Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to Make a Fountain

This was our Birthday present for my son. For years he has been into fountains. Every time we go into a garden center he find every fountain and is hard to drag away from them. In the last six months or so he has been asking me if he can buy one. On his Birthday we went fountain shopping. Most fountains are way out of the budget. The ones in our budget aren't all that great. I would love to have a small pond with a water fall. I have a small yard that I have filled every corner with plants, a hot tub, a swing set, a garden, grass and trees. There just isn't room for something like that right now. I then thought of a small container water garden type fountain. I am in love with these pots!! The colors are wonderful. I have two of the "raspberry" colored 22 inch pots (like the blue one in the middle and what I used for the fountain). In this picture the raspberry is more of a pink but really the color is deeper than that. I took the two pots I had in mind and demonstrated for my son what I wanted to make for him. Once I got his approval I picked up a pump with the output of 120 gallons per hour (anything smaller is under powered for a nice display). He wanted it to have what they call a bell shaped fountain spout. It sprays water out in a circular pattern that sort of balloons out.

At the bottom of my 22" pot I placed a half cinder block (8x8x8 inches) on it's side. With the notched end up so that I would have some where for my cord to go. Also with the block on it's side there will be a hole for fish to swim through. We plan to add some inexpensive "feeder" gold fish in here. I then rinsed off and added landscape rocks. You can buy a big bag of landscape rock for much less money than getting gravel from a pet store. Just make sure you rinse it off really well.

I placed my pump in the center of the cinder block and lined the cord up with the notch in the top.

I then added a 8x8x4 inch block around the pump. This is the block that the top pot will sit on over the pump.

I drilled a 1 inch hole in the center of my top pot. then placed it over the tube for the pump.

Here you can see I have attached the fountain head and placed more rock inside. This helps to weigh down the top pot and keep the fountain tube more stable. With this arrangement the top pot will not over flow. I have tried filling it to the max to get it to cascade down the side but with the hole in the center it won't maintain an over flow. If I wanted it to over flow continuously I would add a washer around the fountain tube and seal it to the bottom of the green pot then add a rubber gasket to seal around the tube. I still want to be able to take apart the fountain easily so I don't want to glue the tube to the pot. Before I added the water I used my level to add some shims under the front of the pot to make the fountain level. (you can see them in the picture at the top of the post.)

Another note about not sealing the hole in the top pot. If I were to turn off the fountain eventually most of the water in the green pot would level out with the water level in the blue pot. Meaning if I am not careful it will over flow when turned off. I have however, added a bit more water to the top pot. I like the water level to be at the line you can see just below the rim of the pot.

I have treated the water to remove the chlorine so it will be ready for our fish. I am going to let the fountain run for a few days before adding my fish. I want to make sure that I don't need to do any further "tweaking" before adding fish. My boys can hardly wait to add the fish. They are very excited to have "fountain pets."

I can totally see planting up some smaller pots and placing them around the fountain.

This little project took me only a few hours to put together once I worked out exactly what I needed. I had tried using a cheap plastic pot upside down for the green pot to sit on and found it unstable. I also tried a 60 gallon per hour pump that didn't produce much of a bell at all. I found that the cinder blocks were much cheaper than using a cheap pot. They were only $1 each and work MUCH better in every way. So if you make your own fountain, it is better to get a pump that can do more volume per hour and then adjust the flow down if needed (most of them have a volume control nob). Also some thing to pay attention to is how high they say they can pump the water straight up. Mine will go up 1 foot but there are others that can go as much as 4 feet. That is part of the reason why I have it sitting on a cinder block off the bottom of the pot.

So if you ever wanted a fountain or a simple water garden but don't care for what they offer at you local garden centers, try making one yourself. One like this isn't hard to make at all.

P.S. My son LOVES his gift. He finally has a fountain and he got to help pick everything out for it. Life is good.



The Harris Family said...

Great idea! My dad use to make these in their last home and I have always wanted one for ours...space and price are the issue. I can't wait to make one now!

Jeanneoli said...

What a wonderful idea..thanks!!

Debbie said...

Those are great pots and they made a wonderful fountain! You have some wonderful ideas on your blog.
Dropped by from SITS.