Setting Up Fountains

Conic fountains

This type of firework will have a label that advises either to place on flat ground or to secure it to an upright post. For those that advise simply placing on flat ground, ensure it actually is flat (and hard) such as concrete, a paving slab or a wooden board; don’t rely on a lawned area being suitable, in which case you should stake it anyway as shown below.

Conic fountain on stake

Cylindrical fountains, gerbs and strobes

Like conic fountains above, these usually come with instructions to either place on flat ground or to attach them to a post. Some smaller items might say “insert into soft ground” or similar. My recommendation, again, is to use a hard surface like concrete, a paving slab or a wooden board for items intended for a flat surface, and to “stake and tape” on lawned surfaces. If you want to see an illustrated guide to staking and taping, refer to my Setting Up Cakes & Candles section.

Please do not underestimate the power (and potential to injure) of even the smallest items from selection boxes – always ensure every item is secured and cannot tip over.

Angling or raising fountains

Fountains can be angled if you intend to create a v-shape or similar. You can either angle the base board you use and stake accordingly, or build a wooden base with the required angles.

Fountains also work well if they are raised, including novelty fountains such as those which spin. When raising a fountain off the ground you will need to ensure it is 100% secure and is not going to fall over. Cylindrical fountains can be gaffa taped to a stake, other fountains should be placed on a wooden platform which is secure and allows the fountain to be taped in place.

Unlike cakes and candles which shoot projectiles, fountains only emit sparks so they’re a great firework to work with if you want to get even more creative. Members of my Fireworks Forum have done all manner of ingenious set-pieces with fountains including building big wheels, putting them on rocking or spinning platforms, or creating huge star shapes, such as shown below:

Choosing Fireworks
Star effects made from multiple silver conic fountains.

Setting fountains up on hard ground

If you are setting up on concrete or tarmac then providing it is flat and level, fountains are generally safe to use without support. However it is easy and quick to provide some support anyway just in case of problems. Some bricks either side will help keep items in place, or build a wooden frame to which your fountains can be secured.

Beware of sparks

Fountains create a lot of sparks and many of these come down to ground level. As a result, if you’re setting up in advance you should keep fountains away from other fireworks to reduce the risk of cross-ignition. Usually they would be situated at the front of your display area so the audience can get a better view.

Fireworks fountain in action
A large conic fountain in reasonably still conditions showing how many of the sparks can come down to ground level.

Waterproofing fountains

This is easy to do with bin bags or clingfilm and is covered in detail in my Coping With Bad Weather article.

Further help and information

For help with setting up other fireworks such as cakes or rockets, head back to the Setting Up Fireworks menu section where you will also find site layout advice and other helpful articles. If you are wanting to do something more imaginative with fountains, such as spinning or rocking them, my Forum is a good place to ask for tips and techniques (see below).

Once you have set up and are ready to fire I do of course have a complete section dedicated to letting off your fireworks safely.

If you are a beginner and any of the terms used in this guide are unfamiliar, or you are new to UKFR, my Beginners Start Here! guide will walk you through the basics.