Easy to install, this beautiful bubble fountain makes a wonderful feature in a small gravel garden, or it can be used as a focal point in a formal setting. You can buy kits that come complete with a water reservoir and lid, so you then just need a small water pump and a decorative pot to stand on the top.
When to start: Spring.
At their best: Spring to autumn.
Time to complete: 6 hours.
You will need: Spade, sand, bubble fountain kit and piping, small pump with flow adjuster, electrical tubing, frost-proof pot with drainage hole, pebbles and gravel.
Prepare the site
First ask a qualified electrician to install an electricity supply and an outdoor outlet to an easily concealed location close to the fountain. Then dig a hole larger than the reservoir.
Lay a sandy foundation
Remove any sharp stones from the hole and pack damp sand around the edges, sides, and base. Place the reservoir in the hole, and use a spirit level to check that it is level in all directions.
Pack more sand around the reservoir, as necessary, and check that it is level again. It is essential that your fountain is horizontal to prevent water from draining out, and to ensure that the pot on top will be stable.
Place the pump
When level, place the pump in the reservoir. You may need to fit an extension pipe onto the pump to reach through the hole in the base of the decorative pot. Put the lid on the reservoir, and over the pipe from the pump.
Add the pot
Place the decorative pot on the reservoir lid, making sure that the pump pipe passes through the drainage hole in the bottom. Seal the pump pipe in place with silicone sealant, and leave to dry and harden for 24 hours.
Attach the flow adjuster
Attach a long section of pipe to the water flow adjuster. Then attach this to the pump pipe in the base of the pot. Trim the water delivery pipe so it reaches just below the rim of the decorative pot.
Fill with water
Use a watering can or hose to fill the reservoir through the holes in the lid, and fill up the decorative pot to just below the delivery pipe.
Protect the cord
The electrical cord must be protected by special tubing, which an electrician can advise you about. Make sure that all electrical connections in the garden are fitted with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
Disguise the reservoir
Plug in the pump and check that it pushes the water over the top of the pot, and adjust the flow as necessary. Disguise the reservoir with pebbles and gravel, leaving a gap to allow you to fill it up—you need to do this once a week in summer.
Tips: Soften with planting
Plant up around your pool, leaving a margin between your planting and the reservoir, to avoid dislodging it. Plants from the Mediterranean, such as euphorbias (right), lavender, and rock roses (Cistus) make great companions for an urn. If you prefer a more traditional look, try roses, honeysuckle, and daisies.