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Avid garden enthusiasts dig into installing complicated in ground garden pond fountains and intricate landscaping schemes. For those who prefer a more simplistic approach for a beautiful backyard setting, free-standing fountains, statuary fountains, bamboo fountains and patio tabletop or wall mounted fountains offer almost instant sensory appeal to an outdoor setting with minimal installation time and labor.
Picture sipping a glass of wine or cup of coffee or tea in a tranquil Zen-like garden with a bamboo fountain. Water creates a soothing background, flowing trough the bamboo chutes and into a bowl of natural river stones. Installation involves minimal assembly, filling the basin with water and plugging it into a GFI electrical outlet. Add elegance to any garden setting with a statuary fountain. Introduce the rich patina of a three to nine leaf sculpted copper fountain to a sunroom or covered patio. Fill, plug in and enjoy. Or, install a custom water fountain and treat patients or customers in a waiting area to a soothing respite from the clamor of the outside world.
If you're purchasing a tabletop fountain, it should come with its own pump. However, if you're planning to make your own fountain, you'll have to find your own pump. So what things do you have to consider when you get a pump for a homemade tabletop fountain?
Because of the size and composition of an outdoor fountain, you want to make sure that you position it in a sturdy location. You don't want to face the problem of a fountain that could suffer damage or injure someone around it. That's why we've put together a few things for you to consider to get your outdoor fountain on steady footing.
When you install an outdoor fountain -- unless you have a solar version -- you'll need to supply power to the pump. We've got a few guidelines to help make sure your task of running electricity to your outdoor fountain goes smoothly.
When building a round fountain, you'll want to locate placement of the fountain's central feature. If you're wondering what the best way to do this is, we have one idea that'll ease your dilemma.
Once you've dug your pit and laid out the pond liner, tie string to stakes at the perimeter of your pit. You should have two strings running perpendicular to each other. The result would be that your pit would be divided into four equal pies. The intersection in the middle would be the center point of your fountain.
You can mark the center without damaging your pond lines. Simply attach a PVC pipe to a small piece of wood and you have your center point at the base of the pit.
Installation may be as simple as unpacking, adding water and plugging the water fountain to a power supply or letting Mother Nature provide solar power. Other water fountains, require wall support, landscape expertise, plumbing or electrical service. Shop with an online water fountain retailer that specializes in all types of water fountains, custom fountains and water fountain accessories and parts. Contact customer service. Ask lots of questions and rely on their recommendations to help choose the best fountain for your needs and preferences.
Know your limits. If you are a garden enthusiast with an eye for layout and logistics, determining the best location and preparing it for a fountain is a breeze. If in doubt, about location feasibility or landscape aesthetics, rely on guidance from a horticulturist or landscape architect. If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you can probably handle installation on most fountains by following the manufacturer's detailed how to install a fountain instructions. Preformed fountains that only require filling with water, monitoring water level and adding water to offset evaporation require no plumbing experience. However, if a dedicated water source is required or pipes behind a wall are required for a wall patio fountain, call a plumber.
And, if a nearby power source is not available and you have no electrical know-how, a licensed electrician is a must. Mistakes can be costly and dangerous. Installation of an electric line from a central power source must be done safely within local electrical codes and restrictions. Some city and county codes require a not only a permit, but that work is done only by a certified electrician with a follow-up inspection.
The pump is the behind-the-scenes workhorse in an outdoor fountain that is important to creating the overall effect with the water. How else would the bubbling sounds of moving water or the brilliant splash of a steady stream punctuating a fountain make its presence known? If you're purchasing your outdoor fountain, you'll likely have a pump assembly which comes with your fountain. Even so, there are just a few considerations you should be aware of.
Fountains require a power source to keep water flowing. This power comes from one of two sources: electrical power or solar power compliments of Mother Nature.
The closer you locate a water fountain is to the electrical outlet, the easier and less expensive installation will be. Electrical power for a safe water feature also requires a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFI) outlet. GFI outlets have a sensor that automatically shuts off the electrical power if they come in contact with moisture. Voltage for water fountains and water fountains accessories also differs. Most fountains require 120 volts to operate the pump, filters and lights. Extensive project with a large pond or lake fountain feature may require a 240-volt supply. Both 120 volt and 240 volt cables must be buried in protective piping and usually require a permit and installation by a certified electrician. (Note: Some fountain accessories, like outdoor lighting, only require low-voltage via a cable connected to a plug-in transformer that reduces household electricity to 12 volts.)
