The Fountain Conversion – Bringing Your Water Feature to Life
FONT – FONTANA – FUENTE – FONTÄN – آبنما –噴泉 – FOUNTAIN
It is said that elephants are good luck because wherever you find them you find water and food. Water fountains have become a necessity of life in our gardens: the sound, the reflection, the energy of water in our environment. The Chinese art or practice of feng shui is to create harmonious surroundings and water is an essential element. Natural surroundings balanced between wind, water, light and energy come together to create an environment of peace and serenity.
This time of year, lying in bed on a balmy night, listening to the timpani of a running fountain is a luxury. When you wake and look out the window into the garden, what catches your eye? Is it the fresh bloom on the rose bush or the luxuriousness of a newly cut lawn or the sparkling water of your fountain? The perfect answer would be: all three.
What is the main element to look for in your fountain? Is it “visual”?
Think of your favorite fountain when you were a child. Suzi’s was the fountain at Griffith Park on Los Feliz Boulevard. Mine was the fountain at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. At night, it was alive with colored lights. Built in 1931 and known as the Beverly Hills Electric Fountain.
Another element is “sound”. From the roar of a natural waterfall to the zen-esque rhythm of a Japanese bamboo deer-scare fountain, as it fills, spills and then the hollow knock as it hits its rock. From quiet to loud, hearing water move and splash, tumble and fall onto itself creates mood, energy and a powerful balm for the soul.
The third element is “form”, possibly the most subjective when choosing your fountain.
All fountains work the same: water circulates, rises and falls from its source and back. The physical form and structure of the fountain resists, shapes and redirects the water’s flow. There are tiered fountains that many describe as a wedding cake. There are wall fountains, structures with spouts directing the water to flow into a vessel or intermediate bowls and finally spilling into a pond or container to recirculate up and down again.
A vessel is defined as a hollow or concave utensil, as a cup, bowl, pitcher, or vase, used for holding liquids. At Eye of the Day we can convert almost any pot, container, urn, or vase in our inventory into a fountain. Fountain conversions have become a signature service and our reputation for making bespoke fountains for the projects of our clients and designers has led us to shipping them throughout the United States.
A fountain conversion can be performed on most any pot, allowing for hundreds if not thousands of choices. If you want a unique fountain for your space and don’t want one that looks like the one your neighbor has, think about choosing your own shape, color, design and then have us convert it into a fountain.
Our Gladding McBean 88-33 is a simple pot; a sleek, high fired and colorful urn perfect for a fountain conversion. We create a water-tight seal at the bottom and attach a copper riser to carry the water to the top and create a head.
The “head” is the water that bubbles above the waterline at the top of the pot and creates the reflection, motion and sound when its falls back upon itself. As the vessel fills to the brim, it will spill over the pot and fall back to the basin and be recirculated back to the top forever and ever (as long as you keep the basin full).
The basin, which we refer to most often as the “pond” can sit above grade or below. It is very popular to hide the basin below grade and then cover it with rocks or pebbles or tumbled glass, giving the appearance of an eternal spring, its source hidden and mysterious as if it emanates from the earth.
The pump is housed in this pond or basin and its electric cord either comes out underneath the basin/pond or over its side where it can be obscured with stones or other ground cover. Always remember to keep a couple of inches of the basin above grade so that when it rains, dirt and debris can’t wash into it and compromise the pump.
Your container must be prepared to hold water and have water run over all surfaces continuously for a long period of time. There are many quality products on the market to seal and waterproof your fountain. You can use any larger container to act as your basin, it doesn’t have to be concrete or something special. I once had a client who took a heavy-duty trash can and cut it down to 12 inches and buried it in the ground.
In addition to the vessel to be made into your fountain and the basin for it to sit in, you will need a “pump house”. This is exactly what it sounds like: a house for your pump. In addition to hiding the pump from view, the pump house has another purpose, to act as a pedestal for your fountain vessel to sit on and it must be strong and stable enough to carry the fountain’s weight.
Converting pottery to fountains is easy and everything to complete the job can be purchased from your local hardware store. The one thing you might want to spend time searching for is that perfect vessel.
Another type of fountain conversion has the water returning inside of the vessel. This eliminates the need for a basin/pond and the pump house, eliminating the cost of these two additional items and the same container will fit into an even smaller space.
There is very little splash if the water is kept at a lower level within the container. Also, the sound will resonate at different pitches depending on how full you keep the vessel. Just think of a wine glass being tapped with a knife.
Other ideas for Fountain Conversions:
- Rectangular troughs
- Low Bowls
- Turning a wall into a fountain
- Old Stones
- Vessel of your choice
- Basin/Pond to fit underneath and wide enough diameter to catch as much splash as possible.
- PVC or copper tubing for riser.
- Pump house large and sturdy enough to enclose your pump and carry the weight of your vessel filled with water.
- Water pump strong enough to pump water to top of your pot
Let your imagination be your guide and create a unique fountain for your space from almost any water worthy vessel. Please come see our incredible selection of pots and containers as well as old European stone troughs, millstones and other garden art here at Eye of the Day.
We will bring your vision to life!