Building a Garden Fountain

No matter the size of your garden, every garden offers the opportunity of a water feature. The secret to success is to ensure that there is a balance between the size and culture of your garden, and that of the water feature you desire. Before jumping in to start digging, explore your garden for the best location to place the showcase, and do some proper planning concerning the building materials you want to use in the project. Before continuing with the project, you need to consider a few things. Except for the size and style of your water feature, it is important to deliberate on the implications your feature may have. When it accompanies a lot of digging, how you will use the soil retrieved, will the noise be disturbing to the neighbours, or create safety issues for your children? There are typically two styles of water features, formal, and informal. Determining the style you wish to engage will depend by the age of you home, the style, and size of your garden, and your personal preferences. The location in your garden will have an implication as well, in addition to the time you are willing to contribute on maintenance in the future.


Is the purpose to beautify an area or to create a spot of relaxation? Do you want it to be visible from the house as an artistic contribution to your environment, or do you want it to be part of a secluded personal spot? Once you decide where you want to construct your feature, it is important to look at the terrain for factors which could cause difficulties when the building commences. You need to take into account the slope of the ground, underground sewage or power lines, and how you will connect to the electrical power. Look for potential problems and calculate how they will affect your project. Avoid areas with trees or plants with sharp root systems, such as bamboo, as the roots may penetrate and disturb the integrity of the design. When defining the perfect spot determine the setting of the sun on your feature. The most beneficial placement will be where it receives full sun in the morning and late afternoon, with only shaded sunshine during the day. Ensure that there is just enough shelter and shade surrounding the area to offer you a relaxed, personalized spot in the garden.

Plan, design, and prepare

Investigate the terrain you want to utilize for your water feature. View the area that you have selected as the desired location from all viewpoints, determine if it has sufficient wind shelter, or space for seating to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. You need to establish the necessary safety precautions you will have to take concerning the kind of ground you are going to build in. Educate yourself with the building materials you can use, the availability, and the pros and cons of each method. It is helpful to visualize the planned construction, by imitating it with a mock up for a few days in the spot you are planning to construct it. This visualization will permit you to get a feeling of how it will work in your garden set up, and if you need to alter the design and or size. When you are visualizing the size of your project, you need to anticipate the dimensions of the building material as well. Remember to add pipes and hoses to your design, confirming that it fits to the connection points mounted on your pump. Electrical cable isolation is possible with water pipes, alternatively you can use reinforced hose for this purpose.

Once you have your design completed, you can start your calculations on the amount of building materials you require to complete the job. Contact various suppliers with a full list to obtain quotes. However, never accept to purchase any substance without physically inspecting the material, confirming that it meets your expectations. Set delivery dates and put yourself to action. While on a shopping spree, ensure that you have all the tools you need to accomplish your goal.


If you thought it was hard work to do the design and plan this venture, well the fun is about to start, time to get dirty. If you have prepared a sunken design, you need to remember to adjust the depth of the hole you are about to dig with the dimensions of the building material. To mark your stencil on the ground where you need to put the shovel to work is simple enough. With a pre-manufactured lining, you simply need to place it on the soil surface, then you mark the outline of the lining onto the grass. Now draw another line, roughly a shovel width from the previous line, copying the form of the initial line, it will be your guideline. For irregular shapes, you can secure pegs in the ground, indicating the main corners of the form. Using rope, you can now develop the appearance around the pens until you are happy with the results. Mark it upon the ground, and you are ready to dig. Just remember the shovel. Square and rectangular forms measures by placing the pegs in the corners, using rope, and marking them out.

Retaining walls and foundations

The construction of retaining walls for a pond happens by digging a trench wide and deep enough to accommodate a few courses of single stacked bricks. If you are planning to have plants in your pond, you need to provide a shoulder for them to stand on before digging the slope and bottom of the dugout. The slope should have a 3:1 ratio to prevent possible ground movement.

