So, how do these fountains work anyways? When you’re wandering through our gallery, it seems like the water just appears and disappears so seamlessly…

There are many different ways to display a running water feature. Here at Stone Forest, we provide all the components you need for a simple, recirculating set-up. Let’s take a closer look at how this works:

Step one | Choose your fountain design Which one is your favorite? Did the Helix catch your eye? Or how about the Natural Millstone Fountain, Swirl Fountain or one of the new Pebble Fountains? Yep, many people find that this is the hardest part of the decision because there are just so many to choose from!

Step Two | Accessories After you narrow it down to the fountain you want, the accessories we recommend are geared toward the size, shape, and weight of the design you choose. There are 3 basic components we provide that complete the setup: reservoir basin kit (holds the water under the fountain, think of this as a big hidden pool), submersible pump (plugs into electrical nearby and pushes the water up through the fountain, connected to flexible hosing ), and pebbles (hides the reservoir underneath for a seamless, “disappearing” effect):

We have 5 different reservoir kits that fit the majority of our fountain designs, and 6 pump sizes.  How do you know what you need?  When you’re looking at a particular fountain on our website, all of the related accessories are listed and linked directly on the same page so you can see what we recommend.  In general, there are 2 types of kits you can use: a rigid plastic basin, or an assembly of wood framing, pond liner, concrete, and metal grating.  Each of these basins functions in the same way, but some work better than others with the particular fountain you select.

I’m going to explain how each of these designs goes into the ground.

The first step to any of these installations is to find a nice spot in your yard where you’d like to showcase your snazzy new Stone Forest water feature.  You’ll be digging a hole into the dirt in this area, so make sure it’s not a hard surface like a patio or concrete pad (unless you love jack-hammering!), or an extremely root-ridden area right next to an ancient, gnarly tree.  (If you aren’t using a Stone Forest installation kit, then see “Custom Installations” toward the bottom of this post).

 

 

STEP-BY-STEP INSTALLATION FOR EACH OF OUR KITS:

We offer 2 installation kit designs that are made of a heavy-duty, durable plastic with components that neatly “snap” together to make your reservoir basin.

1. Fountain Installation Kit, 36" Round Basin
36″ diam. x 10″H, holds 35 gallons of water & up to 2000 lbs of weight

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

You can view additional images here on our website showing this basin's components: use the arrows to flip through the full slideshow. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions.

For a visual guide, see the installation example below these instructions.

 

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 9″ deep, 30″ in diameter at the bottom, and sloping to 35″ in diameter at the top. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (we used play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface).

• Place the basin into the hole, with the power cord cut-out facing toward the power source. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Set the round support “trunk” into the circular receptacle in the center of the basin and align the tubing cut-outs.

• Place the pump into the basin, running the power cord through the cord cut-out.

• Cut a length of tubing long enough to reach from the bottom of the basin to the top of the water feature. Run the tubing through the center hole in the top of the support and out the tubing cut-outs, then connect it to the pump outlet fitting.

• Install the 6 top plates.

• Place your Stone Forest water feature on top of the basin in the center, on the section of the support “trunk” that’s slightly higher than the plates.

• Pull the hosing up through the center cord-drilled hole in the fountain stone. You’ll notice that there is space left around the 1.25″ drilled hole and the either 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter flexible garden hose that connects to your pump below. To fill the space around the hose and fit it snugly into the top of the core-drilled hole, we wrap the top part of the hose with a strip of pond liner and electrical tape. See images below for reference:

• Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (6) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles.

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the pump in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain.

 

INSTALLATION EXAMPLE:

View PDF, 36" Round Kit Basin with Rough Vessel step-by-step

You can view additional images by clicking on the link above, showing an example of the Stone Forest Rough Basin being installed at a private residence in New Mexico using the 36" Round Kit, pump, and pebbles. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions. 

Here's a video showing the fountain installed and running:

 

 

 

2. Fountain Installation Kit, 44" Square Basin 
44" square x 11″H, holds 60 gallons of water & up to 3000 lbs of weight

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

You can view additional images here on our website showing this basin's components and installation: use the arrows to flip through the full slideshow. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions.

