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View Full Version : 3-Rock Column Bubbler Water Feature


JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:22 PM
Around the Northwest, these 3-Rock Column Bubblers are pretty popular. I've seen them in different parts of the country too but I don't know how popular they are in all areas.

Anyway, as my guys were installing this feature, I decided to stop by the jobsite and take some "during" photos. They may be of interest to some of you who haven't done these before. This is how we do them.....

(Before you reply, give me a few minutes to post all the photos)

These first photos just show the hole we dug, the valve box at the bottom that holds the pump, and the first column. I had requested a 4' column, a 3' column, and a 2' column. But what I ended up with was 2 4' columns and one just under 2'. The customer distinctly wanted 3 different heights. So we had to improvise. We ended up just buring the first 4' column 1' deep - then it became a 3' column. That's what you see here in these first few photos.

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JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:25 PM
This is phase 2 - installation of the second column.


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JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:26 PM
Phase 3 - installation of the 3rd column and the piping.


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JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:27 PM
Here is a close-up of one of the rock columns...


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JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:29 PM
And..........


The finished product.......


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JimLewis
06-17-2008, 07:31 PM
So, hope you all enjoy the photos. Not often that you all get this many photos from me. But I had some free time today. So there you go. Hope someone can benefit from them.

Venturewest
06-17-2008, 07:38 PM
Thanks for posting the sequence. It turned out really nice. I think a lot of customers who want the presence of water without the hastle would like those. Who makes those particular columns?

I know Aquascapes offers them now. I had always figured I would use real stone and have them core drilled, but I haven't pursued it much.

JimLewis
06-17-2008, 08:49 PM
A local company here in Beaverton makes those.

Dripit good
06-18-2008, 10:21 AM
Very cool, looks great Jim. :weightlifter:

I don't see any underlayment though.......is it just the liner touching the soil?

Couple other questions if you don't mind. How do you check the water level in this since it's pond less? Is it the homeowners responsibility to fill the pond manually(either through a hose or possibly irrigation) or do you have some sort of automatic fill to it? Are the feature rocks touching the bottom of the liner or do you have something between them? Is it just the smaller rock firming and holding the feature rocks in place? Are you concerned that they may either fall over or lean using a more rounded stone? What is the gpm/gph of the pump you used?


Pardon the multiple questions..........just curious. :)

JimLewis
06-18-2008, 03:53 PM
Very coolI don't see any underlayment though.......is it just the liner touching the soil?

There is definitely underlayment there. It's just covered by the liner. We don't stretch out the underlayment 5' around in all directions, like we did the liner. We just use as much underlayment as needed to fill the whole. So you just can't see it. But it's there. Always.

Couple other questions if you don't mind. How do you check the water level in this since it's pond less? Is it the homeowners responsibility to fill the pond manually(either through a hose or possibly irrigation) or do you have some sort of automatic fill to it?

There is an autofill valve (Hudson Valve) hooked up to the system via the main line of the irrigation system. We do that on every water feature we install. We install it a few inches below the rock line. So whenever the water falls below that line, the hudson valve fills it back up. Gotta always put a pressure regulator before the hudson valve, though. Learned that one the hard way.


Are the feature rocks touching the bottom of the liner or do you have something between them? Is it just the smaller rock firming and holding the feature rocks in place? Are you concerned that they may either fall over or lean using a more rounded stone? What is the gpm/gph of the pump you used?

The rocks are just sitting on top of the large river rock. They don't touch the liner. Only thing touching the liner is large round river rock.

They are heavy enough that once they are set in place, they don't really move. I mean, you could move them if you tried to tackle them or something. But just normal activity (kids playing around it, people working around it, etc.) isn't going to budge them. They rest pretty firmly.

The whole thing was built with large (2"-8") river rock. So after setting the columns down, we just fill the area in between and around them with more river rock. But that's not what stabilizes them. It's their weight mostly that keeps them set in place.

The pump we used there is a WGP 65 by Little Giant. I am not sure the GPM. But you can look it up. I've used the next size up (WGP 95) pump before too on these, but we had to valve them WAY down because the lift above each column was like 2' in the air. So I went back to using the WGP65 instead. I wish there was an in-between pump. I would have liked to have just a tad more lift on these bubblers. But it turned out well and the customer was happy. So I didn't bother trying to change the pump out.

Dripit good
06-18-2008, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the response Jim. I am slowly learning who is who here, and I would have been shocked and surprised if you hadn't made these proper provisions for this water feature. You know your stuff.........and you do a great job sir.

Thanks again for your response.

BTW-Have you ever experienced the "hippo" phenomenon in the bottom of any of your ponds? Whether or not it turned out to be water or gas build up,
do you normally provide for this, or just deal with it if it happens.

JimLewis
06-18-2008, 04:36 PM
I am not familiar with that term. I suppose you're referring to an area underneath the liner that forms a big air or gas pocket or something?

No. Never experienced that. Maybe it's a regional thing. We have pretty dense clay soil here.

Dripit good
06-18-2008, 06:05 PM
I am not familiar with that term. I suppose you're referring to an area underneath the liner that forms a big air or gas pocket or something?

No. Never experienced that. Maybe it's a regional thing. We have pretty dense clay soil here.

I guess it would be a "common" term for either a gas or water pocket that forms underneath the liner. You will know why it's called that if you ever see one. It happened to the main pond of a water feature I did several years ago. It appeared 2 years after installation and happened to be a water pocket. Most of the water escaped while trying to install 2 bulkhead fittings in the bottom of the pond. I put 1/2" thrd ball valves to the bulkheads and risers taller than the water level. Filled the pond back up and pushed the remaining water out through the risers. Closed the ball valves, removed the risers and installed thrd caps w/teflon tape. It has now been 2 or 3 years since then, and the hippo has not re-appeared.

We also have a lot of clay here, but this particular property is one of many residential homes built next to a gravel pit. Very hard, compacted, rocky type soil. I have a few theories, but to this day I still don't know how or why this happened.

i dig it,inc
06-18-2008, 06:49 PM
I never see water fixture like that
Thank you for posting that
Can you direct me to the company that makes the rocks
Thank you
mo

JimLewis
06-18-2008, 07:13 PM
The place we buy them from doesn't really sell them to the public or really even to contractors. I just kind of have a special "in" with them. They custom make them for us when we need. But they are too busy building huge water features and hardscapes to take time out to mass produce these.

Even if they did, the freight would kill you.

Best to find a rock yard somewhere there in your state who could supply these or had a line on them.

i dig it,inc
06-19-2008, 10:01 PM
thanks
are this real solid rock?
and if you don't mind what do you charge for it?
thank you
mo