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Disappearing Water Fountain

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This project is for building your own outdoor disappearing fountain (err "water feature" as I guess they call it in the biz). We're not talking about a little pot with a trickle of water into a saucer. I'm not a fan of fountains that sound like someone peeing into a cup. :P We're shooting for an effect similar to a geyser shooting out of the ground. The basin will hold around 15 gallons, and produce a noticeable gushing and splashing sound.

A disappearing fountain gives you the spray and sound of water, without the open pond. It can be a pretty cool visual effect, as the water will disappear into your base. The smaller water basin makes for a greener solution, requiring less water. This can be a good choice if you have children or pets that you don't want to worry about falling into a pond, and don't care about having plants or fish.

There are great looking ready-made fountains, and fountain kits available on the market. Unfortunately, even a modest outdoor ready-made water feature starts at several hundred dollars and can easily run into the thousands. The pre-made components (e.g. basin) required to piece together your own creation really aren't any cheaper by the time you're done. Our goal is to build an in-ground fountain with inexpensive, easy to find materials. Depending on your specific needs, you can probably get it done for less than $100 ($200 including decorative rock).
 
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DenVogel (author) 1 year ago
Thank you for the kind words.
MissDaisy2 years ago
Excellent Excellent project. Looks great and it must be sooooo serene !!!! My kinda thing in the garden :)

I wish I could have the appropriate space to do so, but I can't :((( Maybe I'll sacrifice a few things in the garden next year to make something similar.

Thank you for sharing.
kenwarf022 years ago
Nice Instructable, I have been thinking about doing this type of water feature so I really appreciate getting a good design. I just wanted to mention that people should probably check their local codes about buried electrical, I know where I live and most of the USA, conduit should be 18 inches down and I think the code for the wire rated to be buried without conduit was 24 inches. I buried wire in conduit earlier this year is why I happen to know this, someone else I know ran buried wire at less than 12 inches and they had to have it replaced and run correctly before it was a couple of months old because it had failed and shorted out. I figure More Info = Fewer Problems.
casey4392 years ago
i like it and going to try it can u list where you got these items please?

Basin (15 gallon HP15 $22.99)
Pump Laguna 529 Gallon Per Hour (GPH) pond fountain PT8160 ($55.99)
Valve box circular 10" ($10.97)

seems all other parts are generic home depot stuff
DenVogel (author)  casey4392 years ago
Hi Casey. You should not need to purchase the exact items I have listed. For example, a slightly smaller pump from another manufacturer might work just as well. All the items, except for the basin, were purchased from a hardware store (e.g. Lowes, Home Depot, or a local place called Friedmans).
Reffner2 years ago
That turned out fantastic. Very professional looking as well.
DenVogel (author)  Reffner2 years ago
Thank you.
MrsDJE2 years ago
" Dog *

* Optional, but highly recommended "

I completely agree!
Wonderful job, thank you.
Electrical code in the US calls for grey PVC pipe for wiring, not white. White is for water. It's a safety thing in the future if someone else digs it up.
Other than that, an awesome project.
DenVogel (author)  Quickrick 512 years ago
Hi Quickrick. It may be hard to tell in the pictures, but we did use the gray electrical conduit. It is noted in one of the photos:
"This is electrical conduit for running our power cord from the pump. I am pretty sure that gray electrical conduit is the same as white PVC conduit, with the exception of thicker walls."

It may else be worth noting that the electrical conduit has "sweeps" instead of corners. The sweeps have a much larger turn radius, which is important if you want to pull cable through it.
Sorry I misunderstood the comment in the picture and since I was reading it on my phone I could not tell the color. My bad. 100% agree about the sweeps.
Awesome project I'm going to put it in my backyard.
mounces2 years ago
Regarding the cap on the conduit by the house: I'd notch out the top of the conduit and match it with a notch just in the bottom edge of the cap, so the wire comes out the side of the conduit rather than the top. That way, water (and dirt, bugs..) is less likely to get in, even without silicone seal...
DenVogel (author)  mounces2 years ago
Hi mounces. Notching the conduit may be a better approach for someone that is more skilled than I am. Given my limited plumbing and Dremel experience, I chose to modify the cap instead. It is much easier and cheaper to replace a cap than a length of electrical conduit that is cemented and buried.
The proper way to keep water out of a conduit coming out of the ground is with 2 90° elbows so that the opening is point down instead of up. Don't glue it. It will be hard to get a plug through it when assembled.
DenVogel (author)  RichardBronosky2 years ago
Hi Richard. All of the electrical conduit I saw (and used) had "sweeps" instead of 90-dgree corners. The sweeps have a much larger turn radius, which is important if you want to pull cable through it.
skiedra2 years ago
Very well done! Keep up the good work!
Lorddrake2 years ago
awesome fountain. since I don't have a sprinkler system I would need to manually refill the fountain ( or rig up some sort of refill system). Approx how much water is lost to splash? last thing I want to do is burn out a pump because the water level got too low.
DenVogel (author)  Lorddrake2 years ago
With my set up, I would need to add some water every day. As mentioned in the comment above, your mileage may vary. Some pumps, not all, have an auto shut-off circuit so that they will not burn out if water runs dry. This is a valid concern.
If you don't have an automatic sprinkler system you have to manually add water every day? Also, how do you winterize it? Looks nice.
DenVogel (author)  Mister_Caipirinha2 years ago
You will need to add water at some point, as it will evaporate even if it doesn't splash out. How often is hard to say. Depends on how long you run the fountain, how much splashes, the humidity where you live, etc.

We chose the rubberized feed bin for our basin, so that should not need winterizing. I'd probably pull the pump if you live someone that water could freeze inside.
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