How to Make Water Fountains Using a Grist Mill Stone
Grist mill stones were used to grind grains to make flour. These stones can be purchased from grist mills that are being remodeled or from garden supply centers. The submersible pump underneath the mill stone pushes water through a tube that is inserted into the mill stone's center hole. The water then bubbles out and over the sides of the mill stone, creating a fountain. Mill stones make wonderful fountains because they bring a nostalgic feel to your garden.
Measure your mill stone's diameter with a tape measure. Dig a round hole that is at least 2 inches wider than your mill stone on all sides and is 10 inches deep. Remove all rocks and debris from inside the hole and make the bottom and sides as straight as possible.
Lay a rubber liner in the hole, one that is big enough so the liner overlaps the sides of the hole by at least 6 inches. Make sure the liner is free of wrinkles.
Clean about 30 to 40 bricks with a power washer to remove debris. Set the bricks inside the hole on top of the liner so the bricks line the sides of the hole. Stack the bricks 7 inches high along the walls of the hole.
Set one or two bricks in the center of the hole for the submersible pump to sit on, and position the pump. Make sure your pump sits lower than the bricks around the sides. Run the pump's cord out of the hole and to a GFCI outlet. Fill the hole with water so that the pump is submerged.
Measure your mill stone's thickness. Cut a piece of rubber or PVC tubing that is several inches longer than the thickness of the mill stone. Connect the tubing to your pump's valve. Test the pump to make sure it is in working order by plugging it into the GFCI outlet and turning it on.
Unplug the pump from the outlet. Remove the tubing from the pump's valve. Place the tubing in the hole in the center of the mill stone, with some sticking out at the bottom and top.
Have a few helpers hold the mill stone over the pump so you can connect the end of the tubing to the pump's valve. Set the mill stone into the hole so it rests securely on the bricks; there should be enough room around the edges so the water can trickle back into the hole. Pull any excess tubing through the top of the mill stone, being careful not to disconnect it from the pump valve. Cut off excess tubing from the top of the stone.
Disguise the liner around the mill stone by placing river stones or cobblestones on top of the liner. Plug the pump into the GFCI outlet; the water should bubble up through the hole in the mill stone and splash off of the stone -- perhaps even some of the rocks surrounding the hole -- and into the brick-lined pool below.
- Plant wildflowers around the fountain to give it a natural feel.
- Mill stones are heavy -- use caution when moving them.
Rachelle Proulx has been writing since 2000. She co-owns a pet-sitting company, providing her the experience to cover pet care and small business. Proulx is also a flooring specialist who writes about flooring options, preparation, application and maintenance.