How to Build a Tabletop Fountain
No one would live in a house without a foundation, right? Building a fountain is no different and we're going to help you get started. So where do you start? From the bottom up, as any good architect will tell you, make your foundation solid. This is where we'll begin.
We always look for a bowl or container that usually will work with the area we'll be enjoying our fountain the most. What we mean is you can't have a 20" bowl placed on top of a 14" table. Choose your bowl wisely, find one that fits "you" as the finished fountain does reflect you and your decor.
What to use for the main part of the fountain? Slate, lava rock, drift wood or even shiny river rocks will work. Your fountain is as unique as your imagination, so never be afraid it won't look "right" ! Nature has the most beautiful natural waterfalls and pools. This is how we get our ideas. If it were wrong, all our waterfalls, pools and rivers would not be there.
We usually use a pump/rock stand, this little nifty piece of plastic hides the pump and also allows your slate or other rocks to be up off the pump and level the tiers at the same time. This is placed in the bottom of the bowl or container with the notches end facing down. This allows water to enter the pump and gives the pumps cord an exit at the same time keeping the cord from being pinched.
Normally we'd use a small gph. pump. What's gph? That's gallon per hour. The more gph. the stronger the pump. The taller the fountain, the more gph you need to get the water to the top of your fountain. In the photo above we used a United AP-85-S pump. It's a strong pump and has a water flow adjustment so you can regulate how much water pressure you want running down the slate tiers. So when choosing your pump remember the taller the fountain, the higher number of gph. you'll need. Most all pumps do have a water flow adjustment, so ask when purchasing a pump if it does have this feature.
Our slate tiers come with either a 1/2" OD hole or a 5/8" OD hole. OD stands for "outside diameter" and its this diameter that determines your tubing size. Did you know the smaller the tubing the stronger the water pressure you'd have? So if you want to have a slow moving fountain and one that doesn't splash out all over the place, we highly suggest a 5/8" OD hole and tubing.
Now that you have all the basics, you can now build your fountain. You want the bottom slate tier to fit barely down into the bowl, so take a measurement to see how high your pump rock stand should be. This should be so when you add the slate tier, it'll be about 1-1/2" down from the rim of the fountain bowl. This gives you plenty of room for halogen lights or a mister/fogger to be added later. Add 2 or more tiers to give the fountain height. We use extra slate pieces to raise and level each tier, as level tiers makes for an even flowing fountain. You don't want all the water to go to one side, this is the purpose of leveling the slate tiers.
Accent your fountain with ivy either artificial or real, lucky bamboo, flowers or just leave it plain. Like we mentioned earlier, it's really up to your imagination, there is NO wrong fountain. Add a stand under your bowl. Look at a picture with and without a frame, which looks better? Same goes for a fountain stand, that's the frame around the picture.
To see more info on fountain building and customers fountains, please visit our sister site: Fountain Builder!
To sum it all up to build a simple fountain you need:
A bowl or container
Pump and tubing, make sure you get extra tubing,
Slate, rocks, wood, lava rocks, an old tree stump, sea glass anything that'll take water, you can use in a fountain.
Accent pieces: ivy, flowers, lucky bamboo even live snake plants
Extra small rocks or slate to raise and level tiers.
Figurines: anything you like from an elephant to a sea lion, even a horse!
Good luck with your new fountain, and should you run into a problem you can always call or email most any fountain company as they are more than happy to answer all your questions.