When some people think of escaping from the summer heat, they have visions of water crashing into the shore as they walk along a sandy beach. If time or circumstance doesn’t provide the opportunity for a getaway, a “stay-cation” may be the best alternative. Even if the beach isn’t just off the patio, there are various options that provide relief from the summer heat—such as swimming pools to the soothing sounds of water fountains. Stone complements a wide variety of water features—blending two of nature’s most amazing elements. Stone water fountains As water gently cascades from a spout into the awaiting basin below, the relaxing sound that results can calm the senses. Modern stone fountains are specifically designed to produce dramatic sound and visual effects; their current function is far removed from their original purpose—to provide drinking water. Decorative fountains are available in every imaginable size and shape. Commercially-produced water fountains are a viable choice for budget-minded consumers, and homeowners searching for a distinctive look can opt for custom designs sculpted from natural stone slabs. Marble water fountains can emulate the classic form of their ancient counterparts, while granite fountains offer an impressive array of alluring colors and styles. Water fountains have become so popular that designers and home renovators are choosing indoor fountains to enhance home décor. Smaller fountains can fit atop accent tables and larger ones can serve as focal points of living spaces. Slate is the stone of choice for wall-mounted fountains; its variations in hues and textures are perfect for bringing the best of nature indoors. Stone waterfalls A backyard waterfall is where stone and water meet art. Stone waterfalls mimic the sound of moving water from rivers and streams and provide stunning visual displays. Though similar to stone fountains, waterfalls are generally larger and include more intricate designs. Some waterfalls are standalone features while others flow into spas, ponds or swimming pools. Just as with indoor wall-fountains, many stone waterfalls are constructed of slate, but granite is also a good option, particularly for homeowners completing outdoor kitchen remodeling projects who want to coordinate their waterfalls with open air living spaces. Stone ponds and water gardens For homeowners with smaller backyards or for those who favor a more natural environment, a stone pond may be the right solution. With their calm waters, floral enhancements, and stone features, ponds and water gardens can add a sense of tranquility to any landscape. Constructing a stone pond or water garden requires finding an appropriate space in the yard, excavating the land, lining the resulting pit with sand and laying down a rubber liner. Landscapers and pond installers use stacking stones—generally made of granite or limestone—along with a concrete collar to hold the liner in place before adding water. Installing additional stones along the perimeter of the pond only increases its visual appeal. Aquatic plants such as lotuses and water lilies will make the pond a garden oasis. Homeowners renovating their living spaces often want a place to relax and unwind from the stresses of daily life. The simplicity of water, combined with the beauty of stone, can transform any space into a serene paradise.