Basalt Columns as Garden Water Features
Build it Beautiful
Water Features with Basalt Columns
Create a beautiful water feature focal point for your outdoor living space or garden.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR OWN BASALT COLUMN FOUNTAIN
TOOLS AND MATERIALS
Wooden stake, shovel, zip ties, thin rope, plastic plant pot, Concrete mix, rubber mallet, level, extension cord, hose valve converter, 3-10” water hose lines, 6 Hose clamps, pond liner, underlining fabric, hand-held grinder or mechanical saw, 2” PVC pipe, 3 or 5 basalt columns, 2 AquaBlox or 2 AquaBasin (AquaBlox for smaller fountains, AquaBasin for larger), AquaScape 2000 or equivalent water pump. Bring along any other tools you like to use!
PREPARE THE AREA
Mark the desired location of your fountain with a wooden stake and dig a trench towards your desired electrical hookup. You’ll place your extension cord through the 2” PVC pipe and lay it in the trench to keep it out of sight when you’re finished.
Then, place your AquaBlox or AquaBasin on both sides of the stake and mark the outline of the boxes in the dirt. You’ll need dig a hole so that your AquaBlox sits about 3” below ground level so that you can cover the base of your fountain with pebbles or other décor. You’ll also need to leave 1-2” on all sides of your AquaBlox for the pond liner and underlining fabric.
Make sure the bottom of your hole is as level as possible. When the AquaBlox is supporting your fountain, an uneven base may prevent your fountain from retaining the water which could damage your water pump and increase the amount of times you’ll end up refilling your fountain.
ASSEMBLING YOUR FOUNTAIN
Your fountain needs something to help it stand up. Some people simply stand them up on the AquaBlox and let the final application of beach pebbles and other décor hold them up, but they can fall over from a strong wind or even the vibration of the pump.
Stand your basalt columns together in the desired formation of your fountain and tie them together at the top and bottom with some rope so it’s easy to handle as a single unit—you’ll likely need help to do this as the columns are quite heavy when all together. Be sure that the drilled holes at the base of the columns are facing outward.
Then, take your plastic plant pot, cut it to 3” tall, set your columns in the pot, and fill the base with concrete. Again, make sure you don’t cover the holes drilled in the base of your columns with concrete, or you won’t be able to hook your columns up to your water pump!
While the concrete sets, you’ll want to tie a rope from the column to something to keep it straight up and down. A fence or patio railing will do the trick.
After the concrete has set, you’ll use the rubber mallet to hammer the ribbed, plastic ⅜” inserts into the base of each column.
INSTALLING THE LINING
Make sure the hole you dug for your AquaBlox has a flat bottom and straight sides (as much as possible). Check it for any stones or sharp root tips, particularly on the bottom.
Then, lay the liner underlayment fabric, using pleated folds at the corners for the best fit. Then, do the same with the pond liner. Make sure you have enough fabric and pond liner to have about two feet of excess beyond the edge of the hole.
PREPPING THE AQUABLOX
Here’s why you’ll want two AquaBlox instead of one. If you only use one, the pump will be directly underneath the fountain, instead of underneath and to one side, where you can more easily hook up the lines, adjust flow during the season, and remove it for winter.
Before you install the AquaBlox, zip tie them together, and cut a section out of the top along one edge. We recommend using a Sawzall with a fine-tooth steel blade. The space you’ve cut will allow you to place the pump down into the AquaBlox, so make sure you cut a section large enough to easily place and remove your water pump, while allowing enough room for your hand so you can adjust the pump settings if needed.
Then, lay the AquaBlox in the hole which is now lined with your pond liner and underlying fabric.
INSTALLING YOUR FOUNTAIN
Now you’re ready to move the fountain onto its place atop the AquaBlox. Again, this may take two people, especially with the added weight of the cement base.
Once the fountain is centered and aligned on your AquaBlox, fold the pond liner and underlayment fabric over toward the fountain and fill in the spaces between the liner and the edge of the hole with dirt. Then, adjust the grade so you have a slight slope from the edge of the hole down to the top edge of the AquaBlox.
Then lay the fabric and liner back flat where it belongs.
INSTALLING THE PUMP
Place your pump in the hole you’ve cut out of the top of the AquaBlox, or you can make the necessary attachments and then place it in the AquaBlox.
For each of the columns, attach a foot or so of rubber hose to the base of the column, sliding it over the plastic, ribbed peg and secure it with a hose clamp.
Then, run the other ends of these hoses next to the pump, cut them to the desired length, and attach them to the 10” long hose lines. At the other end of the hose lines, attach the valve converters that take the ⅜” hose up to the proper width for your pump.
Now attach each of the converted ends to the splitter piece on top of the pump. If you plan on removing the pump for winter, don’t attach the hoses too far down the ribbed splitter attachment. Then, secure the connection with hose clamps.
You can set the power of the pump using the valves at the base of the splitter piece before or after you fill it with water—but make sure you don’t have them set too high to begin with, or you’ll likely get splashed while trying to adjust them down!
Remember to run the cord from the pump out of the AquaBlox and off to the trench side of your fountain.
Now you can fill the AquaBlox with water!
Once you have the pump’s power adjusted and have made sure your hose connections are holding under the water pressure, you can put the top you cut out of the AquaBlox back on over the pump area.
Then, plug the end of the pump cord to an extension cord and wrap the connection with plastic and electrical tape to ensure it doesn’t get wet. You can leave it near the base of the pump to be covered either by the pebbles or other décor you’ll use to hide the base of your fountain.
Run the extension cord through 2” PVC pipe, lay it in the trench you’ve dug, and plug the extension cord into an exterior electrical outlet. Once you’re certain it will comfortably reach, fill in the trench.
Now you can trim the excess underlayment fabric and pond liner to leave just enough circling the fountain to handle any splash.
And all that’s left is to BUILD IT BEAUTIFUL.