How To Install a Garden Fountain

There are a huge number of types and styles of fountains available, ranging from a simple vertical jet of water to complex waterworks either on their own or in combination with lighting effects, or even integrated into attractive sculptures.

If you are worried about powering a pump electrically, you could opt for a solar-powered one instead. Most will, however, be operated by a low-volume submersible pump fitted with a volume regulator and a by-pass valve. All except the smallest pumps will be able to operate a small fountain and a modest waterfall at the same time.

Bubble fountains on the other hand, bring all the attractions of movement and the sound of a waterfall or fountain but without the need to install a pond. These can be made by sinking a large waterproof container into the ground so the rim is flush with ground level. Install a submersible pump, mount a layer of small-grid, ridged mesh over the rim of the trough, cover it with round pebbles, fill with water, and then adjust the pump output to the flow of your choice - a gentle wetting or a fairly formidable geyser, it's up to you - but don't forget to keep the water level topped up in the trough.

Pumps need to be checked and serviced from time to time, so place them close to the edge of a pond so you can reach them easily to disconnect the hose running to the fountain. Make sure you follow the safety advice (see box below) when installing outdoor water features.

Safety Tips

  • Submersible pumps for fountains can be operated directly by mains electricity, but this is not recommended. It is much safer to operate them through a transformer that reduces the current to 24 volts. A low-voltage pump is perfectly safe and is easy to install and to wire. However, electricity and water can be a lethal combination, so, if you are in any doubt at all you must consult a qualified electrician.
  • Remember, electric cables should be run through impact-resistant plastic conduit laid in a trench of fine soil or sand.
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