 

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 10″ deep, 29″ square at the bottom, and sloping to 37″ square at the top. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (we used play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface).

• Place the basin into the hole, with the power cord cut-out facing toward the power source. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Insert the 8 supports into the 8 support holes.

• Place the center plate (gray) onto the supports, pressing firmly to ensure full installation.

• Cut a length of tubing long enough to reach from the bottom of the basin to the top of the water feature. Run the tubing through the center hole in the top of the center plate and connect it to the pump outlet fitting.

• Install the 4 top plates. On the side nearest the power supply, run the pump power cord out the cord gap, under the edge of the top plate, and through the cord cut-out.

• Install the 4 access covers, ensuring that the cut-out in each faces outward.

• Place your Stone Forest water feature on top of the basin in the center, where the 4 top plates meet.

• Pull the hosing up through the center cord-drilled hole in the fountain stone. You’ll notice that there is space left around the 1.25″ drilled hole and the either 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter flexible garden hose that connects to your pump below. To fill the space around the hose and fit it snugly into the top of the core-drilled hole, we wrap the top part of the hose with a strip of pond liner and electrical tape. See images below for reference:

• Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (6) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles.

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the pump in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain.

 

 

___________________________________

We offer 3 installation kit designs that are made by combining components of wood, concrete, pond liner, and galvanized grating together to make your reservoir basin.

3. Fountain Installation Kit, 4×4′ 
48" square x 12"H, holds approx 100 gallons of water

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

You can view additional images here on our website showing this basin's components and installation: use the arrows to flip through the full slideshow. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions.

 

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 12″ deep, 48″ square. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (you can use play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface). 

• Place the 4 pieces of 2x6 lumber provided into the sides of the hole, standing up like walls, leaving 1" standing above grade. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Center the concrete pedestal and level. If there is a piece of wood running through the center of the pedestal, pop this out. Having the empty groove running down the middle is necessary for the hosing connection. If there is wood framing the sides, it's ok to leave this on.

• Unfold the pond liner, and spread it into the hole, running over top of the concrete pedestal, and down into the space around it. Helpful hint: place some kind of padding between the concrete pedestal and pond liner to prevent tearing/leaking. You could use excess pond liner, felt, or even newspaper to create a nice barrier. The weight of the water will want to pull the pond liner down on those corners, so this should help prevent future issues.

• Filling the reservoir with water at this step can help pull the pond liner down into place, so that you can staple the outer edges to the exterior 1" of wood frame all the way around, and then snip excess liner off neatly. If you don't want to add water yet, push the liner down into the hole as best you can before cutting excess so you don't run short.

• Place the galvanized grating over the hole. The edges should line up with the framing, and the cutout in the middle should line up with the groove in the top of the pedestal. This will accommodate your hosing, so it's important that the pond liner is pushed into the groove as much as possible.

• Place your Stone Forest water feature on top of the pedestal in the center.

• Cut a length of tubing long enough to reach from the bottom of the basin to the top of the water feature. Run the tubing through the center hole in the fountain, snaking out the bottom through the concrete pedestal's center groove, and out the side. Connect it to the pump outlet fitting. The pump should sit below the corner cut-out for easy access at anytime. There should be an extra square of galvanized grating that will act as the cover for this pump access (and prevent the pebbles from falling through).

• You’ll notice that there is space left around the 1.25″ drilled hole and the either 1/2″ or 5/8″ diameter flexible garden hose that connects to your pump below. To fill the space around the hose and fit it snugly into the top of the core-drilled hole, we wrap the top part of the hose with a strip of pond liner and electrical tape. See images below for reference:

• It's best if this pump access corner is on the side nearest the power supply. Run the pump power cord out the side, under the edge of the grating. Hide or bury as necessary (or as advised by your electrician). 

• Cover the pump access area with the extra square of grating. Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (6) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles.

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the pump in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain.

