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Design Toscano’s Winterizing Fountains and Statues
It is the time of year when the cold wind starts blowing leaves around the garden, signaling that it is time to prepare beloved garden art - our amazing fountains and statues - for the cold weather, ice and snow that we know is on its inevitable way.
Extreme and rapid changes in temperature and humidity may affect your garden decor adversely. Designer resin, designer stone resin (also known as MGO), fiberglass-reinforced resin, bonded marble resin and cast stone (concrete) all have an inherent tendency to expand and contract with climactic conditions.
Freezing and thawing water, which finds its way into crevices, can cause weakening and cracking of your fountain or statue as the water expands at freezing temperatures. Frost and fluctuating temperature changes can also affect the surface of fountains, statues, plinths and birdbaths.
Not just for statues and fountains: After I accidentally left a ceramic flowerpot still containing the potting mixture out all last winter, even in a sheltered spot, in the spring I found it split into two halves and it had lost its bottom!
Classic designs with European flair include estate-sized, double, triple or even four tier fountains such as our elegant "Medici Lion Four-Tier Fountain", KY2072 featuring an elegant antique stone finish. As water cascades from an acanthus urn crown and gently flows from each lion's head producing shimmering cascades of water and cool splashing sounds. This magnificent centerpiece for your garden is perfect to evoke serenity and a tranquil refuge.
In Late Autumn...
Of course the very best way to store outdoor fountains, statues, plinths or birdbaths is to remove them to a garage, shed, closet or a basement; after first disassembling and cleaning them so your favorite garden decor will be ready and waiting for you to display in the spring.
A few simple steps of seasonal maintenance will help preserve your investment in your garden for years to come...
Important Hint: Do Not Use Antifreeze in your fountain. Antifreeze is toxic to plants and wildlife and can damage your system.
The first step is to remove any decor such as plants, stones or fish. If there is a lighting system, remove it carefully, let it dry and place it in a bag, storing it somewhere it won't become damaged (and where you can find it again!)
Turtle statues are said to attract positivity and good luck and you can't help but smile whenever you look at our "Turtle Cove Cascading Sculptural Fountain", SS1646. This pair of unique turtles have shells that boast thousands of grouted mirrored glass mosaic pieces that reflect and glitter on a sunny day. This wonderful turtle fountain includes two giant shells that can be lit by the included LED light kit for a dramatic glow in the evening. Day or night you can enjoy the soft sounds of water music with our delightful Turtle Cove fountain.
At this time you can also scoop/wipe out any leaves, grass or debris.
Then you need to clear water from the pipes, pump, basins and hoses. If there is a drain plug, pull it out (and put in a bag right away.) You can let the pump run with the hose on the ground until the majority of the water is gone, or use a bucket, a shop vacuum (wet/dry vac), sponge or rags to absorb as much of the water as you are able.
Create your own little corner of paradise! If you've decorated your backyard like the tropics or with Polynesian island flavor, a tiki fountain like our "Aloha Tiki Cascading Garden Fountain", SS11521, is exactly what you need. Combining the cool sound of falling water with 3-tiered, LED illuminated basins, this grinning Tiki god fountain will attract notice and admiration day and night!
Hint: Before taking the pump apart, take a photo (or two) so you will know how to put it back together after cleaning.
Disconnect the power, if possible remove the pump, then take apart the pump and the hoses, let all the pieces air dry or use a leaf blower or an air compressor to blow out the water droplets. If the pump shows signs of green algae or mineral residue - clean with a soft brush or toothbrush with a mixture of water, white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. If it is still discolored, you can soak it in a bucket of the mixture or use a non-toxic fountain or birdbath cleaner. Rinse well.
Let dry and either put pump back together or store all the pieces of the pump together in a bag so everything will be handy for spring setup.
If you are unable to disassemble and store the fountain pieces inside, you still might be able to remove the crowning statue, small parts or finial, wrap these pieces carefully and store with the pump away from freezing water.
Hint: A small fountain or a birdbath bowl may be inverted so that water will not pool inside.
