FOUNTAINS, PLANTERS, BIRDBATHS AND STATUES

Winter Care & General Maintenance

GENERAL PRODUCT CARE FOR CAST STONE, POTTERY AND GRANITE:

1. Cast stone (concrete), pottery, and granite products should never be set directly on dirt or mulched beds. A patio stone must be placed underneath each item to help keep it level. The patio stone also prevents the item from absorbing moisture from the ground and from resting in standing water. If your item rests in standing water during the winter, it will absorb water and freeze, which can cause it to crack and crumble. Be aware that standing water can occur on your deck or patio. Also, items placed in a pond must be raised above the highest water level for the winter or be removed completely from the pond.

2. Most products can be left outside through the winter as long as they do not hold water anywhere. Sealing pieces with a water sealant will not prevent cracking or other winter damage and should not be viewed as an alternative to proper winter care.

3. Mexican pottery, other delicate pottery, and red clay products must be brought indoors prior to the first frost and stored indoors during the winter.

4. Painted or stained products left outside year round will weather. Any applied color will last longer if the piece is stored inside during the winter.

5. For longer lasting color, stained cast stone pieces should be treated with Henri Stone Sealer once a year. Painted products should be treated with clear sealer spray once a year. The piece must be clean and dry when any spray is applied.

6. Cleaning: Product can typically be wiped clean with a sponge and water. For excessive dirt or stubborn stains use mild detergent and a soft brush.

FOUNTAINS:

1. Any fountain set outside should not be set directly on dirt or mulched beds. A patio stone must be placed beneath it, unless it is sitting on a deck or patio that does not allow standing water to accumulate around the base of the fountain. A fountain with a flat bottom basin set in the landscape must have a minimum of 2 inches of pea gravel as a base. A fountain with a flat bottom basin set on a hard surface (concrete patio, paver patio, etc.) may need 1/2″ or more of sand underneath it for leveling and for the pump cord to run under the basin. A bead of silicone can be applied around the perimeter of the basin to prevent the sand from washing away.

2. When installing a fountain where a moderate to large tree, shrub, etc. has been removed, gravel or crushed limestone may be needed to fill in the hole. The area must be compacted to provide a stable base for your fountain. Fountains should never be installed in an area of loose soil. It is important that the area is stable so that your fountain can remain level. An unlevel fountain will not flow evenly.

3. Fountain bowls must remain filled with water at all times in season. Allowing a fountain to run low on water will cause the pump to overheat and fail. Pump failure due to lack of water is not covered under any warranty.

4. The pump intake must remain free of leaves and debris at all times. If the pump intake is clogged, the pump will not have enough water flowing through it to keep the motor cool, and the pump could overheat and fail. Pump failure due to operating while clogged is not covered by warranty.

5. Aquatic & Garden Decor does not recommend using extension cords with re-circulating pumps.

6. Do not run fountains 24 hours per day. Do not run fountains overnight, while at work, on vacation, etc. Fountains running for longer periods of time are more susceptible to water loss from wind, splash, evaporation, etc.

7. Algaecides available at Aquatic & Garden Decor can be added to fountains to help prevent algae growth. They are not harmful to humans, birds, or other animals when used as directed. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the package. Also, clean out the fountain and fill it with fresh water before adding the algaecide.

8. Chlorine bleach is not recommended for use in fountains to treat algae. It is corrosive to the pump and will fade any color applied to the fountain. Adding chlorine voids the warranty of the pump and the fountain.

9. For the winter months, re-circulating pumps should be removed if possible. They should be cleaned and stored indoors in a container of water. The water prevents the seals from drying out.

10. If water accumulates in a fountain bowl during the winter and freezes, the bowl could crack. In most cases, a fountain cover is the most practical way to winterize a fountain. Leave the unit assembled and thoroughly drain all water and allow the bowls to dry prior to covering the fountain. Also, be sure to place water absorbent material in the bowls to absorb any condensation that may form under the cover. Fountain covers are conical in shape. For the fountain cover to fit correctly, there needs to be a high spot at the top center of the fountain. If you have removed any components of the fountain or the fountain does not have a natural central high spot, it may be necessary to use an object to hold the center of the cover in a cone shape allowing water to run off. The cover must fit snugly so it does not sag, creating areas where water can pool. Aquatic & Garden Decor carries a variety of fountains cover in sizes to fit it most fountains. For smaller fountains, the bowls may be flipped over, or the unit may be stored in a garage or shed.

11. Do not use antifreeze in fountains during the winter. This will not prevent winter damage and will void any warranty.

12. Do not leave fountains outdoors, assembled and uncovered during the winter. This will void any warranty. Water from rain and snow will accumulate in an assembled uncovered fountain, which will then freeze and damage the fountain.

13. Do not use any type of heating or de-icing device in any type of fountain during the winter. Not draining and not covering the fountain voids any warranty.

14. Pottery fountains make beautiful home accents that double as humidifiers in the winter. If the unit does not splash, bring it indoors in the fall and winter, and run it inside. Be aware that pottery is susceptible to weeping. Always place some type of saucer under a pottery fountain that is run indoors.

PLANTERS:

1. Outdoor planters should never be set directly on dirt or mulched beds. A patio stone must be placed underneath each planter, unless it is sitting on a deck or patio that does not allow standing water to accumulate around the base of the planter.

2. Planters can remain outdoors during the winter as long as drainage holes are not clogged and the planter is draining properly. To help keep the drainage hole from clogging, 2 to 4 inches of cobblestone should be placed in the bottom of each planter beneath the potting soil. A piece of fabric underlayment or landscape fabric can be placed between the cobblestone and the potting soil to prevent loose soil from washing out the drainage hole when you water.

3. Planters that sit on smooth patios should be shimmed so that they do not seal themselves to the patio thus preventing water from draining through the hole in the bottom.

BIRDBATHS:

1. Any birdbath set outside should never be set directly on dirt or mulched beds. A patio stone must be placed underneath it, unless it is sitting on a deck or patio that does not allow standing water to accumulate around the base of the birdbath.

2. If water lies in a birdbath bowl during the winter and freezes, the bowl could crack. The best winter care for a birdbath is to store the unit in a garage, barn, etc. At minimum, the bowl must be flipped over. If there are still recesses that can hold water, they can freeze and crack. Cover appropriately.

3. Do not use any type of heating or de-icing device in any type of birdbath during the winter. Not properly winterizing your birdbath voids any warranty.

ATTENTION: Cast stone fountains and other garden ornaments are not toys, and are not meant to be climbed on or played around.

All products and accessories discussed in this tip sheet are available at Aquatic & Garden Decor.

© Aquatic & Garden Decor 05/2013

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