Small water features add variety to a garden, patio or indoor space. The soothing sound of flowing water provides the soundtrack for a calm and restful space to unwind. Pebble fountains are designed so that the water is pumped from the bottom of a reservoir to the top where it falls on a bed of pebbles or river rocks, creating the pleasant sound of a tinkling stream or gently babbling brook.
1. The Basics
The easiest way to make a pebble fountain is to purchase a kit and follow the directions. It is almost as easy to build one from scratch, and it is less expensive, especially if salvaged materials are used. Supplies you will need include a container that will hold at least ten gallons of water, a good pond water pump, some plastic sheeting, heavy gauge and fine metal mesh, cobblestones or rocks of the same size, a few bricks, and pebbles or river rocks. Buy a good pond pump from a fish or home and garden store, and ensure it has a solid pipe and a spout.
One of the good things about building from scratch is the ability to design the fountain according to taste. All that is required in the end is to make sure that the water runs back into the reservoir. It can be made to fit any size space and to be as complex as the designer is ambitious. Usually these water features are simple, round or square fountains with a pebbled bottom and water spouting up from the middle. They can also be made with the water pouring from an urn, spouting from a larger rock or piles of rocks. Another popular design involves tiers, each tier a few inches above the other, so that the water pumping to the top trickles down from tier to tier and finally into the pebbles. The tiers may be pieces of slate, tin plates, or any set of matching pieces that you can drill holes in so each piece fits over the fountain's pipe.
3. Location and Preparation
Locate the fountain near a seating area and so that you can plug in the pump, an outlet. Experiment with the design of the water flow before building it. More complex designs will be harder to make and will need more support, but even the simple ones should be designed first to avoid frustration later. Simple designs can be rested on the tub as long as there are drain holes underneath. For heavier designs thicker plastic sheeting or extra support may be needed. Rocks are heavy, so make sure that all materials are sturdy enough to support the weight.
4. The Build
To make the simple fountain design, dig a hole for the water container, making sure that the lip is slightly above soil level and that the container is level and stable. Place two bricks into the bottom, and secure the pump on top of them. Attach the pipe at this time. Fill the tub with water and check that the pump is working. Place the plastic sheeting on the tub with the water pipe coming up through a hole in the middle, and fix the spout to the pipe. Lay down first the heavy gauge mesh, then the fine mesh, then the pebbles. Place the cobblestones or rocks on the ground around the lip of the tub to conceal it.