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More Than Meets The Eye
Three Different Contractors Discuss Wall Fountains

By Andrew Soto LC/DBM

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In order to let their customers see what kind of work they do, licensed landscape and masonry contractor, V.I.P. Landscape, designed and built a wall fountain for their Las Vegas showroom. The contractor uses prefabricated basins and ready to install color changing LED scuppers to facilitate installation and maintenance.


Wall fountains are a unique way to show off your creativity, add value to your customer's build, and broaden the scope of your portfolio. A wall fountain consists of a basin and accompanying plumbing and electrical connections set within a CMU or stone wall. A wall fountain may look simple enough to build however, after talking to three professionals, LC/DBM learned there is more to them than meets the eye.

Building It For Show
V.I.P. Landscape out of Las Vegas is a full service landscape contracting firm and licensed masonry contractor. They built a wall fountain in their Las Vegas showroom to let their clients and competitors get a glimpse of their work.

The basins for this wall fountain were prefabricated. Units such as this come in a kit with a pump and all essential hardware ready to install. The scuppers used on this build do not need to be adjusted and create the desired sheet flow right out of the box. The system utilized units that have an LED color-changing light rail just below the scupper.

"Wall fountains are not for landscape contractors who concentrate on run-of-the-mill plant and flower beds," said Wes Maggard, owner of V.I.P. Landscape. "They require an eye for design as well as considerable technical know-how." This project was more ornate and technically challenging than the average wall fountain. According to the contractor, it is not the typical build an average installer or contractor can undertake.



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Brooke Inzerella, owner of Horticare Landscaping, built a traditional brick-and-mortar wall fountain for a customer looking to recreate the feel of New Orlean's French Quarter. The builder took a creative approach and used a monolithic pour for the basin. Although not typical, this move allowed the builder to adjust the shape of the basin to fit the space. Inzerella recommends calling in a professional with aquatic experience when dealing with water features.


Building It From Experience
Horticare Landscape Company out of Lafayette, La., applied their wall fountain building techniques using precise brickwork and clean lines while maximizing the available space. The final product resulted in a unique and tranquil backyard destination that has a New Orleans feel.

Horticare owner Booke Inzerella designed the fountain himself with input from the client. Construction began with a monolithic pour for the basin that would eventually be enclosed using traditional brick and mortar, which was also employed to build the back wall. "The monolithic pour basin and sealer were critical for this project in this climate," said Inzerella.

However, before any brick could be laid, the builder installed all of the electrical and plumbing for the pump and back wall scuppers. One of Inzerella's key recommendations is to run the system several times to check for problems such as leaks prior to completing the masonry work.

"You need to make sure there are no leaks in the plumbing and that everything works right before you brick it all in," he said. "If you haven't done this before it can be a challenge."

A monolithic or gunite basin gives the designer and builder more room to adjust if needed. According to Inzerella, his experience building pools allowed him to easily build the basin without the need to subcontract a specialty builder.



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Windridge Landscaping built a decorative wall fountain for a commercial hotel chain in Charlottesville, Va. The builder collaborated with a civil engineer and landscape architect to keep the fountain design up to code with state regulations. The contractor utilized a CMU block design for the wall to facilitate installation of the fountain hardware.


Collaborating With Experts
Jeff Howe of Windridge Landscaping, based in Afton, Va., collaborated with a civil engineer and a landscape architect to build a wall fountain for a commercial propery in Charlottesville, Va. Howe was brought on board the project as a subcontractor due to his extensive water feature and hardscape experience.

State regulations in Virginia required that a civil engineer be involved in the design of the wall used for the fountains. Howe and his team built the wall out of concrete masonry units and stone veneer.

"We decided to go with CMU blocks for the wall because they are hollow on the inside," said Jeff Howe, president of Windridge Landscaping. "This made it easier to install the plumbing and electrical without excessive drilling."

The 36" plastic color-changing LED scuppers came ready to install and did not need to be adjusted. They produce an even sheet flow and have integrated adjustable lighting. The system can be controlled from the interior of the building via a module that can control up to five units.

The Verdict
If you have solid masonry skills and previous experience with aquatic design, a project like this will be a walk in the park. Although the contractors on these projects used different approaches in completing their work, they all shared a considerable amount of relevant experience. All three builders recommend calling in an expert if your landscape contracting experience is limited to the softscape.




A Wall Fountain Is Still A Wall
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An experienced builder will always keep the codes and regulations of the area where he or she is working in mind before breaking ground on a new project. Most structures built in the United States have strict codes that regulate how they are constructed. According to Jeff Howe of Windridge Landscaping, "wall fountains require some serious planning and technical skill." Often times experts need to be called in to make sure the building plans are up to code. If you're attempting a wall fountain of your own, a good resource for commercial and residential building code research is constructconnect.com. The website allows users to search for building codes for almost every city nationwide. To learn more visit www.constructconnect.com.


As Seen in the July 2017 Issue of Landscape Contractor Magazine






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Last Updated 09-21-17
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