One of the most popular of Toscano's single tier fountains is the "Manneken Pis" or the "Peeing Boy of Brussels Piped Statue", NG33505 This delightful and mischievous sculpture with included UL-listed recirculating pump, shell basin and elevating plinth base, will bring classic art and humor to your home or garden. This Toscano exclusive is cast in quality designer resin and finished in faux stone. We've captured this icon of one of Europe's most beautiful cities while versions of his legendary story continue to multiply over the centuries. Manneken Pis ("little man pee" in Dutch), is a famous landmark and rite of passage for many European tourists, has stood near Brussels Town Hall since 1619.
Cleaning for Designer Resin and Designer Stone Resin
If your fountain is dirty you can wipe down the basins, statues and pieces of your fountain with a soft brush or sponge very carefully using only dish soap and water. Don’t use any abrasive cleaners. Always rinse. Pat or let air dry before storing or wrapping.
Repair for Designer Resin and Designer Stone Resin
Check for cracks or pockmarks, if you discover any you can buy a non-toxic "pool putty" or any type of product that is non-toxic and water safe, to fill them in and help prevent further damage.
Hint: Also spraying a fountain, and the basins when new - or at any time - with a non-toxic UV water sealant/clear coat will help to protect the finish from future damage.
Cleaning for Metal Fountains
Use a cleaner made for metal, and always check the instructions on the back of the product. Do not use vinegar or a rust cleaner. Coating the metal with a non-toxic beeswax, soy or coconut wax can be used to help protect the metal.
If you are contemplating the relaxing sound of water music and a peaceful atmosphere our "Rain Forest Leaves Metal Fountain", FU72447 would be a perfect choice. Evoking a tropical oasis in a sculpture, with the delightful sparkling of a water feature all-in-one fountain. At almost four-feet tall this all hand-crafted metal, bright silver garden water feature is unsurpassed, with water working its way from the tallest stylized, raindrop-shaped leaf, cascading endlessly down multi-levels, touching all fourteen leaves.
Cleaning for Marble or Stone
Do not use acidic cleaners on marble, stone or limestone! Please use a cleaner made for that particular type of stone, always checking the label first to see if it is safe.
For bonded marble resin, treat gently and wash with a soft sponge, cloth or soft brush using only water with a little clear dish soap (colored dish soap may leave stains).
If you are a dog lover we have many sculptural fountains with cute puppies and faithful dog companions. One exceptionally unique fountain is the "Quenching a Big Thirst Sculptural Dog Fountain", KY27148 which has a St. Bernard drinking from a bubbling park water fountain. A customer favorite, our too cute canine friend isn't the only one who will be attracted to the pleasant water melody of music bubbling as you sit relaxing by his side in the sun.
Wrapping or Covering
If you can't store your fountain inside, maybe you can move it to a sheltered location such as a sunporch, carport or overhang near the house. In these locations or if your fountain needs to remain in place, you will still need to cover and wrap your fountain to protect it from the elements.
Wherever you store your fountain, make sure it is not in a place where it will be sitting in water or ice. Consider raising it on patio blocks, bricks, blocks of wood or shims.
Cover the entire fountain with a fountain cover, UV stabilized breathable plastic or heavy-duty plastic sheeting and tie securely at the base with a rope or a bungee cord. Condensation droplets can form on the inside of the cover and to help protect any basin, shell or low point in the design, add toweling, blankets, burlap fabric or rags to aid in absorbing the moisture.
Sometimes you just need a refuge, a setting that reminds us of serenity and a tranquil calm. With a fountain like our Italian-inspired garden focal point, with spiritual appeal in our classic "Heavenly Moments Angel Sculptural Fountain", KY53002. A beautiful angel gazes at the playful cherubs in the midst of this nearly four-foot tall work of decorative garden art. You'll delight at hearing lyrical water music as it flows down the multi-tiers into the generous acanthus leaf basin that is all perched atop classic pedestal created with an antique stone-finished quality designer resin exclusively for Toscano. This Heavenly Moments Angel fountain will help to inspire you to further garden glories
Folklore tells us that gnomes originated as household spirits as they protected the house, crops and livestock; at night they might even tend your vegetable garden! If you've been searching for something unique and different - look no further than our amazing "Viking Victor Norse Dwarf Gnome Statue", QM2932200! Everyone who sees this noble gnome warrior is going to want to take him home, where he will do his best to defend your house and garden. As a symbol of good luck and a custodian of the earth, you can depend on Viking Victor!