Raised designs require foundations in their erection. These entail digging trenches 30 cm deep by 30 cm wide, and filling them with 15 cm rocky rubble, and then compacting it. A 20 cm layer of sand goes on top of that, being compacted again. The last segment is about 13 cm thick concrete, with a one part cement, two parts sand, and three parts gravel mix. When your foundations are finished, you need to cover them, protecting them from rain and sun, to mature until they dry. Take in consideration that a thick wall is stronger than a single wall, and the higher the wall, the more strength is require. Large, thick walls necessitate deeper foundation for proper support.

Linings and pumps

The lining ensures your structure will be watertight. You can utilize cement or concrete, plastic sheeting, rubber sheeting and prefabricated linings. The only disadvantage of prefabricated linings is the size limitations. Depending on the size and design of your feature, your pump requirements are determined, and you will find submersible and surface pumps on the market. High-tension surface pumps will be practical when you need to move large volumes of water. A simple way to calculate the capacity your pump needs to meet is to measure the height of the fountain head from the water and add 30cm to that. The total of this formula is the required pump capacity. Fountains are a pleasure but only when they are situated and working properly. Your fountain must be level and equipped with sufficient pipe to prevent obstructions, as well as properly wired to avoid electrical shocks. Hiring a licensed electrician to do this is the recommended method.

Types of fountains

The only limit to your water feature is the size of your budget. There are two main fountain types. One being the ornamental statue where the water pushes up through the figure, the other is where the spray pattern is the decorative feature. Spray patterns are anything between a single ray to multiple beams, ring fountains bells, and clock patterns. Setting up a figure fountain is easy enough, you require bricks, a big pot, a submersible pump, and a flexible water hose. Place the bricks at the bottom of your pond, placing the pump on top of them. Place more bricks to provide support for an upside down pot, covering the pump. Attach the flexible hose to the pump, extending it through the draining hole in the pot. Test the pump, and do the necessary adjustments accordingly. Now attach more flexible hose to the inlet of the figure, and place it on top of the pot. Water should just cover the base of the figure once it is on top of the pot. Attach your fountain head and switch on your fountain. It is possible to isolate your electric cables with the same flexible hose, hiding it from plain view, to add elegance to your pond.


Stone fountains use boulders, pebbles and gravel as their main features. Dig a hole deep enough for the plastic well, place it inside accompanied with your submersible pump, and put the lid in position. Support the structure by using a concrete slab to carry the weight of the boulders or rocks. Link flexible hose from the pump to a copper pipe, and cover the copper pipe with rocks above the water surface. If possible, you can drill a hole through a big rock to fit the copper pipe through. When the pipe is secure, place another rock on top to cover the tube, and complete your rock fountain by arranging more rocks around it.

Wall mounted sprays require a sheltered garden wall, with no drafts, and sufficient room to build a water pool at the foot of the wall. These usually have a 'face' or figure that the water sprays out of. Dig a foundation 30 cm deep and pour a concrete slab there. The wall should be at least head height, with two holes, one at the bottom of the wall to accommodate the outlet hose from the pump, as well as the electrical cable for the pump. The other should be the same height as the mask to allow the water inflow. Build the storage pool in front of the wall, sealing it off with concrete and waterproof the inside. Add the pump to the pool, and mount the mask to the wall, pushing the outlet pipe through the whole to settle in the mouth of the mask. The pump capacity will be different from the previous method. You need to measure the distance between the mouth of the mask and the water surface, adding 50 cm to the total, and that will equal the capacity.


Rock pools and stream construction is easy to accomplish, providing you with a beautiful feature in your garden. Determine the highest and lowest level in your rock garden, remove the rocks, and dig two shallow pools in its place. The lowest pool should be deep enough to fit a small submersible pump. Model the stream from the higher pool to the lower, and line all the surfaces with overlapping PVC, the section from the creek should hang into the bottom pool. Fit the pump and attach the water pipe from the lower basin to the upper one. Cover the PVC with rocks and gravel, leaving openings for plants to decorate your stream.

