In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to harness the sun's energy to power a backyard water feature.
Steps for Installing a Solar-Powered Water Fountain
- Dig a 6- to 8-inch-deep rectangular hole at the location of the fountain.
- Spread 2 to 3 inches of crushed stone into the hole.
- Rake the stone smooth, then compact it with a hand tamper.
- Add another 2 or 3 inches of crushed stone and compact it again. Repeat until the hole is full and the stone is level with the surrounding grade.
- Spread stone dust over the crushed-stone bed. Rake the dust smooth and level.
- Set the base of the fountain onto the bed and check it for level.
- Tap the fountain with a rubber mallet until it's level in both directions.
- Set the fountain's basin on top of the fountain base.
- Remove the stake from the solar panel and push it into the ground approximately 2 feet away from the fountain. Fasten the solar panel to the stake, making sure it faces south.
- Set the solar pump inside the fountain's basin, then pass the power cord out through the hole in the bottom of the basin.
- Dig a shallow trench from the pump to the solar panel, then bury the pump's power cord.
- Wrap putty around the plug, then force the plug into the hole in the basin, creating a waterproof seal around the power cord.
- Sit the fountain's cap on the edge of the basin.
- Have a helper reach inside the basin and feed the pump's hose through the hole in the cap. Then, slide the cap completely over the basin.
- Fill the basin with water and plug the pump's power cord into the solar panel. The flow of water should begin within a few seconds.