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Project

Garden Waterfall Fountain

Introduction

This fountain, with its loud, distinctive splash, drowns out traffic and other background noise while allowing for conversation and relaxation. It's a project for more confident builders (several power tools are involved). Assemble the manifold (the mechanism of the fountain), prepare the flue liners, and paint one weekend, then build the fountain on the following one. The durable materials will last for years.

Note: As this water project is more advanced than others, it's a good idea to print this list with photos and take it to your garden specialty store.

Print list of materials here.

Waterfall Fountain How-To

1. Use a pencil to mark seven 3/4-inch pieces (C) and three 1 1/2-inch pieces (I) on the PVC pipe. Cut on lines with hacksaw. Lightly sand cut ends to remove burrs.

2. Using photo as a guide, assemble parts A to G. When joining 2 unthreaded ends, prime and glue each with the PVC primer and cement, twisting slightly as you join to ensure a good seal. Let all connections dry and set according to cement instructions. Turn ball valve to the open position.

3. Attach pump fittings so that connection ends on a male connection. Join lower manifold and pump by screwing together female adapter and pump. Note: This entire portion of the fountain manifold will be situated in the water behind the drilled fiberglass planter.

4. Using photo as a guide, assemble pieces A, B, and I. When joining 2 unthreaded ends, prime and glue each with the PVC primer and cement, twisting slightly as you join to ensure a good seal. Let all connections dry and set according to cement instructions.

5. Using utility knife, cut tubing (K) into 3 equal lengths of about 3 1/3 feet.

6. The 10-inch-diameter flue liner must have 3 holes drilled into it for water output. To determine the proper position, measure 6 inches down from the top of the liner. Pencil in a horizontal line. Place a mark where the center of the middle spout should go, then make marks 3 inches on both sides of the centers of the other 2 spouts.

7. Create a soft cushion and support for the liner by folding the blanket into a very wide M shape. Lay the liner on its side in the valley of the blanket, and use bricks or rocks to bolster the sides and keep it from rolling.

8. Install pilot bit and hole saw securely into drill.

9. Put on gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and dust mask.

10. You will need a helper for this step (he or she should also have ear and eye protection and a dust mask) to pour a stream of water from the watering can over the hole site as you drill, which cools the drill bit and minimizes dust. Make sure to position yourselves, the drill's cord, the electrical outlet, and the water source safely.

11. Wet the drilling site, then place the tip of the pilot bit on one of the pencil marks on the liner. Begin drilling, applying slight pressure. Let the drill and the bit do the work of cutting -- never force it. Be patient; it is a slow process. Eventually, the pilot bit will go through the wall of the liner and the hole saw will begin to cut the hole. Your helper should be pouring water on the drilling site the entire time.

12. Repeat drilling process for other 2 holes on liner.

13. The fiberglass planter, which will serve as a support for the 10-inch liner, must be drilled for water input. To mark the position of the holes, set lower manifold with pump attached on a level surface, side by side with the planter. Use a pencil to mark the points where each barbed-end male adapter contacts the planter.

14. Drill holes as in step 11, omitting water.

15. Cut the flue liners for the planters. Measure 14 1/2 inches from 1 end of the 6-inch-diameter liner and 18 inches from 1 end of one 8-inch diameter liner, making a closely spaced dotted line with the pencil to serve as a cutting guide. The other 8-inch liner will be used at full length.

16. Fit circular saw with diamond blade. (Note: Always unplug saw when changing blades or making adjustments.)

17. Place liners in the valley of the blanket, and support with bricks or rocks. Put on gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and dust mask.

18. Line up the guide notch on circular-saw plate with the marks on liner, resting the blade on the surface. Begin cutting, letting the saw blade cut through the clay and do the work; use little of your own force.

19. Stop the saw, set it down, and rotate the liner as you work your way around it -- never stretch or bend your body to accommodate the saw. Save the off-cuts for another project (they can be used as garden planters; see Surprising Garden Pots).

20. Fit a copper-pipe section (J) into each of the holes on the 10-inch liner, leaving a 1/4-inch lip of copper pipe inside. Working from the inside, glue with epoxy or Gorilla Glue to secure. Let glue dry completely before proceeding.

21. Lay down the drop cloth. Using the paint bucket, tint masonry waterproofing paint with paint colorant until desired shade is achieved. Paint flue liners, and fiberglass planter, and copper pipes and galvanized tank if desired; let dry.

22. Place livestock tank where you prefer. Place pump and attached lower manifold at back center of tank; place fiberglass planter in front of it, holes facing manifold.

23. Drape pump cord over side of tank (the other elements in the fountain will hide it from view). Align each barbed-end adapter on the lower manifold with a hole in the fiberglass planter.

24. Working from inside of planter, thread each of the vinyl-tubing sections through the holes and on to 1 of the barbed ends of the lower manifold. Gather tubes together in one hand, and place 10-inch-diameter liner on top of planter, with the end with the copper pipes at top, threading tubes through the center of the flue.

