Ideas to make homemade outside water fountains

Updated February 21, 2017

A small pump and some great pots are all you need to make a water fountain that enlivens a front entry or a charming garden niche. Pondless fountains are relatively easy to assemble, with hidden basins that catch the water and keep it flowing. Your fountain can be rustic and recycled or gleaming hand-painted porcelain to suit the formality of your garden. Placing the fountain near an outdoor power source will save you time and work when installing it.

Nested Fountain

Place a large ceramic pot -- painted in a glossy, vivid colour such as blue, teal, orange or rose and partly rock-filled -- in the garden. The pot should sit on a camouflaged pond basin that holds a pump and water reservoir. A water delivery pipe runs from the pump, through the large pot and into a shallow bowl or saucer nearly as wide as the ceramic pot, with a hole drilled in its centre. The bowl sits cemented inside the rim of the slightly larger pot. Water bubbles up into the shallow dish and over the edge, slips down the larger pot into the reservoir and is recirculated. A buried length of PVC pipe running from an outside spigot to the basin makes it easy to keep the underground reservoir topped off.

Bamboo Fountain

A stone basin, some pipe and hollow bamboo make a zen fountain for a rock garden or the edge of a terrace. Select a halved boulder that has been hollowed out in the centre to form a bowl. Place the boulder over a hidden pond basin with a pump. Run the water delivery hose out of the pump and thread the pump power line through buried PVC pipe to an outlet. Three lengths of hollow bamboo supply the water. A wide hollow cane slips over the delivery pipe from the pump. A decorative bamboo crosspiece sits on the vertical cane and holds a slimmer, horizontal cane that extends over the basin. The thin bamboo tube delivers water to the stone basin, where it overflows and spills to the hidden reservoir below.

World's Fastest Fountain

Use two painted porcelain or terra cotta pots, the smaller one with a drain hole. Terra cotta pots have to be sealed so they will hold water. Set a small pump in the large pot and run the power cord and flexible water tube from the pump over the side of the pot. Cover the pump with a pond basket or chicken wire and fill in around the pump with river rocks and water to the pot's rim. Set the smaller pot on the rocks, tilted, with the bottom towards the back of the fountain. Thread the water hose through the drain hole, silicone seal it in place and trim the hose. Fill the small pot with a spill of river rocks. Water will flow from the rocks, over the edge of the small pot into the larger pot and be recirculated.

Watering Can Fountain

Drill a hole in the bottom of a galvanised watering can with a rose spout. Attach the can securely, at a tilt, to the side of a whiskey barrel that holds an aquatic plant or goldfish pond with a pump. Use galvanised metal braces or drill a hole for a bolt to fasten the can at an angle. Run a flexible hose from the pump through the hole in the bottom of the can. When the pump is on, the can is constantly spilling water through its spout into the pond, helping to aerate it and providing an appealing background sound for the garden or patio.

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About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .