddish as they mature, and the foliage also turns an interesting red-orange in the fall. The roots of this variety do tend to run, so be careful where you locate it. It is suited to a waterside location as it prefers a rich and moist to wet soil.
Miscanthus sinensis.The Japanese silver grass is probably the most common Miscanthus, with a superb group of specimens, most ranging 5 - 6 feet tall. All of them bloom in fall, holding their shape well into winter. The foliage fades into tan and cream shades, so is a nice contrast to winter evergreens. Some of the most popular sinensis varieties are:
Zebrinus: Bright green leaves with horizontal bands of yellow. Tiny copper tassel like flowers open to silvery white plumes in the fall. Zebra grass grows to 5 - 7 feet and may need staking.
Variegatus: Variegated silver grass has distinct striped green and white leaves in an arching clump. It has creamy plumes in September, and with a height of 5 - 6 feet, makes a bold statement.
Silberfeder: Silver feather grass is an older selection with shimmery white plumes held high above the foliage on tall stems.
Purpurascens: Known as flame grass, this ornamental grass has upright clumps of green leaves that turn flame-orange and red in fall. Spikes of rose flowers show in August.
Gracillimus: Maiden grass has long arching and narrow green leaves that curl towards the tips. Not a reliable flowering type in cooler areas.
Morning Light: This variegated maiden grass is similar to gracillimus, but has a narrow band of white on the leaf margins, giving a silvery shimmering effect. Its late showing flowers are bronze-red spikes.
Many other varieties of this ornamental grass are available. If you are looking for a taller clumping grass to add a striking and bold accent to your gardens, then look no farther than the Miscanthus species.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Southeast governs Wealth and Prosperity. It is important that this area is adequately activated if you are looking to achieve monetary gain. Also remember to activate the other sectors in your home that have any relationship to money. Think about it... if you are in a dead end, low paying job... this directly effects your Wealth, right? So by activating these other areas, perhaps things will change. These areas include: Career (North), Education (NE), Mentors (NW) and even Recognition and Fame (South). If you wish, you can also get a "double dip" by making sure the Personal Development and Success areas based on your personal KUA number is covered as well.
Clear the Clutter. If you have been following the last couple of newsletters, you HAD to know I would say this again! J Because clutter is said to block the flow of positive chi, you need to try and clear as much clutter out of your home as you can. This means things shoved under beds, in corners, etc. Believe me... I KNOW this works - if you clear the clutter and follow the other guidelines I give you, you should notice a difference! How about setting some things aside that you never use and never will use... and give them to charity? Or how about having a garage sale? Then... there is always Ebay!
Choose Your Colors Wisely. The element for the Southeast is Small Wood, so it is important that the colors in this area reflect that element. Wood element colors are Light green and brown. You may also use blue in this area because it is a water element color and water enhances the wood element. Be careful not to use metal or fire colors in this sector - such as metallic, gold, silver, bronze or red. If you do, use them sparingly and make sure that the item you are using has to do with Wealth and Prosperity if at all possible.
Object Placement in the Southeast Sector. It is important what pictures and objects that you have in this sector as they are said to directly influence your wealth and prosperity. If you have a lot of fire or metal items in this area, move them to a different sector such as the South (fire) or West and NW (metal). In this area, try to stay with items that symbolize wood as much as possible.
Here are some ideas of items that you can place in this area that represent Wealth and Prosperity and/or the Wood Element.
Woody, stalky plants or shrub like plants are good to represent the wood element in this sector. Plants such as Lucky Bamboo or Money Tree plants are excellent here!
We offer several wealth enhancement items that are best placed in this area. You may view all these items by going to: Wealth / Prosperity Enhancement Tools.
Place a set of 3 coins tied with red ribbon on the doorknob on the inside of your front door. This is symbolic of money staying in your home. Never put these coins on a back door - put them on the front door whether you use it as an entry door or not.
Hang a bell on the other side of your front door to welcome the positive chi into your home.
Place a statue of a Buddha directly across from your front door. In this position, he is said to welcome the positive chi and disburse it throughout your home. Do not place the Buddha on the floor as this is a sign of disrespect.
If you have a window in the Southeast, hang a beautiful crystal there or you can also hang one of our unique Prosperity Enhancing Chi Energizers which has six I-Ching Coins on it along with the large crystal. Crystals attract positive chi and are excellent items to use in your Wealth Sector.
Create a Wealth Vase. A wealth vase can be very simply made with a nice crystal bowl or vase and by placing items that represent wealth in it. Some items you may want to use could be coins, ingots, semi precious stones, expensive jewelry, etc. Keep this out of site in a drawer or cupboard as this is not supposed to be seen by others.
Set up a Terrapin Bowl in the Southeast or the North. Terrapins aka turtles are said to bring extreme good luck and fortune to a home. You can either use a real turtle or a ceramic one. You can find a small crystal bowl, place a mound of rocks or pebbles in it, add water, and place the turtle in it. Be creative... make it beautiful - and don't forget to change the water periodically to make sure it is fresh.
Place a 3 legged money frog right inside your front door, facing into the house. I also have several smaller money frogs that I place under furniture and other inconspicuous places in my home. You may also put another one diagonally across from it - not facing the front door - but off to the left or right of the opposite wall that your front door is on.
Place a pair of Fu Dogs on either side of your front door as they are said to protect the family wealth.
Use Aromatherapy to create positive chi in this sector as well as to dispel any negative chi. I use essential oils DAILY in my Wealth Sector and I cannot recommend them strongly enough to use in your home!
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Light has been a part of our lives for centuries. However, the electric light bulb that we use today is a relatively new creation. Long before the light bulb came on the scene, people were using torches to light their homes.
The first lamps
In early times, torches were used to illuminate people's homes. Torches soaked in pitch were found to burn nicely and create a bright light just as a stone fireplace did.
When the pitch wasn't available, they often used something else that wouldn't burn to coat the wood, with grease or tallow being the next choices. This allowed the torch to not only burn brighter, but also to burn longer.
What was the reason for this? There was more pitch in a torch than there was in a piece of wood used for kindle light. This brought forth the idea that only the pitch or the tallow could be used.
Thus, people then decided to place the pitch or tallow into a stone cup and then setting it on fire. Besides eliminating the wood entirely, these first lamps burned much longer than a stick of kindle light.
Solving the soot problem
Once people figured out how to have light for longer periods of time without the wood, there was another problem - the lamps smoked terribly, at least as bad as having a fireplace surround going.
What caused the smoke? Something was not burned up entirely. When an item is burned, part of it burns away and the rest goes up as smoke. The smoke was not burning from the wood, but instead the leftover bits of carbon.
Fire needs air. In order for the wood or other material to burn cleanly, the amount of air has to be regulated. Not enough air and the wood does not burn.
Too much air and the fire goes out. Soot in the lamps comes from whatever material is burning. When a lamp is trimmed like it should be, it does not smoke.
Primitive lamps did not burn cleanly. They used up too much oil at a time, so a lot was left over as soot. In order to slow down that burning process, the wick was invented.
Wicks were made up of numerous threads, all tied to tubes that soaked up the oil. This allowed the oil to burn more slowly and kept the smoke to a minimum.
Early lamps with wicks were simply bowls of oil with a wick stuck into the middle. Vegetable oil was commonly used, brought from the Orient to Europe, as were many stone fireplace designs as well.
Solving the wick problem
One problem with the wick was that it burned down over time, requiring someone to pull it out. To do this more easily, a new lamp was designed with a spout that the wick was inserted into. It looked more or less like a teapot, though some lamps would have multiple spouts coming from them.
The multi-spouted lamps were then hung like chandeliers from the ceiling, with a bowl hanging underneath them to prevent the oil from dripping. All that needed to be done to keep the light burning was to add fresh oil and wicks as necessary.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Wall fountains fiberglass offer the perfect combination of aesthetics, durability and economy. These features contribute to one of the most popular materials for fiberglass fountains.
Fiberglass is a translucent material that adapts very well lighting. By day it shimmers in the sun to provide research for a polished facade. During the night, with the right lighting contributed to dazzle the eye. Some ofspectacular fountains in the world are aided technology using optical fibers. The result is a nice feature breathtaking, the water fountain is just about boiling, splashing, gurgling, a work of art. Fiberglass is also able to replicate the look of other materials such as stone slate and cast a high level. Indeed, the similarity between fiber glass and a wall fountain made of stone or stone Wall Fountain is almost impossible to say,unless you actually touch! The resemblance is incredible.
An economical choice
Fiberglass is the cheapest choice of material for those who add a fountain wells without the high price that some tags are attached to elaborate. Fiberglass is easy to maintain even the appearance of fountains makes this high, but low maintenance. In contrast to materials like bronze, the duty of maintenance is equal to its price in the form of heavyfiberglass cleaning and polishing mop does not require any fastest way to remove dust and dirt. Another reason why fiber is so cheap is its low weight. This makes it easy to assemble. The installation will not cost as much as something like a shaft of granite, because the process does not use heavy machinery to lift the material. The process is also faster and saves time.
Durability of fiberglass wall fountain
Do not be deceived bytranslucent texture. Fiberglass is strong as steel. In fact, you can expect to hold fiberglass wall fountain for your value or your inner garden for many, many years to come. This type of material is also non-corrosive properties.
When you sit, as the purchase of an asset because of the cost could fiberglass the perfect choice. With new innovative technologies that add to the capacity of fiber glass' to mimic other more desirableSearch for materials such as stone, you are sure, fiberglass is a selection of wall fountains that are not only inexpensive and durable but also aesthetically.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Things to Consider
A great deal about fountains has changed over the last decade. Now there are really high class ones made of copper, bronze, concrete, and stone, and some fairly nice ones made of resin and fiberglass. There are several things to consider, though. As a pump wholesaler, I speak with fountain owners all the time and also look at lots of samples of fountains at trade shows and in magazines. Before purchasing a fountain, there are quite a few questions to ask. What looks good in a store might not look good at your home or business. Or it might look good for the first month or year but then you'll get tired of it. Fountains are usually around for a long time; in fact, concrete and stone ones last centuries and are hard to remove once they're installed. Here are things to consider.
These are at the high end of fountains, and can retail for ten to twenty thousand dollars. They are plain classy. But will one of these fit in where you want to put it? Do you have the right yard or business or location for such a classic kind of display? Also, do you like the aging process (the verdigris patina) that bronze undergoes. Can you afford one of these? If you answered yes to these questions, a bronze fountain might be right for you. It will last your lifetime, your kids' lifetimes, their kids' lifetimes, etc. And they are durable enough to be moved from house to house.
Like bronze fountains, these too tend to be classy, especially the name brand ones like Water Wonders, which mix copper with glass and slate. These make especially nice wall fountains. We have been selling Water Wonders fountains for several years at Fountain Mountain. There are certain things to think about, though. Are you locating the fountain in a room with good acoustics? Some rooms make the pump noise really echo, especially small rooms with walls that are close together. Do you know someone or can you hire an electrician to hide the cord in the wall? These fountains are a bit too expensive to buy if you're going to let the cord run outside the wall for everyone to see. Finally, it is a good idea to go listen to them run at a store before purchasing. Some of them make little water noise and some make a lot. To increase water sound you might have to turn up the pump to the point of there being slight splash. But if you are careful and go to a store with Water Wonders or other copper fountains on display before purchasing, and are happy with what you see and hear, these are great fountains.
These still provide the most bang for the buck, primarily because concrete is so inexpensive. In fact, a huge part of the cost of concrete fountains is in transporting them to stores for sale and in the labor of painting them. The concrete itself is the least expensive part of the fountains' manufacture. There are some differences in how they are made, though. Some companies, like Brandelli's, use a "light" mix: their fountains are not nearly as heavy as those produced by, say, Avila's. Also, some companies like Brandelli's, use a stain over concrete, whereas others, like Avila's or Lomelli's, use paints (usually more than one at a time) or stains. Also, most concrete companies (though not all) reinforce their fountains with steel. This makes them strong but also means the concrete must be sealed. If not painted (as most fountains from Mexico are not), then they do need to have a clear sealant put on them. Otherwise the water will seep through to the steel, which will rust. Eventually, the fountain is likely to crack. One final word of advice on concrete, beware of "cute." Cute fountains (mama dogs with baby dogs, boys peeing) sometimes don't look so cute over time. Ask yourself if you'll still think the fountain is cute years later. Remember, concrete fountains can last hundreds of years. And they are difficult to move so pick something that will stay put. The traditional Italian 3-tier fountain is always a safe bet.
Resin and Fiberglass Fountains
The quality of these has gotten a lot better, and they have the clear advantage of being more easily handled than concrete ones. Some do look like concrete and stone, though they tend to look much more realistic at first glance than they do after a week has passed. Then it is pretty clear that they are faux. These are also a lot easier on employees who work in tores, as they don't have to worry as much about their backs. We would sell these at our store but just don't like their looks as well as the real thing.
These look incredibly good or mediocre. The handcrafted stone fountains out of Mexico and many of the large ones out of China are beautiful. But there are also mass-produced stone fountains, which use crushed stone mixed with resin. These just don't look like real stone to us even though they are.
Making Your Own Water Fountain
There are lots of ways to make your own fountains. The easiest way, perhaps, is to place a pump in a small tub or on some liner. Then place a wire or plastic grate on top of the tub or the liner, and layer pebbles, rocks, etc. over the wire or plastic grate. Your pump and plumbing will be hidden! No one will no where your water is coming from. You can then connect black PVC piping to the pump (black sprinkler pipe is incredibly inexpensive yet professional looking) and let the water rise up seemingly out of rocks in your yard. You won't have to worry much about pets as the water source is covered with stones. Likewise, you won't have to worry about kids drowning. You can also build a little waterfall over such a pit if you want, just throwing in boulders to hide your electric and tubing, etc. Some people use bamboo for spouts. You can also drill holes through slate (we've found it's really easy if you soak the slate for a day first). Slate is so porous, however, you ought to seal it once you're done drilling. You can also find rocks in nature that already have holes in them.
How Big of a Pump do I need?
Basically, if you buy a fountain at a store you should have instructions on the best size pump for that particular piece of garden art. If you are making your own fountain, here is a rule of thumb: for every inch of width you need to pump 100 gallons per hour. But note that a100 gallon per hour pump is not pumping the same volume at one foot head (elevation above the pump), two feet head, three feet, and so forth. If you are making your own fountain, it is likely you will have to guess which size to buy, and you might be wrong the first time you build one. Most pumps are adjustable but often can be adjusted down only a bit. However, magnetic-driven pumps, the most common kind, are inexpensive and durable. You can find them online at many wholesale pumps outlets.