25. Take upper manifold pieces and fit each barbed end of the top manifold components into the top end of the vinyl tubing. Spread epoxy or Gorilla Glue on each PVC-pipe section, and fit into copper pipe pieces, bending vinyl tubing as needed.

26. Arrange the planters near the fountain as shown (or as desired). When satisfied with the composition, glue pump to tank bottom with waterproof epoxy.

27. Fill tank to 3 inches below rim, and plug in pump. Adjust flow using ball valve.

28. Spread layer of river stones over bottom of tank.

29. Plant greenery in appropriately sized plastic nursery pots. Fit pots into the openings of the 6- and 8-inch liners.

 

Materials

  • Three 1-inch-diameter copper pipe pieces (J)
  • Paint stirrer
  • 4-inch foam paint roller
  • 1 quart paint colorant (such as Tints-All) in desired color (we used black)
  • Round galvanized-steel livestock tank (4 feet in diameter, 1 foot deep; we used Ideal brand model R 4 x 1; applegatelivestock.com)
  • Large paint bucket
  • 1 gallon masonry waterproofing paint (such as Drylok) in white
  • Drop cloth
  • Hacksaw
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Utility knife
  • Old, heavy blanket or packing blanket
  • Safety glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Dust mask
  • 2 to 4 bricks or large rocks
  • Power drill (do not use cordless)
  • Tungsten carbide grit-edge arbored hole saw (1 1/4-inch) with pilot bit
  • Work gloves that allow for good finger control
  • Watering can with water
  • Submersible pump (750 gallons per hour; we used the Mag Drive Ultra Pump, No. 98459; aquascapeinc.com) (H)
  • 4 cylindrical clay chimney flue liners: one 10 inches in diameter (for fountain), plus one 6 inches in diameter and two 8 inches in diameter (to serve as planters); standard height for all, 24 inches (available at masonry yards)
  • One 10-inch-diameter, 12-inch-tall cylindrical fiberglass planter (we used Terracino brand; planterresource.com)
  • Circular saw
  • Diamond blade to fit circular saw
  • Waterproof epoxy or Gorilla Glue
  • River stones or other decorative stone to cover bottom of tank
  • Potted plants
  • The following items can be found in the plumbing-supplies section of large hardware stores. Use schedule 40 pipe and fittings throughout: 2-foot section of 3/4-inch unthreaded PVC pipe (C, I)
  • Six 3/4-inch plastic barbed-end male adapters (A)
  • Six 3/4-inch, 90-degree inner threaded female end PVC elbows (B)
  • Two 3/4-inch, 90-degree unthreaded PVC elbows (D)
  • 3/4-inch PVC cross (E)
  • 3/4-inch solvent weld plastic ball valve (F)
  • 3/4-inch PVC female adapter (G)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) plastic pipe cement primer/cleaner for PVC (clear)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) PVC cement (clear)
  • 10 feet of 3/4-inch vinyl tubing (K)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Using utility knife, cut tubing (K) into 3 equal lengths of about 3 1/3 feet.

  2. Step 2

    Using photo as a guide, assemble pieces A, B, and I. When joining 2 unthreaded ends, prime and glue each with the PVC primer and cement, twisting slightly as you join to ensure a good seal. Let all connections dry and set according to cement instructions.

  3. Step 3

    Create a soft cushion and support for the liner by folding the blanket into a very wide M shape. Lay the liner on its side in the valley of the blanket, and use bricks or rocks to bolster the sides and keep it from rolling.

  4. Step 4

    The 10-inch-diameter flue liner must have 3 holes drilled into it for water output. To determine the proper position, measure 6 inches down from the top of the liner. Pencil in a horizontal line. Place a mark where the center of the middle spout should go, then make marks 3 inches on both sides of the centers of the other 2 spouts.

  5. Step 5

    You will need a helper for this step (he or she should also have ear and eye protection and a dust mask) to pour a stream of water from the watering can over the hole site as you drill, which cools the drill bit and minimizes dust. Make sure to position yourselves, the drill's cord, the electrical outlet, and the water source safely.

  6. Step 6

    Install pilot bit and hole saw securely into drill.

  7. Step 7

    Put on gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and dust mask.

  8. Step 8

    Using photo as a guide, assemble parts A to G. When joining 2 unthreaded ends, prime and glue each with the PVC primer and cement, twisting slightly as you join to ensure a good seal. Let all connections dry and set according to cement instructions. Turn ball valve to the open position.

  9. Step 9

    Attach pump fittings so that connection ends on a male connection. Join lower manifold and pump by screwing together female adapter and pump. Note: This entire portion of the fountain manifold will be situated in the water behind the drilled fiberglass planter.

Reviews (1)

  • 2 Sep, 2013

    I was teaching my son on how to do a waterfall fountain project in school and he found this step-by-step guide on this website. We decided that he do this on his own, and he did. Even though we had a little hiccup at the start with a blocked drain he was able to resolve it on his own.