 

 

4. Fountain Installation Kit, 6x6′ 
72" square x 12"H, holds approx 250 gallons of water

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

You can view additional images here on our website showing this basin's components and installation: use the arrows to flip through the full slideshow. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions. (Please note: the 4x4' and 6x6' kits are very similar, but the 6x6' kit has (2) sheets of galvanized grating that will overlap in the middle. Please see the 2nd to last photo in the slideshow as a reference).

 

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 12” deep, 72” square. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (you can use play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface). 

• Place the 4 pieces of 2x6 lumber provided into the sides of the hole, standing up like walls, leaving 1” standing above grade. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Center the concrete pedestal and level. If there is a piece of wood running through the center of the pedestal, pop this out. Having the empty groove running down the middle is necessary for the hosing connection. If there is wood framing the sides, it’s ok to leave this on.

• Unfold the pond liner, and spread it into the hole, running over top of the concrete pedestal, and down into the space around it. Helpful hint: place some kind of padding between the concrete pedestal and pond liner to prevent tearing/leaking. You could use excess pond liner, felt, or even newspaper to create a nice barrier. The weight of the water will want to pull the pond liner down on those corners, so this should help prevent future issues.

• Filling the reservoir with water at this step can help pull the pond liner down into place, so that you can staple the outer edges to the exterior 1” of wood frame all the way around, and then snip excess liner off neatly. If you don’t want to add water yet, push the liner down into the hole as best you can before cutting excess so you don’t run short.

• Place the galvanized grating over the hole. Note: there will be Qty (2) 4’ x 6’ sheets that will overlap to create the 6x6’ square. The edges should line up with the framing, and the cutout in the middle should line up with the groove in the top of the pedestal. This will accommodate your hosing, so it’s important that the pond liner is pushed into the groove as much as possible.

• Place your Stone Forest water feature on top of the pedestal in the center.

• Cut a length of tubing long enough to reach from the bottom of the basin to the top of the water feature. Run the tubing through the center hole in the fountain, snaking out the bottom through the concrete pedestal’s center groove, and out the side. Connect it to the pump outlet fitting. The pump should sit below the corner cut-out for easy access at anytime. There should be an extra square of galvanized grating that will act as the cover for this pump access (and prevent the pebbles from falling through).

• You’ll notice that there is space left around the 1.25” drilled hole and the either 1/2” or 5/8” diameter flexible garden hose that connects to your pump below. To fill the space around the hose and fit it snugly into the top of the core-drilled hole, we wrap the top part of the hose with a strip of pond liner and electrical tape. See images below for reference:

 

 

•It’s best if this pump access corner is on the side nearest the power supply. Run the pump power cord out the side, under the edge of the grating. Hide or bury as necessary (or as advised by your electrician). 

• Cover the pump access area with the extra square of grating. Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (11) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles.

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the pump in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain.

 

 

5. Installation Kit for the 39" Triple Basalt Fountain
72" square x 12"H, holds approx 220 gallons of water

 

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

You can view additional images here on our website showing this basin's components and installation: use the arrows to flip through the full slideshow. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions. (Please note: the 6x6' and 39" Triple Basalt Fountain kits are very similar, but the 39" Triple Basalt Fountain kit has (3) concrete pedestals. Please see the 2nd to last photo in the slideshow as a reference. The galvanized grating will overlap just like the 6x6' kit, but you will need to make the cuts on site to accommodate the 39" Triple Basalt Fountain's hosing and pump access).

 

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 12” deep, 72” square. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (you can use play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface). 

• Place the 4 pieces of 2x6’ lumber provided into the sides of the hole, standing up like walls, leaving 1” standing above grade. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Unfold the pond liner, and spread it down into the hole and up over the sides. 

• Center the concrete pedestals in a row (or arrange as you wish). If there is a piece of wood running through the center of the pedestals, pop these out. Having the empty groove running down the middle is necessary for the hosing connections. If there is wood framing the sides, it’s ok to leave this on.

