Make a bamboo water feature in six easy steps.
Bamboo – approx. 80 to 90mm diameter
Bamboo – approx. 50 to 60mm diameter
Fibreglass sump (available from garden centres) or pond liner
Flat steel bar
Rectangular steel tubing
20mm irrigation pipe (class 3) and full-flow fittings to join the irrigation pipe
Pebbles for decoration
Drill and bit
Hole-saw drill bit
Step 1 For the vertical pole of the water feature, using the nodes as a guideline, cut a piece of the thicker bamboo 40mm above the top node, leaving a node in the middle and cutting the bottom node off. Drill a 10mm diameter hole inside the bamboo through the top node to allow rainwater to drain through. Hollow out the middle node by sliding a round steel bar or a screwdriver into the bamboo and punching out the ‘wall’ formed at the node. To create the spout hollow out the nodes of a section of the thinner bamboo.
Step 2 To make the support, weld a ‘T’ out of the flat bar and then weld that to a piece of rectangular tubing. The T-shaped flat bar forms the base of the support and can be held in place by a rock or birdbath. The decorative bamboo structure then slides over the rectangular tubing giving it stability.
Step 3 Mark the position for the spout on the vertical bamboo pole and, using a hole-saw bit, drill a hole slightly bigger than the diameter of the spout. The spout needs to be tilted slightly downwards once fitted into the vertical pole. If necessary, use a file to shape the hole.
Step 4 Join two pieces of 20mm irrigation pipe using an elbow full-flow fitting. This pipe will ultimately connect to the pump and allow water to flow through the bamboo feature. Make sure that there is excess piping (600 to 800mm) protruding from the bottom of the vertical pole to connect to the pump.
Step 5 Thread the irrigation pipe through the thick bamboo with the full-flow elbow positioned in the hole that you drilled for the spout. Apply cold glue around the circumference of the hole and slide the bamboo spout over the black pipe until it fits snugly. Remove any excess glue and allow to dry overnight. Trim and neaten any piping protruding through the spout.
Step 6 To install the water feature, dig a hole big enough to cater for the sump. If you are using pond liner, be sure to remove any sharp rocks from the area. Fill the sump with water and, using a spirit level, ensure that it is level in order to maintain the maximum amount of water and avoid having the pump run dry. Connect the submersible pump to the irrigation pipe and place the pump in the sump. Mount the bamboo feature on the steel framework resting the flat ‘T’ bar over the top of the sump. Cover the sump and ‘T’ bar with steel mesh and position the stone birdbath over the ‘T’ bar so that it holds the water feature in place. Plug the pump into mains power and switch it on. Water should run out of the water spout. Position the water feature so that the water flows from the spout onto the stone and back into the sump. Cover the mesh with pebbles. To soften the feature and hide any unsightly working bits, plant grasses or similar plants around it.
This article was written by Craig de Necker of The Friendly Plant in association with KLB Engineering. Contact Craig on 082 805 0910, www.thefriendlyplant.co.za and KLB Engineering on 011 668 1923, www.klbengineering.com for all your water feature requirements.