The soothing sound of water flowing and moving has been a very desirable feature in gardens, and this is why many people choose to put in a pond. However, this can be a large undertaking, so you could opt for a simple garden fountain instead, and you won’t need many pieces or parts to get it up and running in an afternoon. A garden fountain will add beauty to the space, and it gives you a gorgeous white noise that can help you relax and block out undesirable noises around your yard.
Incorporating a garden fountain can bring a sense of calm and serenity to your garden, even if it’s a smaller space. You can easily design the garden fountain to fit both small and large areas. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, you’re in the right space. We’re going to help inspire you by offering a host of DIY garden fountains that you can put together over the span of a weekend to enhance your curb appeal and give yourself a small area to relax and unwind in after a long day.
1. Tiered Flower Pot Fountain
For this garden fountain, you’ll need a large pot and a smaller one, saucer, river rocks, plastic pail, and a solar bird bath fountain pump. Start by leveling the ground where you’ll set your pot, lay a paving stone down, and put your biggest pot on top of it. Put the pail in the biggest pot to serve as a stand for the second pot to sit on. Put the saucer on top of the pail. You may have to trim it down as it should sit right inside the big pot with a small space between the saucer edge and the pot’s lips.
Next for this garden fountain, put the smaller pot in the middle of your saucer and place river rocks on it to hide the saucer. If the top pot has a drainage hole, seal it to keep the water contained. You could set a small tile over the hole and silicone it in place. Fill the top pot with water and drop your solar pump in. It’ll create a small stream that shoots up in the air and falls back into the small pot.
Container water fountain by Field Outdoor Spaces / CC BY 2.0
2. Rain Barrel
Old wine casks or rain barrels cut in half can create a rustic garden fountain. When you get it and cut it in half, you want to deodorize and clean it before allowing it to air dry. You shouldn’t have to seal it or put any water-resistant stain on the inside because they’re usually already treated and ready to use once you get them. You will need to buy a container pump to cycle the water around and create the garden fountain.
Level the area where you want the fountain to sit. It looks nice nestled between flowers or taller grasses. Put down a landscaping stone and set your half barrel on it. Next, fill the barrel with water and toss your pump inside it. If you want to make it more eye-catching, you can easily line the bottom of the barrel with waterproof lighting and add a few aquatic plants. This is usually too small for fish, but it’ll create a nice running water sound.
Rain in the new rain barrel with a rain chain by Ken Mayer / CC BY 2.0
3. Buried Geyser
This clever garden fountain creates a geyser-like look and feel. It is slightly more labor-intensive than other options, but it’s a good idea if you’re worried about kids or pets falling into a standing water fountain. For this garden fountain, you’ll need a small kiddie pool, pump, and river rocks. The first thing you’ll do is find a spot to dig down into. With this idea, you bury the kiddie pool into the ground and build it back up with rocks.
Measure the depth and diameter of your kiddie pool, mark the perimeter on the ground, and dig your hole. You’ll want it to be large enough to sink the pool completely below the ground. Once you get it into the hole, you’ll center your pump in the middle of the pool. Weigh it down with a few river rocks and fill it with water. Check that the pump shoots up a small geyser of water. If it does, fill in the pool with river rocks up to just above the ground level and add more water. Ideally, it should hold at least 15 gallons.
North Carolina Zoo 05-29-2011 – Prarie Geyser 3 by David Ellis / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
4. Tabletop Egg Fountain
This garden fountain creates a small tabletop fountain that is a perfect patio idea to bring a little calm to your area. You’ll need a ceramic sphere fountain top that has a pre-drilled hole. You can get these online or at garden centers. You’ll also need a fountain tube with pump, pea gravel, water, access to electricity, and a shallow, large terracotta or cement bowl to serve as the base of your new fountain.
To start, rinse off your pea gravel to prevent cloudy water and put the rocks into your shallow bowl until it’s halfway full. Thread your pump hose through your ceramic sphere fountain top until it’s right at the opening. You may have to secure it to keep it here. Set the topper inside the shallow bowl in the center on your pea gravel. Fill the base with water, plug it in, and let this garden fountain run. The water will bubble out of the top, flow down the egg back into the basin, and the pump will pull the water back up to continue the cycle. You won’t get an impressive geyser, but you’ll get the sound of running water.
Egg fountain Soquel CA by Michelle Ress / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
5. Upcycled Fountain
The fun factor about this garden fountain is that you can make it out of virtually anything you want from thrift stores. Tables, lamps, shallow basins, and platters all work surprisingly well. Just remember that you’ll have to be able to drill holes through everything to run your tubing, and you need a large, shallow basin at the bottom where all of the water will sit until it gets cycled up and falls back down.
You’ll need a wide, shallow base, slightly smaller basin, spacer, middle basin, a second spacer, a final small basin and a decorative top for the water to flow out of. Remember, the base should be the widest point and get more narrow as it goes up so the water flows correctly. Drill holes in all of the parts to run your tubing to carry the water, and secure each part together. Paint the structure before running your tubing and securing it at the top. Place your pond, fill it with water, attach your pump to the tubing, and switch it on.
Industrial Fountain by the1pony / CC BY-ND 2.0
6. Watering Can and Metal Basin
This fun garden fountain creates a mirage that you have an endless supply of water pouring out of an old watering can into a metal basin, but it’s surprisingly easy to make. All you’ll need is a metal tub or basin, a metal watering can, pump, clear tubing, a support for the watering can, and landscape rock. You can add aquatic plants if you want, but this is a completely optional step. Start by picking out a space for this garden fountain. You’ll dig down into the ground to level it for the metal tub to sit. Once it’s level, put your watering can support next to the metal basin.
