How to run electrical wire to a garden fountain

Updated February 21, 2017

Fountains are a beautiful addition to any garden, but too often homeowners feel they have to locate the fountain right next to an outdoor plug -- unless they want to run extension cords through their landscaping. But there's an easy way to run electrical wire to a garden fountain regardless of where it's located.

Figure out where you want your garden fountain and set it down. Keep in mind that a garden fountain will be a focal point for anyone who visits your garden, so put it in a prominent place.

Locate an outdoor electrical socket. If you don't have one, have an electrician install one. Make sure it has a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GCFI) outlet, which will shut off the pump in the event of a short. Also make sure there's a plastic or metal cover over the outlet to protect it from the weather.

Measure the distance from the garden fountain to the outlet, in a straight line.

Dig a trench 30 cm (a foot) deep and 10 cm (4 inches) wide from the outlet to the fountain. Save the dirt or chunks of lawn you remove with your trowel or shovel and set them aside, along the trench.

Cut your PVC pipe to match the length of the trench, using a saw.

String the extension cord through the pipe, again making sure it's long enough to reach from the outlet to the fountain. Push it through the pipe, and use gravity to make it a little easier, particularly if it's a long pipe. Connect one end to the fountain and plug the other end into the outlet to make sure everything works.

Drop the pipe into the trench, with the cord inside of it, and bury with the dirt or grass chunks you removed. Walk over the surface when you've finished. Your cord should be buried, except for a brief section at either end extending to the plug and to the fountain.


Use the type of plastic outlet cover that lets you keep a cord plugged into the socket, with holes at the bottom for the wire.

If the connection between the extension cord and the fountain plug is on the ground, wrap in electrical tape and elevate off the ground, securing it to the side of the fountain.

Make sure the extension cord is rated for outdoor use.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Extension cord
  • 3.75 cm (1 1/2 inch) PVC pipe
  • Shovel or trowel
  • Saw
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About the Author

Thomas K. Arnold is publisher and editorial director of "Home Media Magazine" and a regular contributor to "Variety." He is a former editorial writer for U-T San Diego. He also has written for "San Diego Magazine," "USA Today" and the Copley News Service. Arnold attended San Diego State University.