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    Weekend DIY: Getting started with a water feature

    Published on 28 February 2016, Sunday, 8:15 PM

    A water feature can be one of the most rewarding DIY projects to go ahead with, especially when it's used to complete the look of a garden. What's more, if done right, they could help to add value to a property - something that's always a good idea.

    Before tearing up the back garden and laying down the stone for a water feature, however, it's a good idea to consider the prep work and the tools you can use to ensure the job comes out right at the end. While you likely won't need a Bobcat digger for the excavations, landscaping tools could come in handy.

    Find a suitable space

    Everyone will have a different garden, which can make it tough in some cases to find a great location for a water feature. The first step is to locate a space which is a suitable size, and will not become an annoyance down the track. Planning a deck extension? Make sure you account for this in the planning stages.

    Usually, it's a good idea to place it directly in the garden, instead of over a deck or existing patio. Get to work by clearing out any vegetation that will stand in the way.

    Source the materials

    Depending on the fountain you choose to install, and whether or not you buy a kit, this next step will vary. For this fountain, you'll need a few simple materials.

    • Gravel
    • A plastic basin (washtub, storage bin, etc)
    • Fabric lining
    • Water pump (including a threaded adapter, ball valve and copper pipe)
    • PVC conduit
    • Exterior wall power outlet
    • Stones (or a water sculpture)
    • Metal screening
    • Composite decking

    These are common materials, and quite easy to source. If you've opted for a kit, you'll likely only need gravel and other support materials.

    Begin the installation

    Dig a hole that's able to fit the plastic tub. Instead of dumping the soil onto the grass or garden nearby, put it into a wheelbarrow and store it for when you need to fill in the area around the basin. Then, shovel a layer of gravel onto the bottom of the hole to build a surface capable of holding the tub. Layer fabric lining over the gravel to prevent any damage to the tub. Insert the plastic tub on top of the gravel, and use the remaining soil to fill in around the tub.

    Cut a length of PVC conduit from the edge of the tub to the wall outlet, and insert the water pump plug through this conduit to the wall. Depending on your property, you'll want to cover the PVC conduit so it doesn't become a hazard.

    Insert the pump and screen

    Insert the water pump into the plastic tub, facing it upwards. Then, lay the metal screen on top and cut a section where you're able to access the pump below. You don't want to block access to the pump in the event it decides to breakdown!

    Cut the copper pipe to the correct length, and attach the ball valve and threaded adapter to the pump. Use compression fittings to connect the pump and the pipe. Add more gravel to the bottom of the plastic tub to secure the pump. Now, you should have a tub that's secured with gravel above and below, a pipe facing into the air and a metal screen covering the installation.

    Lay out the decking

    Before adding the rocks, composite decking is required to support the entire water feature. Measure the length of the metal screening, leaving generous amounts of space on each side. Then, cut the composite decking to the right size, and layout sections to cover the screening, with generous gaps between each piece of wood.

    These gaps allow the water to flow up through the pipe, over the rocks or water sculpture and down into the metal screening.

    Install the water feature

    Depending on the feature you've chosen to install, this next step will vary. For a water sculpture, add rocks to the base to the desired height, drilling holes in each rock to account for the copper pipe. Then add the sculpture on top, threading the copper pipe through the middle of the sculpture.

    For a more simple installation, you can simply drill holes in rocks and stack them right up to the top of the copper pipe. When the pump is switched on, water will flow over the rocks and down into the metal screening.

    Fill the basin with water from a hose, leaving the level just above the pump. You don't want to have water rising too high in the tub. To finish up the job, add additional rocks to cover the screening and composite decking, and ensure the structure is stable.

    Once the job has been completed, it's on to the next weekend DIY project. You may want to install a pathway with a concrete cutter to ensure it's easy for people to reach your water feature. And of course, get in touch with Kennards Hire if you need help finding the right equipment.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.