Converting the fountain into a garden, part 1

One of the features of our homestead is a fountain with a flower-girl statue, that was added by a previous owner.

Here’s a GIF of the fountain from 2014:

Fountain GIF

However, we rarely ran the fountain, as it tended to spray water outside the pool, and leaked, so we had to keep topping it up. Plus, after a few years the electrical supply became unreliable, popping the GFCI increasingly frequently. And without running the fountain, the pool became a breeding ground of mosquitos and such.

So, we decided to replace the pool with a garden.

Here’s the pump in the base of the fountain, which I’ve disconnected:

Pump

I had the idea of using the fountain tube to water plants in the middle basin of the fountain, so I temporarily connected a hose to check that that would be feasible:

Hose

Yep; here’s a GIF of the fountain working from that hose:

Fountain GIF

That basin has a drain hole, so it won’t fill up with water when we put soil and plants there (the drain is still plugged in that GIF).

So, after checking that, the next step was to add a new tap for irrigation tubing to the fountain. I could have connected to the existing tap next to the fountain, but I wanted to have the tubing enter the fountain from the back, where it wouldn’t be visible from the house or deck. The garden to the right of the fountain doesn’t already have a tap, so I wanted to add one.

I knew from a previous plumbing project that there is a pipe under that garden. Here’s a picture from 2015 of an overly complex piping system I added for the flowerbeds (the tap on the left is to attach a water timer and short hose to the nearby female port, enabling timed watering, with a bypass valve too). The pipe at the top goes under the garden next to the fountain:

Flowerbed plumbing

Here’s that location now; you can see the short white hose, though there isn’t a timer connected currently:

Flowerbed plumbing

When I dug down in the garden next to the fountain, I found the pipe in the expected location:

Pipe

I turned off the garden water supply, then cut the pipe (a little water drained out):

Cut pipe

Then I added a tap:

Added tap

The next day (allowing time for the adhesive to cure) I turned the water back on, checked for leaks, then filled the hole:

Filled hole

The next step was to drill a hole through the base of the fountain wall, so I could have the irrigation tubing tidily go through the wall rather than over it. To do that, I previously purchased a rather large 1 inch by 16 inch masonry drill bit:

1 inch by 16 inch drill bit

Here’s the drill bit in my driver:

Drill bit in driver

Though after a while I switched to a dedicated drill. It took over an hour to get through the concrete-filled block of the wall:

Drilling

Drilling

The hole:

Hole

Then I added an irrigation pipe from the new tap through the hole:

Irrigation pipe

Inside the fountain pool, I added a T-junction to the irrigation pipe, with one fork going to the fountain tubing, the other for sprinkler emitters for the bottom level:

Irrigation pipe

That done, I brought several loads of scoria to add at the bottom as a drainage layer:

Dumping scoria

Thusly:

Scoria

We inherited a large pile of scoria over near the beehives; still lots left:

Scoria

Then I did a couple loads of soil:

Dirt

Starting the soil layer:

Soil layer

Soil layer

That’s all I had time and energy for. I will probably finish adding the soil next weekend, weather permitting.

It was quite a workout; don’t need a gym when you have a homestead!

Activity

Fountain garden stream

Now that the overnight temperatures are (mostly) above freezing, I’ve turned on the garden water, which means I could also turn on the pump in the small pond for the stream next to the fountain garden. It needs the water to be on to top it up via an automatic filler valve.

Here is the small pond; you can see the pump underwater, and filler valve on the edge (I might be modifying that soon):

Small pond

Going upstream a bit, the lower stone bridge:

Lower part of stream

Looking downstream, with the upper stone bridge in the foreground, the lower bridge barely visible through the tree, and the cat house in the background:

Stream and cat house

A couple more shots of the upper bridge:

Bridge

Bridge

Just beyond the bridge:

Stream

A GIF of the upper stream cascade (captured from a video):

GIF of stream cascade

And a closer GIF of the cascade (captured from a Live Photo):

GIF of stream cascade

A GIF of the upper falls pond, where the pump pipe ends with bubbling water:

GIF of upper falls pond

A static photo of the upper falls pond:

Upper falls pond

I hope you enjoyed this look at the stream. I’ll do the big pond waterfall in the future.