Monday, August 01, 2011

Pre Planning for your Custom Fountain

Whether you are a homeowner looking to put a custom fountain in your back yard, or a Landscape Architect commissioned to design it, or a contractor asked to design/build it, a little pre-planning will go a long way in eliminating future headaches.

Humm- - -where to start?- - -I guess the first thing to consider is the fountain’s “footprint”- - - the amount of real estate it’s going to occupy. This is important because too small of a footprint virtually guarantees you are going to have water splashing out of the basin. Here are just a couple of examples:

When planning your fountain, use this general “splash formula”: THE SPLASH RADIUS IS 75% OF THE DISTANCE THAT THE WATER FALLS.

If you cannot provide an adequate sized basin, then here are a couple of splash controlling aids.
  • Make the water level in the pond much lower to allow the pond wall to be a barrier- - if possible.
  • Add “spiky” vertical water plants- - this is a good (& attractive) method, but may not be 100% effective.
  • Provide a bronze screen at water level- - the most effective method, but is dependent upon maintaining a constant water level.

ITEM NEXT would be to decide on the plumbing/recirculating system- - - submersible pump or separate equipment set? The ideal is to build the fountain just like a spa (minus the heater)- - but this is cost prohibitive for all except the most grandest of estates- - -so the most common system is the submersible pump.

WARNING- - WARNING- - -WARNING!!!- - -you cannot fit a pump into a 12” x 12” x 12”sump- - -18” x 18” x 12” deep is the absolute minimum!!!- - “Hardibacker” is great for making sump covers

The best overall solution is our ”Black Box”- - -this is a self-contained buriable resevoir that contains a high quality submersible pump, water replenishment float valve, outlets for plumbing, overflow, electrical cord & all the little specialty items required for ease of installation.

It can be located up to 10’ from the fountain & works with all types of fountains, whether the basin is at ground level or elevated.

NOW LETS THINK ABOUT THE PLUMBING, & setting up for the spout (or spitter- - or spigot- - or scupper- - or mask- - or whatever you want to call it). Keep in mind that the connection at the back of the spout always takes place within the wall- - -there just is not enough space at the back of the spout for a fitting to connect to a pipe that protrudes from the wall & still allow the spout to set tight to the wall. I can’t begin to guess how many times someone has come looking for a spout for their “finished” fountain where the supply pipe is protruding out of a wall of expensive tile & they have no choice but to break out a section of the tile, chistle out the grout & clean the pipe to accept a coupling- - -“ I just hate it when that happens!!!”

Here is a generic guideline for installing a spout:

Also, if in doubt, make the supply pipe oversize- - - it’s better to get the volume of water to your spout without the pressure that a smaller diameter pipe creates- - - and- - you can always reduce it at the terminal end.

ONE LAST CAVIAT- - -a single stream of water pouring into your fountain sounds like a horse is peeing in it- - - - a funny thing to chuckle about at a yard party, but not too cool to live with everyday. Three or more streams do not sound like three horses- - it sounds like a fountain. So I suggest that you plan on three (or more) spouts, or have the spout pour into a wall bowl with scuppers.
Hopefully this little dissertation will aid you (or your designer or contractor) in having a “good” fountain producing experience.

AND- - -if we can help, just give us a shout.

Yours Truly,
Bill Rose, founder, Fountains Unique, llc

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Custom Bronze Bubbler and Compass Rose - installed

Last year, was contacted by Rick Conary of Richter & Cegan, Landscape Architects to create a bronze bubbler fountain to lay flat in the center of a 4 ft. dia. antique millstone for a private estate in Connecticut. (original blog post here).

Well, we just got the final photos of the installed Custom Bronze Bubbler and Compass Rose and they look fantastic!

Here are the photos for you to see. For the record, we think the final installed project ended up looking amazing good!

Final installed Custom Bronze Bubbler

Final installed Custom Bronze Compass Rose

Please feel free to contact us to discuss your own custom fountain needs. We want to hear from you!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

To scupper or not to scupper: that is the question.

At, you might have noticed that we have two kinds of fountain bowls. Bowls with scuppers and bowls without. It is important to understand that these two bowls perform different jobs and are not interchangeable!

Bowls with scuppers are for water to pour out of while bowls without scuppers are for water to pour into.

In other words, the bowls without scuppers are your "catch basins" that catch all the falling water from your fountain. This water does not flow over the lip, but goes out a hole in the back of the bowl to the water reservoir and pump.

Bowls with scuppers are the ones you want if you are looking for a bowl that has water flowing out of it. The scuppers channel the water into a nice stream that falls into the bowl below.

If you try to create a nice flowing fountain using bowls without scuppers, you are not going to have much luck. The water will dribble down the face and not look (or sound!) good at all. This could come as a surprise to you and your client the first time you turn the fountain on! You really need to be aware of this "dribbling fountain" phenomenon, as most of the fountain bowls you see out there don't have scuppers, yet are marketed as free flowing fountain bowls.

Fountains Unique fountain bowls are different. Our pouring bowls have scuppers! Another feature of our fountain bowls is that each and every design is "flow tested". What this means is that before we put them on our website, we set up the finished bowls and run water through them to see how well they work.

The final tested designs are what you will find in the Fountain Bowls section of our website. These scuppered bowls pour great and have that nice fountain sound that your clients will love!

