The Bubbling Rock (aka Granite Sphere Water Fountain)

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We have always wanted some sort of water feature in our back yard. We like the sound of water flowing. A pond is a lot of work and responsibility. So we decided on a water fountain. We really wanted an old millstone water fountain.

Terri started to look at fountains at the local nurseries. This is our usual modus operandi. She does the leg work and finds something she likes and something she thinks I might like. Then I look to see if it's practical and within a reasonable price. She found a nice looking granite sphere at Troy's Landscape Supply, a local nursery. They quoted a price of $500 plus $100 delivery. We checked out alternatives at Faddegons Nursery, a local nursery with a great reputation. Years ago, Terri's Dad knew the owner and they always delivered top quality products and services. They had a good selection of fountains but nothing like the granite fountain we were looking for.

We went back to Troy's to look at the fountain. We really liked the granite sphere. As we stood looking at it, a Troy's employee came over to answer questions. As we discussed the fountain with him, Judy, a Fraternity Brother's wife, stopped by to chat, so we told the Troy's guy that we would defer our decision. After a 15 minute chat, Judy left and another Troy's guy stopped by to ask if we were interested in the fountain. He offered a $200 price AS IS plus $100 delivery. We accepted! I checked later on the internet and found a 14" granite fountain at Kinetic Fountains for $445 plus $125 shipping.

A few days later Troy's delivered the fountain. I built a carriage to hold the sphere. Troy's had a forklift on the delivery truck and placed it on the carriage, about 8 feet from the final location. The AS IS fountain had a 3x3 ft container, an 18" granite sphere and no pump (AS IS!). I created a spreadsheet to compute the weight and was surprised that it weighs almost 300 lbs!

Take a look at the project as it progressed.

The 300 lb granite sphere. The granite has a 1 5/8 in hole.
The 1 ton engine hoist. I spent a lot of time trying to determine how I could move the 300 lb sphere. At first I thought I would build some sort of tracks. I would roll the sphere on the tracks into place. One evening, a friend stopped by to borrow my chain saw. He told me that he had an engine hoist that would be able to lift the sphere. His visit saved the day!
The wooden cradle. I built this to hold the granite off the ground. We also used it to hold the sphere as we jockeyed it into position with the engine hoist.
The 40 gallon water container. There is an access panel in the back of the container. This is the Small AquaBasin from Aquascape. The specifications say it holds 300 lb. I found Deckers Landscaping & Nursery at their web site.
Lifting the granite. Fortunately, the chain fit through the hole in the granite.
Lining up the granite over the hole in the water container.
The granite in place on the water container. It took Terri and me about 2 hours to move the granite from its delivery spot onto the container.
The pump is hooked up and working. I bought the Tetra 330 GPH Statuary Pump at Lowes. I connected 1/2" ID braided vinyl pipe to the pump and fed it through the hole in the granite. To seal the bottom of the hole, I drilled a 3/4" hole in a rubber stopper and fed the pipe through it. At Lowes, I found a #7 rubber stopper (1-3/8 x 1-3/16 x 1). Since the 1/2" pipe was smaller than the 1 5/8" hole, I cut a small piece of 1" ID braided vinyl and placed it over the end of the smaller piece. This helped hold the inner pipe vertical.
A view of the finished fountain. The stones are #2 round. We liked the variety of color and size in the #2 round. Unfortunately we could not buy this stone by the bag. Although I only needed 7 cu ft, I had to buy 1 cu yd (27 cu ft) in order to have it delivered by Seasons Supply. The dampness is formed by the splashing water.
A view of the finished fountain from above.