Installing a Water Fountain
How to Install a Garden Water Fountain
The installation of a ready-made water fountain will not be too difficult. Make sure you take into account the spray jets and the manner in which they will eject water when deciding on the position. It is all very well to enjoy an attractiveon a still day, but jets of water, especially tall jets, will be blown around by the wind. Choose a site for the fountain where a playful breeze will not drench the surrounding ground or passers-by. On very windy days, a fountain should not be switched on.
Remember that the pump will require periodic servicing — at least the regular cleaning of the inlet filter — so you will need relatively easy access. If it is placed in the centre of the pond, you may need to wade into the water to reach it. For this reason, you may prefer to position the pump at the edge of the pool and invest in a longer delivery pipe. However, this will have a detrimental effect upon flow and will demand a more powerful pump to achieve the same result as a more modest model placed directly beneath the fountain outlet, or indeed where the outlet is attached directly to it. Alternatively, the fountain plinth can be arranged to provide support for a wooden board that will span the water from the bank. Such a feature can only be made in concrete, lined or natural pools, and is only necessary for a large deep body of water.
THE PLINTH AND PUMP
Most fountain arrangements in domestic garden pools require a plinth on which to stand the pump or ornament. In the simplest case, this is a sound structure that lifts ato a point just below the surface of the water, which allows the fountain head to appear at water level. With this arrangement, the head can be changed, if required, to give different , and the filter easily reached for cleaning. The disadvantage is that the pump is close to the surface and not easy to hide. It will be obscured by turbulent water when the fountain is working, but when it is switched off, it can tend to look like a metallic basking shark.
If an ornament is to be incorporated as part of the fountain, it will be very much easier to hide the pump. The ornament need not be an elaborate sculpture, attractive though these are. A prepared rock or cast symmetrical shape, through which the fountain outlet can be supplied, will be perfectly adequate. Indeed, any method will be suitable if it permits the delivery hose to be secured with the fountain head at a distance from the pump. When this can be arranged, it is quite a simple matter to hide the pump beneath the plinth. However, given the extra length of outlet hose required, it would be wise to check the capacity of the pump to ensure that it will deliver the required spray with the increased lift.
Although a simple structure, a plinth must be built soundly, especially if it is to support the end of a board that will provide access to the pump for maintenance. It must have a very solid foundation which, ideally, should be allowed for when the pool is being built. In the case of a liner pool, for example, a concrete pad can be incorporated into the floor of the excavation before the liner is installed. Provided that a piece of geo-textile or fleece is laid between the liner and the concrete, and also between the liner and the base of the plinth, no damage will be caused to the liner.
Use a section of paving slab for the foot of the plinth. This will be unobtrusive and spread the load. Construct two simple brick piers on the slab, leaving a gap between them to accommodate the pump if you want to separate it from the fountain head and conceal it. Ensure that the piers are level, then place another section of slab across the top. This should only be large enough to support the head, pump or fountain ornament or, in the case of a large pool, the end of the access board. It should be set in place with mortar before the fountain unit is added. If the latter is an elaborate ornament, such as a sculpture, it should also be secured with mortar. Apart from ensuring stability, this will provide added security, for such ornaments are often stolen. If attached to a substantial plinth, it will be more difficult to remove. Finally, place the pump in position, connecting its outlet hose as necessary.
If you want to position the pump close to the pool’s edge, or the water fountain unit requires no more than a simple slab plinth on the floor of the pool, you can create a safe haven using a couple of pieces of paving slab. Stand the pump on top of one, then raise the other to hide it, either by building into the wall of the pool, where appropriate, or constructing two small brick piers for support.
METHODS OF INSTALLING A WATER FOUNTAIN
1. A conventional arrangement, where the submersible pump is placed on an adjustable plinth. This must be level and stable. Such an arrangement will also provide fish with a hiding place.
2. Where an ornament is used, a purpose built plinth can hide the pump. Depending on the strength of the pump, it may be necessary to raise it in order to reduce the water lift required.
3. Creating a simple fountain away from the pump demands careful calculation with distance and lift. Generally a much stronger pump will be necessary than if it were placed just beneath the water fountain.
MAKING YOUR OWN WATER FOUNTAIN FEATURE
In addition to using a standard, ready-made water fountain which, with one of the various specially produced ornaments, is simply installed rather like a do-it-yourself kit, you can make your own fountain feature. One of the most adventurous fountain arrangements comprises a series of bowls and a conventional. Water is pumped up through a tall central stem into a bowl. Beneath this are several other howls of the same construction, but with progressively greater diameters. When the top bowl has been filled, the water spills over and falls like a curtain into the second, and so on until it reaches the pool below. The rim of each bowl must be set level so that the curtain of water falls evenly around it. The only problem with this arrangement is that it creates excessive turbulence in the pool below, which restricts the cultivation of plants.
However, if plants are required towards the edge of the pool, it is possible to confine the water movement with a large metal ring, which is greater than the diameter of the lowest bowl. The ring should be about 5cm (2in) deep and held at the water’s surface by three braces attached to the central stem. Then marginal plants can be grown in the relative calm water outside the ring.