The bowls without scuppers are all set up to have the water flow out the back and are used to catch the water coming from a spill bowl or spout or emitter.

Now that you know the difference, don't be fooled by other fountain designs that have non scuppered spill bowls.

As always, we would love to hear from you with any questions you have on any of our products and which ones are best to achieve the results you and your client are looking for.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Product Spotlight: Fountain Bowls

Here at Fountains Unique, we are quite proud of our fountain bowls. We design our own fountain bowls and provide them in a variety of materials. Materials include: pre-cast concrete, copper, and bronze. Our bowls come with scuppers and without scuppers. Remember, we perform flow tests on all our bowls We perform these tests to make sure our bowls work as designed and deliver the best fountain experience for your client. Below are three examples of our unique and quality built fountain bowls. Please note: Bowls with scuppers are designed for water to spill out of the bowls. Bowls without scuppers are designed to be "catch basins", with the water exiting the back of the bowl (not spilling over). In our extensive testing we have discovered that bowls without scuppers just don't work well when the water spills over them. If you are looking for a nice bowl that spills over, make sure to get one with scuppers.

Regency bowl with scupper which is a medium sized bronze bowl featuring a single scupper that allow a small rivulet of water to spill over the front edge. This gadrooned bowl has a strong formal design. Since the bowl is cast in bronze it works well in locales that experience freezing temperatures.

The Brandywine Bowl This is a simple fountain bowl without much adornment. It works well in formal and contemporaty designs and is large enough to add presence to a large fountain. Since this bowl is cast in concrete we don't recommend it be used in locales that experience freezing temperatures. Call us about getting one cast in frost proof concrete.

Melon Bowls - Precast. These classically themed pre-cast concrete fountain bowls are available in various sizes. Each bowl has a lip decorated with a egg and dart detail. The bowl body is gadrooned and has a simple finial at its base. These bowls are large enough to serve as centerpieces in a classically themed fountain or pool. Since these bowls are cast in concrete we don't recommend them for locales that experience freezing temperatures call us about getting them cast in frost proof concrete or get one of the bronze bowls instead.

These are just three examples of our many custom designs. Make sure to visit our site to see all our bowl designs and get all the specs and details on these great products.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Custom Fountain Design: Bronze Bubbler

Recently, Fountains Unique was contacted by Rick Conary of Richter & Cegan, Landscape Architects to create a bronze bubbler fountain to lay flat in the center of a 4 ft. dia. antique millstone for a private estate in Connecticut.

Fountain Design

Compass Rose Design

Upon seeing our preliminary design for the bubbler, the client decided to add a matching compass rose on another millstone that was within sight of the fountain.

Fountain Pattern
Compass Rose Pattern

The bubbler required a backplate large enough to cover the center hole in the millstone- - -but the second millstone had an additional large chip in the center, which required a larger backplate to cover it.

Final Fountain Bubbler DesignFinal Compass Rose Design
Both the Landscape Architect & their client were pleased with the finished project- - -and- - the fact that we delivered within the time frame promised.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our newest custom fountain design

The finished fountain

Recently we were contacted by the Lake Mission Viejo Association. They were looking for an custom designed fountain that could be installed by their own contractor.

We had them look at our custom designed fountains, and they picked the "Gloria" as a design they liked.

Using the Gloria fountain as a starting point, we worked with them to create a unique, one of a kind design.

The Lake Mission Viejo Association had a space in mind of where they wanted to put the fountain. In this space, they needed a good-looking, maintenance free and easy to install fountain.

Here is their space, before the fountain was installed.

Here is the original fountain concept we submitted to them.
As part of the design process, we performed a flow test- - we always test all our custom fountain kits prior to shipping. By performing a flow test, it insures you get a fountain that actually works the way it is supposed to!

Performing the flow test.

Even though the fountain we provided to Lake Mission Viejo was a custom design, it arrived on the job site as a true "kit". All parts need to install this fountain were included in the kit. This allowed for the Lake Mission Viejo Association to use their own contractor to install the fountain. The entire installation took one man 4 ½ days, which is incredibly fast for a custom fountain installation. We attribute this ease of installation to the fact of our knowledge and experience in creating custom designed fountains. This experience translates into a hassle free and straight forward installation any competent contractor can perform.

A close up of the finished product.

Are you looking for a custom designed fountain for your next project? Contact us today, as we would love to talk to you!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where do you find quality custom fountain parts? They are right here!

You are a busy contractor and your clients demand the best. How do you deliver? You find the best, highest quality parts you can. This is usually done after you spend a couple minutes (or couple of hours!) searching the internet to see what is out there. Usually what happens, (especially if you are looking for fountain parts) is that you keep seeing the same exact fountain products on site after site after site.

However, don't give up, as there are some great and unique fountain products out there if you keep looking!

Where do you find these products? If you are reading this blog post, then know that you have found them already! Yes, has exclusive, custom fountain parts and products. Products like our Bronze Lion's Head or our Melon Bowls with Scuppers made out of pre-cast concrete. Pre-cast concrete is great for locations that don't experience freezing temperatures. However, if you client is in an area that has freezing temperatures, no problem. You can also get this product cast in frost proof concrete! (give us a call!) Frost proof concrete is just one of the many little details that you will find in all of Fountain Unique's products that you won't find in the competition. Browse our website to see all our fountain products and present your next client with a design that makes them say "wow"!