Very cool DIY tutorial on how to make a raised rock garden bed with a water feature. Step-by-step details.
I’ve been reading tons of DIY tutorials as of late, and came to a point where I realized I had to make and document my own project.
We moved into our new house last year and found that the previous owners had a large deck resting in the garden. It provided our family a perfect place to hang out and entertain!
We did a few touch ups, like cleaning, repainting, and adding some plants, yet the corner remained awkwardly shaded. This has been difficult to improve because it lies between the house and a fence.
I have long believed that water makes a great addition to any garden because it creates interesting focal points with movement, sound and life. Hence, I thought a rock garden with running water would be the perfect thing to enhance this challenging corner.
I while preparing for this project, I started out by considering several pre-made kits. I found most of them to be either too pricey or the wrong shape and size for my needs, so I came up with something on my own! I hope you enjoy this project and tutorial, I’m excited to share it with you!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- 10mm masonry bit
- 6mm wood bit
- Mitre saw
- Set square
- Soldering iron
- Spirit level
- Tape measure
You can get all the materials at home improvement/DIY shops or on eBay!
a. Water container, I used a plastic 42 litre storage box with clip on lid
b. 12v submersible pump
c. Wooden fence posts or joists
d. Wood of your choosing, I used pallets
e. 100mm and 50mm screws
g. Constant voltage transformer, 10w, 240v to 12v
h. Various brackets
Step 2: Stone Drilling
Our neighbours enlisted me to help clear out their overgrown garden, which provided us all the stone we needed for this project. The centerpiece is local sandstone with a flat base, which was perfect. It measures roughly 300mm or 12 inches square. Standing on its base, its height is about 600mm or 24 inches and weighs around 60 kg.
I planned to drill it right through it using my masonary bit. However, I decided to drill into the stone from each end with an 8″-long 8mm bit.
After that, I sealed it with 8mm o/d plastic pipe and silicone.
To secure it, I drilled an additional hole into the back to add a support point. I’m happy to say that it’s working. The rock hasn’t moved yet!
Step 3: Frame Preparation
I used wooden fence posts for the main frame and a few offcuts for the lay around. Altogether it weighs around 10 pounds, making it easy to move and maintain.
As you can see in the first photo, the fence posts are used for the basic frame. The top is covered in pallet boards, resulting in a hefty, stable frame. Another fence post is used for the anchor, linking the drilled holes in the stone to the frame.
In the same picture you can also see that one of the legs doesn’t rest under the end of the frame. This is to allow room for easy access to the drain pipe.
The framings were connected with 100mm screws. I made two pilot holes for every joint, then ran the screws through.
The pallet boards are secured with 50mm screws, while the stone anchor is attached with two 100mm screws.
A retaining barrier is attached to the side of the fence to keep the slate in place.
I then cut the feather edge board into 250mm pieces and installed them on the front face with 50mm screws. This panel allows easy access to the rest of the plumbing, speaking of which…
Step 4: Plumbing
This one is the easiest step since you will only be choosing between two basic types of garden pumps, submersible and non-submersible. We used a 12v submersible pump since this requires no priming.
For the container we used a 42 litre storage box placed on a column of bricks. In the lid, drill several holes measuring between 6mm and 10mm to allow for water circulation back to the reservoir. Two additional holes permit the plastic tube that feeds the stone and the power supply wire to come through.
Step 5: Electrical
Just a reminder, make sure that you are at least somewhat proficient with electrical work before digging into this next part too much. It would be best to ask for professional assistance to make sure that all local laws are followed. Bear in mind that water and electricity are a dangerous pair, be cautious and always be careful.
We chose the garage as our power source, about 12 metres away from the location.
A rated rubberised cable capable of conducting 240v should be used for this. The cable can be hidden under the deck but there are some that are hidden within the grass or a small border. Remember to bury the cable as deep as possible to prevent accidents. A 10mm masonry drill was used to bring the cable up from the garage, sealing all penetrations with exterior grade silicone.
My 12v pump draws 0.66 amps. Using basic formulae we can easily figure out the wattage:
Volts x Amps = Watts, so we end up with 12 x 0.66 = 7.92.
This means we used a 10w constant voltage transformer, since this can provide sufficient power over long-term use. Where my cable connects to the pump I soldered the connection and wrapped it in heatshrink sleeving.
Step 6: Finishing
The container and the stone can now be placed within the completed and positioned frame! After that, you can finalized the wiring.
Give the paint a final touch-up and you’re all done!
With any luck you’ll soon start to see moss growing on your stone, giving it a natural look. I hope you enjoyed this DIY!