Sump pumps send water away from your home to prevent basement flooding and dampness. The idea is to direct water to a location that will accommodate the water and prevent any future damage. But what happens when the ideal solution turns into yet another challenge?

When your sump pump isn’t quite solving the problem signs are clear. For one, your sump pump will be running all the time. Secondly there is that annoying wet spot in your turf, made worse when you or your mowing service runs over it leaving big ruts. You aren’t alone. We see this all the time. The traditional solution was to bury tons of gravel in the ground and hope that it will soak up the water, but it never really works.

We believe in resolving the problem in the most sustainable way possible. One of my clients purchased a house that was custom built, new construction and they absolutely loved it. However the sump pump was creating an eyesore that was literally the first thing you noticed in the front lawn. They called a couple of landscapers and they recommended the traditional solution.

But we recommended that they turn a stormwater management feature into a landscape amenity. This was just a fancy way of saying, don’t just bury the water under the ground, bring it to the surface and turn it into something special, a rock fountain.

Using the water from the sump pump to fill a fountain is the embodyment of sustainable landscaping, but it’s no easy process. Here is how we executed on the plan.

Because we want the fountain to run all year long we dug down below the frost line so it wouldn’t  freeze in the winter.


The three footings each have a piece of rebar in them, so we are using geothermal heating to keep the water flowing. Next we poured a concrete pad, four inches thick and then we installed the basin and backfilled with sand.


We always add a large overflow system disguised as a dry creek bed just in case. No matter how much capacity you have, with these crazy rains we have these days, it will overflow some point. Your pump settings need to be high in the spring for maximum evaporation and in the winter a slow trickle creates great ice flows.  

In the picture below you can see the pump without any finishing touches. The overflow system and the rubber gasket which helps prevent over spray. 


With everything in place it’s simply a matter of installing the plants and putting in the rocks and laying the mulch. Check out the finished product below. 


We also added a fountain in back, it doesn’t show to the street but the fountain cancels a lot of ambient sound. We took the biggest problem in their landscape and turned it into the best feature. Don’t be afraid to step outside of tradition. If you do, you might find an awesome sustainable solution that will make you the envy of all your neighbors.