How to Build a Low-Maintenance Water fountain

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How to Build a Low-Maintenance Water fountain

Construct a simple (one-weekend!) stone and gravel fountain that needs almost no maintenance.

You can build this beautiful artesian fountain in just two days. And once it’s built, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. In this story, we’ll show you everything you need to construct this stone fountain, complete with running water. Modeled after an old millstone, this little fountain is the perfect size for a patio or small backyard. Constructed from concrete and common building material, you can construct it in a weekend.

If you’re looking for an eye-catching feature for your patio, deck or even front entry, this natural-looking artesian fountain will do the trick. We designed this fountain around a special stone, one with a 1-in. hole drilled through it. Water from the pump gurgles up through the hole and overflows the stone. To reduce maintenance, we eliminated the collection pond. A gravel-filled reservoir below collects the overflow for recirculation. Since no sunlight can reach the water in the reservoir and support algae growth, the water stays pristine. You’ll have algae growing near wet areas, but it only contributes to the natural look.

In this article, we’ll show you how to select and drill a boulder that’ll mimic a natural artesian well. We’ll also show you how to construct a simple under-gravel reservoir using 5-gal. pails. The decorative choices—the top-dressing stones, fountain stone and plants—we leave to your own creative eye and inspiration.

The whole building process is simpler than you might think, and you don’t need any special skills or tools. But it’s not a completely no-sweat job. You’ll have to dig an 8 x 10-ft. hole about 2 ft. deep and dump in gravel. That’s the only genuinely heavy work. You can easily have this project up, running and finished in a day once you’ve gathered the materials.

The fountain we show cost about $1,000 including the pump, rock fill, pond liner and pad, and all of the boulders, including the one that’s drilled. But your pond doesn’t have to be as large and elaborate as ours. You can design a smaller version that will cost as little as $200. All you need is one water-spouting boulder resting in a small area of decorative stone for a beautiful conversation piece for your garden.


Salzburg + das Salzkammergut

What an amazing weekend. (Ich schummle auf diesem Blogeintrag weil er sehr lang ist, so ich schreibe nur auf englisch.) On Thursday morning, I took the train from Feldbach to Salzburg to meet my friend Mark for an extended weekend trip to Salzburg, then Bad Ischl and Hallstatt in the Salzkammergut.

In Salzburg, we covered everything in the Altstadt (old city center) - it turns out we’re excellent at walking in circles - including the Mozart-Wohnhaus (Mozart residence), Mozarts Geburtshaus (Mozart’s birth house), Mozartskugeln von Fürst Confiserie (delicious chocolate balls from Fürst Confectioner’s), the Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral), and Stift Nonnberg (Nonnberg Convent), where Maria lived in The Sound of Music. We also explored the Festung Hohensalzburg (Salzburg Fortress), which gave us an awesome, panoramic view of the city, as well as the mountains in the other direction. Then we toured Schloß Hellbrunn with its trick fountains; the Archbishop designed the gardens behind the palace with hidden water fountains and streams to surprise his guests. His best trick is the stone dining table, where water shoots out from the seat of all the guests’ chairs (but not his, of course).

Despite the beauty of Salzburg, my favorite part of the weekend was on Saturday in Bad Ischl, where we took the Katrin Seilbahn (cable car) up into the Salzkammergut Berge (Salzkammergut Mountains). We hiked along a trail up to Feuerkogel and Rosenkogel (two “peaks” along the path), racing against an incoming, quite ominous-looking Gewitter (storm). A totally cool rocking, lounge chair was conveniently placed near the top of Rosenkogel with an incredible view of the trees and valley below, with the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Sitting there watching the clouds roll in and hearing the wind roar through the trees was simply perfect. Sublime.

We spent the last day of our adventures, Sunday, in nearby Hallstatt, a small town on the Hallstätter See (Hallstatt Lake). The train station for Hallstatt is actually across the lake, so you have to take a quick boat ride to reach the town. From town, we took a bus to the Obertraun Dachstein Seilbahn (another set of cable cars) up into the Dachstein Mountains to Mount Krippenstein. We were quite a bit higher than in the Salzkammergut Mountains, so we could actually touch snow. In June. The view from 5fingers, a set of 5 viewing platforms that stick out from the side of the mountain, was absolutely amazing. We were also able to tour an ice cave, which was pretty cool (and quite cold!). After wandering mountains those past 2 days, I’ve decided hiking is definitely my new favorite thing.

More pictures to come in a separate post soon - stay tuned!