Helpful hint: place some kind of padding between the concrete pedestals and pond liner to prevent tearing/leaking. You could use excess pond liner underneath the edges/corners for additional protection. Keep in mind that the concrete will be exposed to the water, so you may consider waterproofing your concrete pedestals ahead of time with a waterproofing agent. We like CIM’s products: http://cimindustries.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Waterproofing-Guide-Fountains.pdf

• Staple the outer edges to the exterior 1” of wood frame all the way around, and then snip excess liner off neatly. If you don’t want to add water yet, push the liner down into the hole as best you can before cutting excess so you don’t run short.

• Place the galvanized grating over the hole. Note: there will be Qty (2) 4’ x 6’ sheets that will overlap to create the 6x6’ square. The edges should line up with the framing, and you’ll need to mark and make cuts over the centers of each pedestal. You can use a power tool like an angle grinder to make the cuts, but please be careful! Safety gear should be worn, and having a friend present to stabilize (and supervise?) is probably wise! 

Once the cuts are made and you have aligned the grating over each pedestal, make sure that the pond liner is pushed down into each concrete pedestal groove: this will accommodate your hosing. You’ll also want to cut a pump access hole in one of the corners closest to your power supply. This hole should be slightly smaller than the ones you just cut for the hose access, since one of these extra pieces will become the “trap door” cover for the pump access hole.

• Place and center your Stone Forest Triple Basalt water feature on top of each pedestal.

• Cut a length of tubing long enough to reach from the bottom of the basin to the top of the water feature: do this three times, since there is 1 pump for each section. Run the tubing through the center holes in the fountain, snaking out the bottom through the concrete pedestal’s center groove, and out the side. Connect it to each pump’s outlet fitting. The pumps should sit below the corner cut-out for easy access at anytime. There should be an extra square of galvanized grating that will act as the cover for this pump access (and prevent the pebbles from falling through).

• You’ll notice that there is space left around the 1.25” drilled hole and the 5/8” diameter flexible garden hose that connects to your pumps below. To fill the space around the hose and fit it snugly into the top of the core-drilled hole, we wrap the top part of the hose with a strip of pond liner and electrical tape. See images below for reference:

• It’s best if this pump access corner is on the side nearest the power supply. Run the pump power cord out the side, under the edge of the grating. Hide or bury as necessary (or as advised by your electrician). 

• Cover the pump access area with an extra square of grating (from the cuts you made previously). Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (11) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles. 

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the 3 pumps in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain.

(An important note: If you are concerned about securing each section of this fountain into place to prevent them from falling over, Stone Forest can drill additional holes for "pinning" it into place. You'll need to drill holes into the concrete pedestals that align with these pin holes on site, and set stainless steel pins so that the basalt sections can slide into place. You could also pour the concrete pedestals on site and place the pins beforehand. Some installations may be in commercial environments, have earthquake risks, or have exposure to small children, pets or weather that could cause concern should the fountain move. No one wants their fountain to turn into dominoes! Please give Stone Forest a call to discuss additional pin-hole drilling costs and details.)

 

 

___________________________________

 In the Japanese tradition, water features run with a trickling bamboo spout instead of bubbling up through a center hole in the basin. Let's take a look at how that setup works a little differently.

6. Basin with bamboo spout installation

Click here to view the PDF version of the step-by-step instructions below.

For a visual guide, see installation example below these instructions.

   

• Get your shovel and level out. Dig a hole 10” deep, 29” square at the bottom, and sloping to 37” square at the top. Ensure that the ground at the bottom is level and solid (we used play sand from the hardware store in the bottom of the hole to create a nice “level” surface).

• Place the basin into the hole, with the power cord cut-out facing toward the power source. Level, moving earth or sand around if necessary.

• Insert the 8 supports into the 8 support holes.

• Place the center plate (gray) onto the supports, pressing firmly to ensure full installation.

• Install the 4 top plates. On the side nearest the power supply, run the pump power cord out the cord gap, under the edge of the top plate, and through the cord cut-out.

• Install the 4 access covers, ensuring that the cut-out in each faces outward.

• Place your Stone Forest water feature on top of the basin in the center, where the 4 top plates meet.

