What Do I Need To Install A Water Feature?

Reservoir The Reservoir acts as a big bucket to store the water and catch the falling water when in use. This has to be a larger circumference than the base of the water feature in order to collect and re-circulate the water. This is a very sturdy and stable design. The cut away on the lid is an access hatch incase the pump needs to be removed. The holes in the lid allow the water to filter through. The large hole in the centre is for the hose to travel through.Hose The hose is connected to the top of the pump via a Jubilee clip (below). This fits up through the cored out hole in the slate to just near the top. Cutting the hose just short of the top will create a nice bubble flow and keep the plastic hose out of sight.Pump The pump is key as this pushes the water up through the slate water feature (such as a stone monolith or stack pyramid). Different size pumps are required based on the height of the slate. They normally come with a regulator so you can alter the flow of water to your preferred power output. As a guide, we normally recommend a 2000lph pump for a feature up to 1 metre in height.Jubilee Clip Simple clip which gets tightened around the hose and attached to the top of the pump clamping the two together.


Cut the Rim off the Bucket

  • Cut off the rim from the pump pail and cut and fold down a 1-1/2-in.-wide x 2-in. flap at the top for the water line and electrical cable
  • Use a spade bit or a twist bit to drill 1/2-in. drain holes in all the pails.

Water feature ideas

Babbling Basalt Fountain, TorStone

(Image credit: Solus Decor)

For larger gardens and landscapes, centrepiece fountains that require a pool surround continue to prove very popular garden water features. For smaller gardens, self-circulating water features are undoubtedly ideal as they require minimum maintenance and can fit into a more compact space while still looking impressive.

You should also consider the style of your garden: natural planting schemes really benefit from garden water features that imitate natural structures such as ponds, rocks, or waterfalls. An irregular shape will help a water feature blend in even more. Contemporary patios, on the other hand, look best with neat, angular water features, or the ever-popular globe or bowl-shapes ones. 

Check out our top tips for making small gardens feel bigger (and better).

(Image credit: Haddonstone)

Dig Out the Fountain

  • Dig the reservoir end of the hole six inches deeper than the pail height and the fountain end six inches deep overall.
    • Pro Tip: Pick an area that has no more than a few inches of slope over the length and width of the water feature you plan to build.
  • Roughly assemble your fountain and other decorative large stones and cluster the five-gallon pails to locate the deep end of the basin.
  • Dig the deeper part of the hole with steep sides and a flat bottom to leave plenty of room for the pails.
    • Pro Tip: Use the depth of the pails as a guide to the proper depth.

Pick the right water feature for your garden

Try to avoid a sunny location as it can encourage weed growth, especially in the damp environment of a water feature. Don’t place it near a tree, either, as the leaf fall will pollute the water. ‘Think safety if you decide on a water feature in a pond, particularly with young children using the garden,’ advises Sue Frost of the design team at Squires Garden Centres.

Self-contained features, such as a water bowl or small fountain, are best suited for smaller gardens, courtyards and patios where space is at a premium. They add water to a garden but are very frugal when it comes to space, so won’t overwhelm the garden.

Simon Scott, Chelsea Flower Show garden designer and MD of garden ornament specialists Haddonstone, advises, ‘It’s best to buy the water feature and pump together as a package – that way, you avoid the risk of a pump that’s not powerful enough for the feature, or simply doesn’t fit it. Sourcing a cheaper alternative is a false economy.’

Learn more about creating the perfect patio

(Image credit: Haddonstone)

Fountain Installation Tools

The tools you need to install a fountain depend on what kind of fountain you’re installing. With a kit tabletop fountain, you may need no more than a box cutter to open the package and a pitcher to fill the reservoir.

With the other kinds of fountains, though, you’ll want to have a bit more equipment on hand:


  • Felt or cork pad to protect wooden ta­bles or floors
  • Saw (not necessary for every fountain, but with a solar-powered fountain you may need to construct a simple post for the panel)
  • Crimp, for connecting wires
  • Stud finder, for wall-mounted or wall-supported fountains
  • standard and Philips-head screwdrivers
  • Power drill
  • Socket wrench
  • Level (especially for wall-mounted fountains)
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer (some wall-mounted fountains are hung more or less like pictures)
  • Shovel, for excavating outdoor fountains and covering their pipelines
  • Gardening gloves
  • A strong friend to help you lift the heavy components

You may also want to have a few other things handy:

  • Various screws, nuts and bolts (these may come with the fountain, but if you’re deviating at all from the manufacturer’s setup you may need extra)
  • Wire nuts and other connectors
  • Gravel, stone or cement cinderblocks to stabilize an outdoor fountain
  • Water-growing plants to add to the basin (each plant should be in its own submersible dish — you don’t want the roots tangled in the pump)
  • Rubber, PVC or bamboo tubing
  • Ornamental rocks to line the reservoir basin (wash these before putting them in, or you’ll gunk up the pump)
  • An ornament (those little stone cherubs and bathing goddesses don’t just make the garden more attractive, they can also conceal the pump)
  • Stone plinth to raise the ornament to water level
  • Electrical silicon (make sure you’ve chosen interior or exterior silicon, as appropriate)
  • A wooden post, if you want to elevate the solar panel to increase sun exposure
  • Epoxy or sealer to waterproof the basin

Toss a coin and make a wish: You’ve just installed a lasting source of tranquility.

To learn more, visit the links on the next page.

Fountains and Safety­
  • You may have noticed that a fountain combines two potentially dangerous elements: electricity and water.
  • As you’re installing the fountain, make sure that you have a towel handy. Dry your hands thoroughly before touching any of the electrical elements.
  • Children and pets can be fascinated with fountains. Many cats, in particular, love to watch running water.
  • Be aware of drowning hazards. If you have a toddler in the house, you may need to set up a baby gate around the fountain until the child is older. ­

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