Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Garden Fountain

It is likely that I will never again come across the inspiration photo for this garden project.  I remember the photo as if it were yesterday.  It was in a glossy magazine.  An old sewer grate had been transformed into a fountain feature.  The grate was surrounded by lush hostas.  Water bubbled out of the iron grate.  I wanted to be in that garden, sitting in a chair, listening to the burbling fountain.

So certain was I that I wanted to recreate that fountain, I never imagined the magazine would hit the recycle bin before I'd had a chance to design my own water feature.  I was wrong.  The photo, as well as the accompanying article, are gone forever.

I spent a summer or more, searching for iron sewer grates.  It isn't easy!  Those things are expensive.  But in my search, I began to happen upon other possibilities.  Barbeque grates.  Vintage bath grates.  Cast iron floor grates.

One day last summer, I was searching Etsy and found Song Sparrow Treasures.  Not only did Betsy have an iron floor grate, she was located within driving distance.  Road trip!

It was a lovely item.  And Betsy is a friendly person, so I'm glad it worked well for both of us. I brought the pretty grate home and prepared the iron for its watery future.   I sprayed with lots of a Rustoleum spray, made for that purpose.

Being in possession of the iron grate was not enough, however.  It took me a while to decide how I was going to make a fountain underneath the grate.  Lowe's came to the rescue with something kind of like this.  That might be the actual fountain pump, but I am not certain because the online photo doesn't show the packing it comes in. 

I spent the winter months playing with the pump experimenting with the pump.  It made for a wet kitchen.  I knew I needed some sort of 'pond' deep enough to keep the pump submerged, but narrow enough that it would fit under the grate.  Ready-made ponds were too wide for my grate.  Neither would digging a pond and lining it work.  Most liners are huge and I didn't want to buy way more material than I needed.  Months later, after consulting with my more-practical-minded-than-I-am husband, I returned to Lowe's for this bucket.  And this extension cord.  No, I don't own stock in Lowe's; just a shopping suggestion.

The idea: dig a hole, insert bucket, place fountain pump, top with grate, finish off with stone, rocks, and greenery.

Here is how it started.  It is a spot bordered by porch, patio, and house.  You can see baby cucumber plants have just been planted (outside the planter at the very top).


The cucumbers reveal that some time has passed.  But the bucket and pump are installed; grate placed on top. 
Next up: the stone surrounds.  I put down thick layers of plastic to prevent weeds.  Let us see how long it takes before they simply decide to grow amongst the pea gravel.  I ran out of pea gravel, so the black plastic under the porch will be covered eventually.  As well, I'd like to add a few more small stones, but these are unearthed endlessly around our property, so it won't take long for the children to contribute more to the collection.

You'll notice I planted a hosta.  That corner is shady enough for the hosta, but the other side of the fountain is probably too sunny for hostas, as peppers and tomatoes grow well there.  I hope the hosta will grow enough to hide some of the power cord.  Perhaps the cucumbers will keep being planted in that spot in future years, to provide some greenery on the other side of the fountain area.

And, finally, a video of the bubbling fountain.  Yes, I started a You Tube Channel just so I could share the fountain with my dedicated readers.  All four of you.  Not super-high quality, but you get the idea.

I promised Betsy last August that I would share photos of The Reveal and I'll be contacting her with this link.  I notice that she, too, has a blog.  My Five Men.  I've bookmarked that.  In this era of 140-word proclamations from friends and public figures alike, I find I enjoy old fashioned (?!) blogs.  It's always a pleasure to find a new one.


  1. Beautiful....and I love your blog! :)

  2. Thanks for visiting! Sorry I'm so behind with the comment moderation!