Can’t find just the right garden fountain? Would you like the creative challenge of building your own garden fountain? Building water gardens is a rewarding form of garden artwork and is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and ideas for making your own water fountain.
Making Your Own Water Fountain
Choose a location that has access to an electrical outlet. The location you choose may depend upon the length of your fountain pump cord. Some people use an extension cord and bury the cord underground in a PVC pipe for protection. However, the easiest thing to do is to choose a location right next to an electrical outlet.
If the electrical outlet is in a location that gets rain or sprinkler water, you may need to replace the outlet protector with a weatherproof outlet protector receptacle (an outdoor outlet protector with a cover that provides room for cord plugs).
Then, you’ll need a “water container,” something that will hold water and will allow a fountain pump to be completely submerged. You can use a glazed pot, a plastic pot, a pond bucket, or pond liner. With either option, you can dig a hole in the ground and then place the water container in the hole. If you choose a pretty glazed or plastic pot, you can just set it on a patio. You can also set a pond bucket on a patio and build a rock wall around it.
Once you have your water container in place (don’t fill it with water yet), place a fountain pump at the bottom. The fountain pump you choose depends on the size of the water fountain. Many fountain pumps also have Low, Medium, and High settings that you can adjust. Place the pump where it will be easy for you to get to. You may need to change the settings of the pump until you get the right amount of flow, and it would be a pain to have to reconstruct your fountain each time. You will also need to periodically clean out debris that gets caught in fountain pumps.
Many fountain pumps come with filters. If your fountain pump does not come with a filter, you may want to enclose your pump in a special pond box with a built-in filter. Even if your fountain is in a location that does not get leaves dropped on it, you’ll still have to contend with bugs, algae, and other gook that can build up on a fountain pump.
Now you’ll need something for the water to come out of. You can find fountain heads that attach direct to a fountain pump and spray water. Or you can get a spitter. With spitters, you’ll attach tubing to the fountain pump and then attach the other end to the spitter. Spitters include ceramic creatures, spheres, cherubs, and even pots that you tilt. You can even construct a wall of rocks or bricks, or some type of pipe system. You can get very creative when building your own water fountain.
When you have everything in place, fill the water fountain with water. Many people recommend using distilled water so that your fountain won’t get mineral build-up. You can also find eco-friendly filters and additives if you’d like to give those a try.
Then, plug in the pump. You may need to adjust the fountain pump if not enough or too much water sprays out. The amount of water flow depends on many factors. You’ll want enough flow to get water circulating out of the fountain head and back into the container and pump. You’ll also want to make sure that not too much water is sprayed outside of the fountain. Having to monitor the water level on a daily basis will grow tiresome (the pump needs to be submerged in water at all times). You’ll also want to keep in mind what affect you’d like your water garden to have. A slow flow and trickling water sound produces a calming and serene environment. However, if you’d like to drown out some traffic noise, you’ll want a fast flow of water and lots of splashing.
Once you have the basic supplies for building water fountains—a container, a pump, tubing, a spitter, and water—you can be as artistic as you’d like and create garden artwork throughout your yard that includes water gardens.
By Shannon Mendez