The Leaning Fountain of Cleveland Street
We got a new fountain/birdbath this weekend. It’s cast stone, which is really a variety of concrete. It was fabricated to look old, sort of the landscaping equivalent of pre-washed jeans. I like it, though.
What happened to our old fountain/birdbath? Well, it was very nice, but it was also extremely heavy. Too heavy to carry into the garage for winter.
One winter I was not sufficiently careful protecting the fountain from moisture. Come spring, there was a crack in the base. I spent the next couple of years repairing cracks which kept reappearing.
Over time I got tired of this, especially as cleaning the old fountain was a major chore. This was partly due to heaviness, and partly due to all the stuff that would fall into the water held in the base. Finally we decided it was time for the old fountain, which had been in service about 10 years, to retire.
The new fountain is a lot lighter and can spend winter in the garage. It should also be much easier to clean.
The water is deep enough for avian drinking and bathing, but not too deep (songbirds only like a depth of two or three inches). It’s also taller, which should make it easier to take pictures of bathing birds from inside the house.
Like the old fountain, the new one makes a nice gurgling sound, which is pleasing to people and also attracts birds.
Getting the new fountain level was a major challenge. That’s partly because it is standing directly on the ground, which is sloping and soft. The first time we turned on the pump, we stood back and realized that the fountain was leaning as if it were trying to walk into a stiff wind.
Eventually we got it close to level by means of shimming. I know about shimming because of Mr. Dawson’s high school carpentry class. According to Mr. Dawson, the key to getting doors to hang at the correct angle is sliding matchbook covers under the hinges – shimming.
The same principle applies to fountains. No matchbooks were used, but flat rocks, odd pieces of tile, and wood chips were all utilized. However, given the softness of the ground, keeping the fountain level will clearly be an ongoing project.
I feel a little bit guilty for not making my own fountain with some kind of DIY project. I’ve read lots of articles about how this can be done. However, Judy vetoed any DIY fountains, which caused me to feel simultaneously relieved and also slightly offended that she lacked faith in my DIY abilities.
Anyway, I like this new fountain, and I think some sort of water feature is a really good thing to have in the garden. Does your garden have a water feature, and are you happy with it?