To my mind there's nothing more relaxing than the sound of water cascading over boulders and rocks in a mountain stream -- I could sit and listen to that sound for hours (and I have). Just because most of us don't have a rushing water source in our back yards doesn't mean we can't get pretty close to that relaxing environment. Enter the garden fountain.
For example, this Bond Manufacturing Venice Garden Floor Fountain ($130). At slightly over a foot wide and deep, and two feet tall, the poly and stone resin garden fountain requires no plumbing to get it going -- fill it with water, plug it in, the water recirculates through the pots, and you have instant aquatic gratification. It's the right size to fit in a niche of a patio or back porch, or even on the steps to your front door, welcoming your visitors. There's no maintenance required for the fountain; just periodically top off the fountain.
For a healthy dose of meditative and lyrical water sounds, consider this Ridge Point Garden Fountain ($399); the hand-finished, durable resin construction beautifully replicates a fallen tree in a high mountain stream. Perfect for outdoor (or indoor) use, the bottom reservoir is softly illuminated by a long-life LED lamp; the hidden pump is UL-listed for all service.
If you're a fan of traditional fountains, this very nice fountain may be for you -- the Garden Classic 3-Tier Fountain ($150). Made with long-lasting outdoor resin materials, this garden fountain features the gold standard of 3 levels, fluted detailing, and a beautiful bronzed finish. The pump is concealed within the base and no exterior plumbing is required to get this garden fountain up and running.