While we expect the works of art we sell to be of the very best quality, Mother Nature can be quite tough on anything left exposed to the elements. Beside extreme and rapid changes in temperature and humidity, ice, frost and wind might just affect your garden décor adversely. Designer resin, designer stone resin (also known as MGO), fiberglass-reinforced resin, bonded marble resin and cast stone (concrete) have an inherent tendency to expand and contract with climactic conditions along with all other materials.
Hint: In a windy city or on a breezy balcony or terrace all statues should be secured or weighted down!
Seeking to forget makes exile all the longer;
the secret of redemption lies in remembrance.
—Richard von Weizsaecker (b. 1920)
Turn any space into a sacred place for spiritual contemplation and meditation with our exclusive "Remembrance and Redemption Angel Statue Collection ", Medium NG33765; Large, NG33660 and Grande, NE867229. Sculpted as an expression of hope and sorrow by artist Jaimy in an exquisite mid-18th century style, this Toscano masterpiece captures the undeniable spiritual grace of an angel with a blend of eloquence and sadness in a perfect expression. As a focal point, with elegant extended wings, this powerful moving spirit is crafted in quality designer resin and hand painted to resemble antique marble. Our beautiful garden angel memorial statue captures the expression of emotion to perfection.
Again, we strongly suggest that all portable statues, fountains, birdbaths and planters be lowered from their plinths and moved indoors to a closet or basement, second best is moving it into a garage or shed, in extremely inclement weather and freezing temperatures. The next best idea is to move it to a sheltered location such as a sunporch, carport or overhang near the house and covering it with a tarp to prevent water from collecting on the surface.
Wherever you store your garden art, make sure it is not in a place where it will be sitting in water or ice. Consider raising it on patio blocks, bricks, blocks of wood or shims.
Our lovely little "Frances the Flower Girl Statue", EU9294 will warm your heart with gladness. Our playful child statue is so full of joy, she is the perfect symbol of youth with a sculpted wicker basket by her side that can be filled with flowers, sedums, or a real or artificial plant. Superbly created exclusively for Design Toscano, and another customer favorite, sweet Frances will add her innocent beauty to your favorite garden spot.
If a statue is dirty you can wipe it down with a soft cloth, sponge or soft brush using just water with a little dish soap. Do not us anything abrasive. Rinse well and let dry before covering.
Statues with bowl-shaped designs or deep sculptural crevices can retain or collect water and should always be covered. If you can, turn upside down like a birdbath bowl, but remember to brace any small statues so they won't fall over.
The ideal solution is to cover your statuary from direct exposure to the winter elements with a cover made for statues or fountain use. Also you can use UV stabilized breathable plastic or heavy-duty plastic sheeting tied securely at the base with a rope or a bungee cord.
Condensation droplets can form on the inside of the cover and to help protect any basin, shell or low point in the design, you can add a towels or rags to aid in absorbing the moisture.
The most fun you can have in the garden is with the "Bigfoot the Garden Yeti Statue Collection", Medium DB383091, Large, DB383049 and Life-Size, NE110119. Let your neighbors and friends catch a glimpse of an elusive Sasquatch that they’ll never forget! This compelling, mythical icon has been captured for Toscano in a quality designer resin statue and hand-painted for startling realism. Become a legend in your own backyard with our "Bigfoot" hanging about in the bushes.
Toscano is known for its gargoyles and I have to mention one of my absolute personal favorites. A true purebred "Emmett the Gargoyle Statue", Small CL0883, Large JQ9425, boasts lineage as one of the original medieval creatures that pensively perched from European rooftop and turret. Our Toscano exclusive historic, muscular fellow is cast in quality designer resin with an aged and weathered gray stone finish for true authenticity. Own a classic gargoyle, Emmett will be there for you.
I hope that I've encouraged you to get your fountains and statues ready to enjoy at the first sign of Spring.
Enjoy the fall season!
Posted by Sue Mell