How to Make a Solar Water Fountain

Create a tranquil spot in the garden with the addition of a bubbling solar water fountain. Depending on the size of budget and space, fountains can be unadorned or elaborate. Ranging from one container to tiered fountains of any size, create a relaxing atmosphere and draw wildlife to the garden or patio. A solar-powered fountain with self-contained solar panels allows for energy conservation and placement anywhere in the garden without the worry of plugs or electrical sockets. Solar-powered floating fountains can be found on the Internet and at most home and garden stores. Construct a simple, solar-powered fountain with minimal supplies in less than three hours.

Choose a location for the fountain that receives at least five hours of direct sunlight a day. This will maximise fountain productivity. Ensure the area is free of overhanging branches or vegetation that may shade the fountain.

Clean the ground of any debris, Clear away 8 inches of dirt 12 inches wider than the circumference of the barrel.

Add a 2-inch layer of pea gravel and sand to cleared area. Moisten gravel mixture and press sand and gravel firmly together. Ensure the ground is level.

Position whiskey barrel in the centre of gravel and twist slightly to set. Check again to determine the barrel is level.

Drop the plastic liner inside of the barrel, and ensure a tight fit. Fill the barrel with water 3/4 full. Allow chlorine in the water to burn off in the sun for at least two hours before proceeding. Heavily chlorinated water can kill plants.

Gently drop floating solar fountain into the barrel. It will take several hours of direct sunlight before the fountain will begin to pump. Place solar-powered lights into the water. Add aquatic plants such as water lilies, if desired.

Establish a variety of perennial plants around the planter if you choose to maximise wildlife visitation.


Add solar garden lights around the barrel for added effect. Add fresh water to the fountain regularly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and replacement of batteries in solar-powered lights and fountain. Enjoy your solar-powered fountain all year in southern areas where the temperature does not fall below freezing. If used in northern regions, drain water and store components in a sheltered location for the winter.


Small children should not be left unattended near any water feature. If water sprays up outside the barrel, remove excess water until it stops.

Things You'll Need

  • Eco-blend half whiskey barrel
  • Half whiskey barrel plastic liner
  • Floating lily pad solar fountain
  • 2 small solar-powered floating lights
  • Shovel
  • Hand rake
  • Level
  • Sand
  • Pea gravel
  • Pond plants (optional)
  • Perennial plants (optional)
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About the Author

Susan Patterson is a health and gardening advocate. She is a Master Gardener, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and a Certified Health Coach with vast experience working with organic gardening and nutrition. Her passions include sustainable living, organic foods and functional fitness. Patterson has been writing and presenting on health and gardening topics for 10 years.