Projects to be Proud of Archives | Estate Fountains

For lots of fountain sparkle in the sunlight plus additional fountain sound – a spray ring will fit your needs nicely! And adding a copper spray ring to your fountain is a relatively easy thing to accomplish, even if it’s years after your fountain was originally installed.

  • Sometimes the decision to add a spray ring later is made for the following reasons:
  • There wasn’t enough initial budget for the project to supply it when the main fountain was being installed.
    • If there has been a change at your estate – for example maybe there are a lot more annoying traffic noises in the area which you would like to muffle with the sound of your fountain.
    • Or, maybe you just want to add a bit of PIZZAZ to the fountain you have now, as fountain spray rings tend to cause a lot of sparkle on sunny days?
    • Normally the spray ring can be made to fit right over the top of the centerpiece in your fountain.
      • And then all you have to do is connect it to a pump (large enough to pump the arcs of water to the height you would like).Then, connect the pump to the power source (temporarily) and turn on the pump.
    • Once it’s running for that initial time, you’ll likely have to wade into the pool to adjust each of the nozzle directions by hand (and then tighten down the nut to finger tight).
      • This is to make sure the arcs of water are all shooting the correct direction, and all arcs are equidistant apart where they are landing in the central bowl.
    • Maybe you installed a relatively quiet fountain, with just a few rivulets of water coming off the central bowls and then hitting the pool below, and you would now like to make the fountain more of a welcoming statement piece at the front of your residence.

In terms of the pump needed to run your fountain:

  • You can either leave it as a 2-pump system – with one pump to run the centerpiece and then a separate pump for the spray ring.
    • And that way, if it’s really windy, or if you temporarily want a much quieter fountain for some reason (maybe during a wedding ceremony) – you can turn off the spray ring and just run the centerpiece alone for now.
    • Or, you can get a large enough pump to run the spray ring AND the centerpiece at the same time, and connect the water hoses from the centerpiece and the spray ring to the pump with a manifold that has valve handles on it.
      • Then, with those 2 valves, you can control the height of the spray ring water vs how fast the centerpiece water is going.

Of course, the size of the pump (or number of pumps) needed to run your fountain spray ring is affected by the following things:

The village of Kenilworth IL has long been the proud owner of a community fountain at a central roundabout near their city hall location.  The original idea was that they “wanted a hospitable entrance” to greet new visitors arriving from the train station. Thus a fountain of running water was constructed in the center of the open square.

According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago History: “The fountain was originally designed by George W. Maher, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. Maher lived in Kenilworth and saw nearly 40 of his designs constructed between 1893 and 1926. His designs plus Kenilworth’s distinctive stone commuter train station built in 1890, its numerous Tudor revival residences, and the Old English–style street lamps continue to evoke the pastoral image of an earlier time and vision of community.”

Per the Kenilworth Historical Society, the fountain was originally constructed in 1910.  As you can see from this photo, it was an idyllic time of top hats, tails and ornately bustled dresses as passersby admired the sparkling grandeur of the new limestone fountain.

Since Limestone is a porous stone though, it’s not really known to last all that long in the freeze / thaw climate of really any location north of Dallas TX. 

Our general “rule of thumb” is if you live in growing zone 1 – 8, you really should have a fountain made of granite, in order to have a very long-lasting fountain and carefree maintenance for generations.

  • As other more porous fountains (like marble, limestone, travertine, cantera and concrete) tend to start to crack when they are rained on (or get wet) in Fall and then the moisture sinks inside the stone, and then freezes that night. 
  • So over time – those micro cracks deep within the porous stone get larger and larger before portions of the stone just start to cleave off the main structure, kind of like large swaths of ice off an ice burg. 

Therefore, the City of Kenilworth’s Public Works Department  had a difficult task, trying to keep that fountain looking like the jewel it had always been intended to be. 

  • According to our discussions with the City Manager, for about 30-40 years they had been covering the fountain surfaces with concrete periodically, trying to disguise the cracks / chips on the surface of the limestone. 
  • And as you can see, the porous concrete didn’t fare much better, in terms of its ability to stand up to the seasons, as well as dirt / algae. 

Thus, with such a visible location in the middle of a roundabout, and probably several 1000 cars passing it every day, there were lots of passersby (and possible donors) concerned with the dilapidated condition of the fountain and its spray ring / bronze fish finial centerpiece….

  • Especially when the local Garden Club would plant their gorgeous flowers around the fountain each Spring and would get a very close look at the damage.
  • So, in 2020 Carved Stone Creations was commissioned to re-create the fountain out of a stone that will last a LOT longer than the original fountain, but in a similar light beige color to the original limestone. 
  • Thus, the city selected our Golden Cypress Granite,  for a fountain option that’ll last generations!

You can see in this following demolition photo the layers of concrete cracking away to reveal the original stone underneath, which was a little darker than the concrete that covered it.

Then, our crew brought the fish finial back to our shop in WI, to give it a much-needed cleaning and rebuild of the spray nozzle in its mouth. 

After the new granite parts were hand carved into the same shape/design as the original fountain (from the original 1910 design – not what it looked like with all the concrete added onto the centerpiece foot to keep it  from toppling over with its cracked structure).