Miniature water features are smaller fountains, which are dynamic, moveable, and you can pick it up with both hands. Pick two ceramic flowerpots of different sizes, the biggest to use on the bottom. Keep in mind that the larger pot should be big enough to enclose all the water when the power is off. Line the bottom of the water storage are with PVC, just above the water level. Fit the small submersible pump, wrapping masking tape around the extension hose so that it fits tightly into the hole in the top pot. Before placing the top flowerpot in place, install a piece of wire mesh on the lower one, just below the edge of the PVC. Now attach the top flower pot, ensuring that the extension piece fits securely. Fit the fountain head you selected and fill the top with pebbles and marbles, spreading them on the wire mesh for decoration. Now add water and switch on you fountain.

Adding the final touches

You can frame your pond naturally or formally. If you want a natural bushy look, select plants that will enhance its appearance. When you prefer a look that resembles a pool in a river, add worn rounded river rocks as part of the decoration. Always remember to reinforce your foundation, hidden from view. For instance, if you have a rock pool, you can utilize big rocks for reinforcement, by cementing them to the side of your pool on top of each other. It will provide a natural look, and add the personality your pond needs. Formal framing will embrace bricks, cement, pebbles, wood, and stone slabs. For raised structures, you can utilize roof tiles, imitation rock, logs or tailored stone slabs.

Plants suitable for a fountain garden

When selecting the plants for your fountain garden, you need consider the amount of sun your pond will receive, and the purpose of your fountain. In shady spots, you can grow plants with eye-catching leaves such as Coleus, Caladiums, and Heucheras. Suitable flowers are Tuberous Begonias, Browallias, Astilbes, and Impatiens. Many flowers are appropriate for sunny spots. However, Vincas, Petunias, Zinnias, and Marigolds are very attractive and commonly used. If the fountain splashes water, utilize plants, which like moist soil. Ferns, Ivies, Spiderwort, creeping Jenny, March Marigolds, and Japanese iris, are good selections. For additional drainage, you can work some compost into the soils surrounding your structure. Wall mounted fountains fit nicely within a living environment, such as climbing hydrangeas, coral honeysuckle, trumpet vines, wisteria, ivy, climbing roses and sweet autumn clematis. Before planting any vines, consult a garden center, as some vines can cause damage. Moving water attracts birds as well as insects; planting coneflowers, lavender, butterfly bush; daylilies and spicebush will invite butterflies to frequent your garden regularly.

Free floating plants add beauty to your fountain. Some of these plants do not like water splashing onto them continuously, and they provide benefits such as algae growth reduction, oxygenation for fish, and water surface coverage. There are four kinds of water plants: Marginal Plants, Floating Plants, Oxygenating Plants, and Deep Water Plants. Oxygenating pond plants aid in the introduction of oxygen to the pond. A high level of oxygen is useful for maintaining algae under control. The oxygenating plants consume decaying organic materials like fish waste or dead vegetation. Floating pond plants are significant for the reason that they shade the pond water. Shade keeps the water temperature cool and decreases algae growth. Deep-water plants grow from the floor of your pond. Water Lilies are the most familiar kind of deep-water plants. Marginal water plants develop in the shallow water of the pond, and include Cannas, Taro, and Iris.

Water Hyacinths are very popular, as they are low maintenance and produce gorgeous violet blooms throughout the year. The velvety leaves of Water Lettuce resemble spinach and have a tiny white flower. The plant spreads quickly, making it ideal for larger ponds. The Sensitive Plant, contradicts its name, with mini fern leaves that close at night. The flowers thrive in the summer and depending on the seed family, you may have yellow or magenta flowers. The water poppy looks very much like the poppy growing in our gardens; it is a simple, but elegant flower with graceful petals and dark center. The miniature fern-like leave of the Fairy Moss is perfect if you look for a low-level, shallow cultivating surface cover. With the change of color in its leaves as the season end, it provides you a beautiful change for autumn.

Many people consider a pond incomplete with no fish in the water. Whether you keep fish for the movement in the water, their shimmering colors, or to control mosquitoes, fish are a great addition to your pond. You need to consider the size of you pond and its filtration when selecting the fish you want to incorporate. The most popular pond fish are koi and goldfish. It does require a little more work to keep fish, but if it you consider it as part of the up keeping of a healthy and beautiful pond, the chores are no longer chores, but love. You can express your creativity through your garden in numerous ways with diverse water features.


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