Solar powered fountains and solar powered fountain lights operate off sun's energy. No electrical wiring required, installation is easy and power is free. To produce electricity through solar energy, fountains and fountain lights need a solar cell or solar panel. The cell or panel simply sits and collects photons within sun rays and transforms them into conduction electrons that carry an electric charge through a circuit to the fountain pump or light. Sounds simple. However, location is the key to efficient operation. Solar cells need direct sunlight and lots of it. Shady locations cannot support solar power. Climates with more clouds and rain than sunshine, especially during shorter winter days typically have a deficit of solar power. Avoid disappointment; before installing a solar powered yard fountain, ensure that an adequate supply of sun power is available.
Fountain pumps keeps water flowing through water fountains and it's hard work. Installing a commercial water fountain or a home garden fountain requires the right type and the right size fountain pump. There are two types of fountain pumps: submersible and external. External pumps are located outside of garden pool or pond, like the pump that operates a swimming pool. Submersible pumps are placed directly into the water. Some fountains contain a built-in pump; others have a separate pump that sits in the fountain basin.
When purchasing a fountain pump, it pays to go for quality above price. Saving a few dollars with an inexpensive pump, may cost more in the long run when the pump fails to work efficiently. It is also important to get the required amps/watts to pump the right number of gallons of water per hour (GPH) to the desired height above the water surface. Finding out how much power a pump needs can be complicated. You must first know the volume of the water in the pond or garden pool. Typically, a pump should move about half of the total volume per hour.
Pump filters are also a necessity. Some pumps feature pre-filters and others require a separate filter. For large garden ponds, the filter size must be sized for the fountain volume and pump power. If a separate pump and filter is required for a garden water feature or custom fountain, follow manufacturer's how to install a fountain pump instructions. Fortunately, most preformed indoor and outdoor fountains come with the correctly sized pump and filter, taking guesswork out of pump and filter requirements.
If you want to create your own tabletop fountain, regardless of the fountain type, there are some basic features that all of these mini-water features need. This guide will get you started on ideas.
An amazing range of fountain types, sizes, styles and materials make it easy to find the best fountain for virtually any location inside a home, on porches, patios, balconies, decks and outdoor gardens. Along with diversity, come different space and installation requirements. It pays to plan ahead before choosing an ready-made or custom fountain. Here are some how to install a water fountain preplanning factors to consider:
Among the many decisions when choosing the best backyard water fountain is deciding whether to install a ground level ground garden pond fountain, an above-pond fountain or a ready-made garden fountain. Both of in-ground pond fountain and above ground pond fountains require do-it-yourself or hire-it-done expertise and labor.
To dig or not to dig; that is the question. Ground level fountain ponds obviously require digging and moving soil. The larger the garden pond the greater the labor. Once the digging is done, the pond must be lined. Measure, cut and line the in ground pond with flexible lining or save time and effort with a preformed rigid garden pond liner. Edging and landscaping the outside rim, determining fountain pump/filter requirements, adding lighting and filling the garden pond with water are finishing steps.
Above ground pond fountains work best in locations where digging is not possible or difficult. Sides of the above ground fountain are usually made from brick, tile, stones or pressure-treated wood. Otherwise, lining labor steps are similar.
Ready-made or preformed fountains take most of the work out of owning a fountain. Location is still a consideration in installing a ready-made fountain. However, free-standing outdoor fountains, tabletop outdoor fountains, outdoor statuary fountains and wall mounted outdoor fountains offer plenty of choices for virtually any location and manufactured water fountains come with easy to follow “how to install a fountain” instructions.
Making your own tabletop fountain is cost effective and lets you use your creative skills. The bowl of the fountain is the most prominent item in the assembly, so it's always important to select this piece wisely. Here are a few ideas to help you select the right part.
Sunlight adds natural sparkle to fountain waters by day. At night without light, fountain waters lose their visual appeal. Installing a fountain light brings fountains and backyard gardens to life at night. Different types of lighting create striking effects in garden settings.
Consider these pointers when installing fountain lights:
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|