  • It was then time to install those granite parts in the center of that very busy roundabout. 
  • The good news is only ¼ of that roundabout had to be blocked off for about 4 hours, and then the large telehandler could be moved away to let the traffic pass normally and glance in wonder at the workers laboring in the middle, working on the spray ring, lights, caulk, etc.
  • The above is how the granite pool surround curb pieces are installed, with a ¼” seam between each piece (temporarily held apart with cardboard while each curb is set.)  And then those seams are filled with a vertical grade/non-slump pool caulk, to make a waterpoof pool.
  • The above is what the pool surround looked like right after sealing it with Miracle 511 Impregnator sealer, to keep the stone the lightest color possible – even when it’s raining or the fountain is running.

Lastly, here is what the fountain looked like and sounded like for their annual 4th of July Parade.

  • We are very proud of how this fountain turned out!
  • And so happy for the Village of Kenilworth – that they no longer need to spend so much money / time each year on their fountain maintenance!

We had a customer contact us about an antique concrete fountain they had at their home, which had slowly been falling apart, cracking, and leaking over the years, and they finally decided they needed to do something to resurrect it.

  • The dismaying thing was this damage had been occurring even though they had been consistently covering the quite large fountain with a tarp before the freeze/thaw seasons of Southern Wisconsin, and living with a bit of an eyesore in front of their home for the 5 – 6 months of Fall /Winter / early Spring for years upon years.
  • This typically happens if there are small pinholes in your tarp or if there is any condensation on the underside of the tarp PLUS the fact that you can’t stop water from coming up UNDERNEATH the fountain from the ground.
  • The following are photos of what their fountain looked like originally, and the photos we sent to the carvers to get an initial quote for the project. (In this instance, the customers decided they want a bit larger of a fountain than the original concrete one, as well as matching granite pool coping and nearby benches)

Thus, began the process of re-creating their fountain in Golden Cypress Granite, so they’d never again have to cover their fountain, but could enjoy its pleasing shape all year round, even while the fountain is covered with icicles or snow.

  • This is possible because Granite is a non-porous stone, which not only LAUGHS at snow and ice, but is amazingly easy to clean / maintain if the water in your fountain has calcium or iron in it, which causes a milky white film or orangey / red iron stains on the stone surfaces.

Honestly, we would NEVER recommend the very porous Mexican Stone called Cantera ever be used for a fountain, as even the chemicals typically used in fountains to keep algae out will eat that stone like alka seltzer in a glass!!

So, our first step in the Special Order Fountain (or statue) process (after the 50% down payment is complete) is to get a shop drawing set started, and approved by the client before they are sent to the carvers to start their part:

  • Shop drawings essentially show “big picture” type details, sizes of stones needed for each part, general shape/size of each piece of the fountain, hole sizes needed for drainage or plumbing, etc.
  • Plus if there are any specific carving details the customer wants, those are sent as supplemental photos in the shop drawing set.
    • Normally we just direct customers to find those carving details on google images, and find exactly what they want (from any photos around the world) even if they are a detail not actually carved in stone, but rather wood / resin / ceramic / etc.
    • And those photos are what we’ll send along with our shop drawings, to explain to the carvers how the fountain should look.

Then, the next step is to get a clay model done, so that the details of the most important pieces of the design are definitely as the customer wants them before the carvers start actually carving the huge granite boulder pieces.

  • This tends to really only happen on statuary designs, as other designs like egg dart, acanthus leaf details, etc are very easy to explain with photos of those details.

The following are the clay models we did for this particular fountain, to ensure the customers liked the look before the artists went further

Then, once those details were approved, we went onto the granite carving portion of the project, then sent photos to the customer once all of those parts were carved to get their approval before the items were all crated and sent on their way to our shop here in Wisconsin.

  • Honestly, when a 40,000 lb shipping container arrives at our location, it feels a little like Christmas Day, to be able to take the tops off the crates and see all the amazing carving details on the special order items!
  • So, we just absolutely adore it when we get photos from the customers after the items are installed in their final locations, as by then (with the length of those projects), it almost feels like getting a hug from an old friend after they’ve been away for a long time!

And these are photos of the fountain once it arrived to our Wisconsin shop:

  • Since in this instance, the customer wanted our guys to install the fountain for them, we unpacked the parts which needed to have plumbing installed in them before the install day came.
  • Or, if you are intending to have a local landscaper install the fountain for you (including the plumbing), when the crates arrive we complete a visual inspection to make sure the crate is not damaged in any way, and peek at the carving details through the crate, then schedule the shipment to your location as soon as the project is paid off in full.

  • Notice how we sprayed some of the parts with water, so you could see the color the Golden Cypress Granite turns when it’s wet.
    • And if you like the dry color better, you’d seal it with Miracle 511 Impregnator sealer, and even when the fountain is running, it’d stay that dry color.
    • Or, if you like the darker color better, and you want the fountain to stay that color even in Winter when the fountain is NOT running, then you’d seal it with something called Miracle 511 Seal / Enhance sealer.
    • Or, if you don’t care that the stone is a bit of a chameleon in terms of color, there’s no need to seal the granite at all. (Though just so you know, sealed stone IS a bit easier to keep clean than unsealed stone…)
    And lastly, the following are photos of the fountain during install:

Plus this is what that fountain sounds like when it’s running.