DIY water walls and fountains

rocky fountain image by Alex Kazeitchev from

Fountains and water walls are calming, charming and easy-to-make additions to your entryway or patio landscaping. The process for building either a fountain or a sheet of cascading water is almost the same. A protected, weight-bearing, patio wall or a landscaped entryway with an outdoor power source provides the site. An afternoon's labour produces a water feature that will give years of pleasure and add curb appeal and value to your home.

Creating the water wall

For a water wall, purchase a slab of stone -- about 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) thick to minimise weight. Alternatively, cement slate tiles or pavers to a sheet of Plexiglas without leaving any space between the tiles. Cement a copper or bamboo perforated tube to the top of the slab, or hang it just over the top edge with several decorative copper or iron S-hooks.

Attach supports for the water wall to the structural wall, leaving 5 cm (2 inches) between the structural wall and the back of the water feature to prevent water damage to the building's wall. Sink the water reservoir in place directly under the stone slab supports. Make the basin flush with the ground or leave about half above ground and camouflage with garden stones and plants.

Place the bottom of the slab in the reservoir or hang it directly above the reservoir, depending on your design. Set the pump in the reservoir, attach the pump hose or pipe and run it up the back of the slab. Snake the power cord out of the basin to the outlet and disguise everything with large river rocks and ferns or ground cover. Attach the pipe or hose to the perforated tube at the top of the slab.

Fill the water wall reservoir with water. Turn on the pump and adjust for excess spray or splashing. You may need to make minor adjustments to the perforated tube to ensure an even flow of water down the slab.

Creating a simple, goes-anywhere fountain

For a fountain, buy a fired clay, stone or resin decorative garden urn with a deep, matching saucer that is about 8 cm (several inches) wider than the circumference of the bottom of the urn. Carefully drill three or four holes in the sides of the urn near the bottom. They should be below the sides of the saucer when the urn is placed in it. Seal any drainage hole in the bottom of the urn with silicone sealant.

Set the pump in the urn on a small, upturned plastic pot or saucer. Run the cord out through one of the side holes and position the riser pipe and fountain head to reach the mouth of the pot. Loosely fill the urn with medium-to-large river rocks to hold the pump and riser pipe in place without blocking any of the holes. Set the urn in the saucer. Plug the cord into the outdoor power outlet.

Fill the urn and saucer with water to the brim. Plug the cord into the outdoor power outlet, turn on the pump and adjust for excess spray or spillage. Check water levels in the urn daily and top off to compensate for evaporation. Periodically remove leaves that might block the pump or the drainage holes.

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