How to Build a Stone Fountain

Stone fountain on patio with plants.

Robert Simon / Getty Images

Stone fountains make a wonderful focal point or conversation piece for your patio landscaping. Here's how to make your very own stone fountain.

Before You Begin

Installation of rock fountains begins by excavating for the preformed pond liner, but excavation begins by establishing a safe power source for your pump (unless you already have one). Have a certified electrician install a GFCI outlet on your outer house wall, near where the rock fountain will be. In addition, you should also call the Call Before You Dig phone number to ensure there are no utility cables where you'll be excavating.

What You'll Need

  • Metal grate
  • Preformed pond liner
  • Pump
  • Tubing for the pump
  • Sand
  • River rock
  • Other assorted rock
  • The stone fountain piece, itself
  • Shovel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Back brace

Instructions

  1. Trace the Pond Liner

    Flip the preformed pond liner upside down on the ground and trace around it so that you'll know exactly how big a circle to dig out.

  2. Excavate the Pit

    How deep should you dig? Use the depth of the preformed pond liner as a guideline. Do not worry over being off slightly, since sand can be used later to make any alterations deemed necessary.

  3. Insert the Pond Liner

    Insert the preformed pond liner. The top rim of the preformed pond liner should stand about an inch above ground level. Don't worry about it showing; you'll be concealing it with rocks eventually.

  4. Level the Pond Liner

    Check that the preformed pond liner is level, using a carpenter's level. If it is not, take out the preformed pond liner and make the necessary adjustments by moving the sand around (or adding or removing sand).

    Ensure that the preformed liner sits level in its hole.
    Ensure that the preformed liner sits level in its hole. David Beaulieu
  5. Install the Metal Grate

    Stone fountains must have a hole at the bottom, where you insert the pump's tubing. But the stone fountain, for that reason, needs to be elevated off the pond's bottom (so that you have access to this hole). The solution is to use a metal grate that will support the stone fountain. The tubing needs to be able to move freely underneath both the stone fountain and the metal grate. A number of different kinds of metal grates would work here. Some might run across the top of the pond liner; unless very sturdy, this type might need to be supported by cinder blocks placed in the pond.

    As a metal grate for my fountain, I used a cast iron gate (normally used to hold firewood).
    As a metal grate for my fountain, I used a cast iron gate (normally used to hold firewood). David Beaulieu
  6. Install the Fountain Pump

    Place the fountain pump (with its tubing attached) on the bottom of the pond liner, and place the grate over it. The grate shouldn't cover the entire surface of the pond; there should be room to slip your hand underneath the grate both at the front and the back.

    Thread tubing through the grate, as a test. The tubing will later be fed through the stone fountain.
    A test run: threading the tubing through the grate. David Beaulieu
  7. Place the Stone Fountain

    Enlisting the help of several others, carefully place the stone fountain on the grate. You should not do this alone, as the granite piece can be especially heavy.

  8. Thread the Tubing

    Thread the tubing through the grate and on up through the granite piece's bottom hole.

  9. Place the Granite on the Grate

    Position the stone fountain in the approximate center of the grate. Now reach under the grate to check for the hole at the bottom of the granite piece. If the grate is blocking the hole at all, move the stone fountain slightly until you have clear access to the hole.

    This picture shows a stone fountain set on a grate.
    Stone fountain in place on top of its grate. David Beaulieu
  10. Plumbing the Rock Fountain

    Reach down under the grate and locate the free end of the tubing. Thread the tubing through the grate and up into the hole at the bottom of the rock fountain.Guide the tubing the rest of the way through the rock fountain, until it reaches the top hole (in the picture I have the tubing sticking out even further, just to make it easier for you to see it; I pushed it back down some prior to moving on to the next step).

    Picture showing how to plumb rock fountains.
    To plumb the rock fountain, thread the tubing through the 2 holes. David Beaulieu
  11. Fill the Pond with Water

    With the plumbing in place, it's time to fill the pond liner with water and turn the pump on, just to verify that everything is in order before proceeding. As the picture shows, the fountain jet isn't high. In this case, the fountain jet is meant to remind one of a bubbling spring.

    Fountain jet picture. Instead of a spout, it has a bubbling spring look.
    This stone fountain has a "bubbling spring" look. David Beaulieu
  12. Conceal the Grate With Rocks

    While the stone fountain will be perfectly functional at this point, it needs some finishing touches for decorative purposes. People generally don't want the grate to show, because it isn't especially attractive. The idea is to hide the grate and make it look like the stone fountain is rising out of the ground.

    Large rocks do most of the work of concealing stone fountain's grate.
    Large rocks do most of the work of concealing the grate and pond. David Beaulieu
  13. Add the Final Touches

    The polished river rock serves as an accent at the base of the stone fountain, but it would also serve a practical purpose if you are using a more powerful pump. Having smaller, rounded rocks in that spot would mean less splashing and, consequently, less water loss. The cascading water would gently strike the polished river rock and ease back down into the reservoir of the pond liner underneath the fountain.

    Polished river rock provides a nice accent at the base of the fountain.
    Polished river rock provides a nice accent at the base of the fountain. David Beaulieu