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How to Build a Stone Water Fountain

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada and mason Mark McCullough team up to build a simple stone water feature that makes a big impact.

Landscape contractor Jenn Nawada and mason Mark McCullough team up to install a water feature for a bubbly new project. By tapping into Mark’s secret stash of hand-selected boulders and Jenn’s knowledge of landscaping features, the two put together a stone water fountain made from basic materials that homeowners can find at most hardware supply stores.

Steps for Building a Stone Water Fountain

  1. Choose a boulder or rock for the main feature. It should be large enough that it requires breaking apart, as the cracked surface will be flat and stable.
  2. Lay the straight edge across the stone where you plan to crack it. Use an old nail or screw to scratch a straight line across the stone’s surface. Be sure to make this line as straight as possible.
  3. Put on your safety glasses and a dust mask. Choose a drill bit that will bore a hole large enough to fit the splitting feathers into and install it in the rotary hammer drill. Set the drill to hammer drill mode, stand over the stone and hold the drill as perpendicular to the ground as possible. Drill a series of holes (3 or 4 is typically enough) across the line, drilling each 3 or 4 inches deep.
  4. Place a stone-splitting feather in each hole. Alternating strikes, drive the feathers into the stone with the sledgehammer. Continue to drive until the stone splits in half.
  5. Placing the cut side down, use the rotary hammer to drill a hole large enough to accommodate the fountain pump’s discharge pipe. Be sure to wear your dust mask and glasses and keep the drill straight up and down when drilling.
  6. Place the fountain basin where you intend to set up the fountain and fill it with buckets of water. Place the pump inside the basin and route the discharge pipe through the basin lid. Be sure that the power cord for the fountain exits the basin through the small recess in the lid to prevent pinching.
  7. At this point, it’s a good idea to test the fountain to ensure it functions. Plug it into an outlet and wait for it to prime before water bubbles out of the discharge pipe.
  8. Lifting with your legs, lift the stone up and over the discharge pipe, routing the pipe through the hole drilled through the stone. Lower it down onto the lid slowly. Rotate the stone so it’s sitting how you’d like it.
  9. Fill in the rest of the basin lid with river rock, beach stone, or other rocks and pebbles. To help the fountain’s basin blend into the landscape, don’t be afraid to let the stone overflow the rim of the lid a bit, as long as the water doesn’t follow.


Jenn and Mark team up to design and create a water feature out of a boulder. Jenn and Mark work together to split the boulder, sourced from Mark’s personal collection, in half using the feather and wedge technique. Using a Bosch masonry drill, they drill a series of holes across the center of the boulder.

The fountain is powered by an MD Tidalwave MD-Series Pump manufactured by Atlantic Water Gardens.

Pondmaster Adjustable Bell Fountain Kit was provided by Pondmaster Store.

The accessory rocks were supplied by Miami Beach Pebbles, Inc Decorative Stones.