Make Your Own Garden Water Feature

This do-it-yourself outdoor water fountain is an easy garden project made from a simple, recycled pot. Try it out to help make your outdoor space more beautiful and calming with soothing waterfall sounds.

| January 31, 2013

  • Handmade Garden Projects
    The projects in “Handmade Garden Projects” run the gamut from eye-catching structures to small, simple garden design details. Learn how to use recycled or repurposed materials to make projects like a pergola made of plumbing pipes or a nighttime-ambience-inspiring tree-hung chandelier.  
    Cover Courtesy Timber Press
  • A water pump and tubing for a garden fountain
    Use purchased tubing and a water pump with a repurposed water container to make a new fountain.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • Water feature
    Here's a simple garden water feature made with a rustic container and simple, easy-to-get materials.
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press
  • Water basins
    Monumental sections of municipal catch basins make up the three tiers of this impressive fountain designed and installed by Ross Johnson at Dig Floral & Garden. The bold scale of the feature is appropriate to the large open space of the nursery yard and its raw form reads pleasingly modern. 
    Photo Courtesy Timber Press

  • Handmade Garden Projects
  • A water pump and tubing for a garden fountain
  • Water feature
  • Water basins

You can transform your garden into a handmade, personality-infused oasis using only refreshingly simple, inexpensive materials. In Handmade Garden Projects (Timber Press, 2012), Lorene Edwards Forkner — part eco-friendly non-traditionalist, part crafty creative — aims to show you how. In this excerpt, learn how to create a water feature from a glazed container. Forkner made hers from a rustic, "Old World" style water jar, but this method can be adapted for many different outdoor living space aesthetics. 

Buy this book in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Handmade Garden Projects.

Fashioned from a substantial water jar that looks like it belongs in a historic European landscape, this homemade garden water fountain lends rustic charm as well as an enchanting soundtrack to the garden. No plumbing skills required; just plug this self-contained outdoor water feature into an outdoor electrical source and quiet the noise of the outside world with a resonant and soothing cascade.

The larger your container, the deeper the resulting tone will be — think water trickling deep within a cavern. My lightweight metal plant stand is sturdy enough to support the glazed saucer but linear enough to not take up too much space within the pot which would deaden the acoustics of the finished fountain. You can find oversized glazed pots at some garden centers or large hardware stores. Small submersible pumps are available at garden centers in the water gardening department, well-stocked hardware stores, pet stores, and through online vendors. Be sure to locate your fountain within an extension cord’s reach of an outdoor electrical outlet to bring power to your pump.

Select a durable, all-weather pot that will stand up to winter conditions in your garden or be prepared to disassemble the fountain each fall. In my Pacific Northwest garden, I leave my fountain running year round. Throughout our generally mild winters, the pump prevents the re-circulating water from freezing. It has successfully withstood fifteen winters and temperatures down to about 10 degrees F. If an extended deep freeze is expected, unplug the pump and bring it indoors to protect it. In seriously cold climates where below-freezing temperatures are the norm, empty the jar of water and place a lid over the opening to keep rain and snow from accumulating and possibly bursting the jar as the ice expands.

Materials and Tools You'll Need

• Concrete paver, mine is 12 x 12 inches; or a bucket of gravel
• Frost-safe, water-tight, glazed container; mine is 28 x 24 inches with an 18-inch diameter
• Metal plant stand; mine is 22 inches tall
• Glazed saucer, roughly 1-inch smaller than the opening of your container
• Submersible, re-circulating pump, 115 volt
• 3-1/2 feet vinyl tubing, 5/16-inch inside diameter
• Weighty decorative rock or chunks of glass
• Outdoor-grade extension cord 
Scissors or tin snips

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