• Place the bamboo spout beside the fountain so that the spout is positioned over the center of the basin. You can prop the spout up by surrounding it with pebbles (see step #9), or if you’d like to secure it to the kit (to keep it from tipping over on a windy day) we suggest connecting a wooden dowel up and into the side of the hollow base using a screw. You can then feed the dowel down through one of the holes in the top of the panels below (start by measuring the diameter of the holes and find a dowel slightly smaller in diameter). Alternatively, feel free to create your own method for securing the spout using tools at hand.

• Cover the reservoir with smooth river pebbles (or whatever you choose to use to conceal the basin). For this kit, we usually recommend Qty (6) 75-lb bags of the dark river pebbles. You can build up the pile of pebbles around your spout to stand it in place, if you decide not to secure it to the kit panels below.

• Fill your reservoir with water, plug the pump in, and VOILA! Grab a lounge chair and prepare to be relaxed by the soothing sounds of your new fountain. Adjust the position of the bamboo spout as necessary so that the stream of water hits near the center of the basin (or wherever you prefer the sound and look best).

 

INSTALLATION EXAMPLE:

View PDF, 36" Round Kit Basin with Bamboo Spout and Ishi Basin step-by-step

You can view additional images by clicking on the link above, showing an example of the Stone Forest Ishi Basin being installed at a private residence in Virginia using the 36" Round Kit, bamboo spout, pump, and pebbles. This is a nice visual guide alongside these instructions (remember: you can use either the 36" or 44" kit depending on what's best for your setup). 

Here's a video showing the fountain installed and running:

 

 

___________________________________

A note regarding shipping & packing:

We pack our items with pride and care. If anything arrives damaged, please call us right away and take photos for reference. Our 36" Round and 44" Square plastic reservoir kits are typically placed on top of your crated/palletized shipment (the fountain, pump and pebbles will be underneath), and our heavier 4x4', 6x6' and 39" Triple Kits are often palletized separately. Here's a few snapshots from the Stone Forest workshop showing an example of a 6x6' Installation Kit ready for freight pickup.

You'll notice that the heavy concrete pedestal is at the bottom, still in its framing from when it was poured (you can pop the wood 2x4' out of the top center, which creates a groove to accommodate your hosing), the galvanized grating stands in vertical sheets, and the wood 2x6's are meant for your reservoir hole's framing in the ground.

Please remember not to discard anything that arrives with your shipment until all components are accounted for, or fully installed. If you have questions about what you received, just give us a ring.

 

 

___________________________________

7. Custom Installations

Sure, the methods above are certainly not the only way to install a water feature! You can get quite creative with how your Stone Forest water feature is displayed. Below are just a few of our favorite examples showing how our clients decided to work with their architect or designer to create alternative reservoir setups:

 

Here's our Small Antique Millstone Fountain with a custom-order base pedestal for added height in a front entry courtyard with custom pool and submerged river pebbles.

 

 

Here's our Curved Waterwall in blue-gray granite in a custom above-ground reservoir with contemporary border and giant pavers. This home and landscape was featured in Garden Design Magazine. (Image courtesy of Jack Coyier Photography of Santa Monica, CA).

 

 

 Check out this stunning Custom Helix Fountain in a series of cascading pools. Love how you can see right into the water.

 

 

If you decide to take the more creative route, please consult with a professional so that your Stone Forest fountain is properly supported and still allows for easy maintenance and access.

If you decide to install your water feature using one of our methods listed above, keep in mind that you can add some beautiful finishing touches that really complete the look, for example, build in a border of larger rocks around the river pebbles like we did for our Marubachi Fountain:

...or soften the edges with surrounding plant life, and really integrate it into your garden and landscape, like this Rough Vessel with bamboo spout, as featured in Fine Gardening Magazine:

If you've made it this far: we hope this article makes you feel like you're a true Stone Forest water feature aficionado! and bravo for sticking with it to the end. Now go brag to all your friends about your new fountain...and exactly how it works. Or, if you're reading this for information prior to your purchase: just buy it! You'll love your Stone Forest fountain each and every day.

Recent Posts