How to Save Money by Building Your Own Backyard Fountain

If you long to hear…

the soft trickle of a backyard fountain

but cannot afford one of these lavish structures,

you can always make your own.

Constructing a fountain is easy once you understand the basics.

Your design can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.

In the course of a weekend, you can plan and build your own beautiful,

tranquil and therapeutic garden fountain. 

Choosing Your Materials

The simplest way to construct a water fountain is to use a bowl, pot or basin as your ornamental structure.

You can also get creative and use pavers, rocks, vases or virtually any item that can withstand exposure to water.

If you use stones, you can stack them vertically or create steps for the water to cascade down.

Some people also prefer to build a pond as the reservoir, but this isn’t necessary.

To design a basic fountain, you will need one large, deep, decorative pot and a smaller, shallow bowl that can fit snugly into the pot.

You will also need a plastic bucket that can hold at least five gallons and is wider than the pot’s base.

Additionally, you need to purchase a submersible pump with enough power to push water to the top of your big pot.

You will be using a steel mesh screen, plastic tubing, PVC conduit and silicone caulking as well.

Preparing the Base

Choose an area in your yard where you will most appreciate the serenity of a water fountain. Your fountain will also need to be near an electrical outlet.

The distance from the outlet depends on how long the cord is on the submersible pump you use to propel the water.

Once you select a location, dig a hole that is two inches deeper than the plastic pail you purchased and equally as wide. 

Fill the hole with approximately two inches of gravel, and set the bucket into the pit. Dig a narrow channel between the pit and the outlet.

Cut a section of PVC pipe that is as long as the trench, and pull the cord of your pump through the pipe.

Lay the pipe assembly in the trench, placing the pump in the center of the bucket.

Drill or snip a small notch into the rim of the pail, and fit the pump cord into the notch. 

Building the Structure

Cut the steel mesh into a two-foot section, then drill a hole in the center. Connect the pump to a piece of plastic tubing that is twice as long as the pot.

Pull the tube through the hole in the mesh. Place the mesh on top of the bucket so the tubing stands upright. Drill a hole in the bottom of the pot and bowl.

Each hole should be centered and large enough for the tubing to fit through. Slide the large pot onto the tubing until it rests on the mesh square. 

Caulk the top inner portion of the pot with quality silicone caulking. Slide the smaller bowl onto the tubing.

Set the bowl in the pot, and make sure it comes into contact with the caulking. The top of the plastic tube should be level with the inside base of the bowl.

You can also extend the tubing beyond the bowl’s base and place decorative rocks in the bowl.

Drill holes in rocks of varying sizes, and slip them over the tubing, keeping larger rocks on the bottom. 

Testing the Fountain

Let the caulking dry before testing the pump. Lift the pot and bowl assembly, and fill the bucket with water. Once you replace the structure, turn the pump on.

If your pump is propelling the water too forcefully, you may need to get a smaller one. Typically, 100 gallons per hour is strong enough for a small fountain.

If the water is flowing properly, pour mulch around the fountain or use landscaping stones and rocks to cover up the mesh screen. 

You will need to check the water level in your reservoir frequently. This is particularly important if you live in an area that is exceedingly hot.

If the pump doesn’t constantly remain under the water, it can break. If you use small enough vessels to hold the water, the fountain should be easy to maintain.

You should be able to check the pump and water level regularly. 

You can build your backyard fountain from any material that can be constantly exposed to water.

An old urn, your favorite pottery piece, a metal garden ornament or even a birdbath can be transformed into a flowing fountain.

To get started on this and other backyard projects, contact Install It Direct.

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