There's something about the sound of running water. No, I don't mean a tap that's been left on, but the soothing sound of water bubbling over stones in a little brook or stream. It's totally natural, relaxing and somehow just makes the world seem a little nicer. Fortunately, you don't need to live beside a babbling brook to enjoy the sound of moving water--all you need is to add a water feature to your home. Now you can buy a ready-made water feature at pool/spa or home stores--but a water feature isn't hard to make--and you can create your own using just some inexpensive parts and a few basic tools. Here's how.
Remember, there are no rights and wrongs when designing your water feature--let your imagination be your guide. The only components your water feature must have is some water and a pump.
Consider the size you want your water feature to be; a small aquarium pump may be all you need for a small design. The bigger your water feature, the larger the pump required (see Resources below for pump considerations).
Gather the parts for your feature and decide how you want your feature to look. It can be as natural as a pile of stones in a large pot with water tricking down from the top--or something as modern as a wide trough with a sheet of glass standing upright in it, so the water will sheet down the glass surface as it falls.
Place the pump in the bottom and fasten it firmly in place (using rocks or by tying it in place).
Attach the plastic tubing to the output of the pump, then run it up to the top of your water feature.
Measure and cut the tubing to length, then attach it to the top part of your feature. You may need to drill a hole to allow the tubing to fit into a pot or decorative watering can. Use silicon caulk to hold the tubing in place and prevent water from leaking out.
Fill the bottom part about one-fourth full with water and turn your pump on. The water will be pumped up through the tubing to the top of your feature, then trickle down to the bottom where the cycle will be repeated. If you don't like the appearance of your "middle," you can rearrange it to achieve the look and sound you want.
Pumps are usually electric, but you can get small battery-powered pumps and even some solar powered ones that require no electricity. Two things you need to know about pumps: the pumping rate, gallons per hour (gph) tells you how much water the pump can move in an hour and the maximum lift (in feet or inches) tells you how high the pump can raise water. A small battery-powered pump would have a pump rate of approximately 35 to 40 gph and would be adequate for a small water feature. The pump's maximum lift will determine how high you can build your water feature. If you choose an electric pump you need to consider how long the cord is when locating your water feature. If your water feature isn't going to be running for a few days, it's a good idea to take the water out. Standing water can get green with algae and provides a breeding ground for mosquitoes. You can buy water feature kits containing a pump, plastic tubing and decorations or do it yourself and simply buy a pump and clear plastic tubing.
Be sure the pump you choose is immersible in water. Electricity and water can be a dangerous combination.