The distance it’ll be from the basin depends on how angled you want your watering can to be. It has to be close enough for the water to pour out into the basin without missing. We like a chunk of wood with a metal shepherd’s hook on it. When it’s in place, put the pump in the bottom of the basin and run clear tubing from the pump up the back of the watering can into the opening. Fill it with water and switch the pump on. The pump will push water into the watering can until it hits the spout level, and it’ll pour back into the pond to create the mirage that it’s an endless cycle.
Watering Can by Travis / CC BY-NC 2.0
7. Recycled Wine Bottle Fountain
Once you finish that special vintage wine, turn the bottle into a garden fountain. You’ll need three wine bottles, glass cutters, a whiskey barrel, five-gallon bucket, saucer, small metal bucket, three small pumps, tubing, and glass chips. Start by picking your location and leveling the area. Set the whiskey barrel right down into your leveled dirt. You can add a landscape stone beneath it to ensure it stays even. Place the five-gallon bucket in the whiskey barrel with the saucer on the top to create a stand for the metal bucket to sit on.
Get a glass cutter and cut a hole in the bottom of each wine bottle to run your tubing. Each wine bottle will get it’s own small pump. Cut three small holes in the metal bucket and thread the tubing through to the wine bottles. Tilt the bottles in the metal bucket so the necks hang over the edge and drain the water back into the whiskey barrel. Add glass chips to the metal bucket to mimic the look of ice and to secure the wine bottles in place. Put the pumps in the whiskey barrel, along the edges. Fill it with water and switch it on. The water will go from the top up through the wine bottles, fall out the bottle’s neck and back into the whiskey barrel to create a continuous cycle.
Yelp’s Blind Date @ Brasserie V by Yelp Inc. / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
8. Bird Fountain
This garden fountain doubles as a delightful bird bath, and you’ll need landscape rocks, a 15-gallon plastic drum, large shallow basin with a hole in the bottom, smaller terracotta planter, terracotta saucer, pump, and tubing. Start by placing the 15-gallon drum onto the ground in a level area. You may have to level the soil. Build the landscape rocks up around the edges to make it look more natural. Place the pump inside this drum and run tubing up through your large, shallow basin.
Fill the drum with water and set the large, shallow basin over the opening. Set a terracotta planter in the middle of the basin, and run the tubing up through the middle. It should point straight up. Set the terracotta saucer of this planter’s top to create a ceiling with a small gap on the edges. Switch the pump on. The water will run up through the tubing, fill the smaller terracotta planter, slowly spill out into the basin, and eventually drain back into the 15-gallon drum. The rocks will help keep the water cooler while giving the garden fountain a very natural look and feel.
Bird fountain by mirsasha / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
9. Triple Tiered Planters
This garden fountain will require three planters with each planter being slightly smaller than the last, landscape pavers, circulating pump, tubing, and miscellaneous rocks. To start, you’ll find or create a level area for your first pot to sit. Sit the largest pot down and stack landscape stone in the middle to create a stand for the next pot. The pump should also go in this biggest pot. Thread the tubing up the bottom of the second pot and put it on your landscape stone stack.
Once the second pot is sitting on your landscape rock, fill in the rest of the dead space in the first pot with small stones and rocks to the lip to hide the larger landscape stones. Thread the tubing up through the third and smallest pot and set it on the landscape stone stack in the middle pot. Fill around the tubing with small rocks and stones. The tubing and stones should go right to the top of the third planter. Fill the bottom pot with water and switch on the pump. As it drains it to pull water up, put a little more water in. The goal is to get enough to create a continuous cycle of water that bubbles down the sides of the planter to reach the pump to get pulled up to the top again.
Fountain at Kam’s by Gardening Solutions / CC BY-NC 2.0
10. Teapot Fountain
You will need to manipulate a tube of metal for this garden fountain idea, and you’ll want to attach it to a cement block to ensure it stays in place. You’ll also want to weld a metal basin onto another piece of metal pipe to create an area where the water can cascade down into the whiskey barrel. Start by getting an old cast-iron or metal teapot and attaching it to your hollow steel tube. You will have to drill a hole for the tubing to run from the pipe into the teapot. Attach it at an angle so the teapot’s spout is aiming down.
Get a shorter length of pipe and attach it to your concrete block on the opposite side. Attach your metal basin, ensuring that it’s close enough for the water from the teapot’s spout to spill into it. Thread the tubing up through the pipe and into the teapot. Set the entire thing into your whiskey barrel. The basin’s side should be inside the lip of the whiskey barrel so it doesn’t spill the water with this garden fountain. Fill the whiskey barrel with water and switch on the pump. It’ll pull water up from the whiskey barrel into the teapot until it reaches the spout, then it’ll spill down into the basin before cascading back into the whiskey barrel.
Teapot fountain by kattebelletje / CC BY-NC 2.0
11. Deck Water Garden
This chic and pretty garden fountain uses a wood planter box with a waterproof liner. You can buy or create your own wooden planter box using scrap wood you have around your home. You’ll need pea gravel, a solar pump, and water plants too. Decide where you’re going to set your garden fountain on your deck to start this project. Once you get it in place, you’ll add your waterproof liner to the inside of the garden box, attaching it with nails or staples. Make sure there are no holes as leaking water can cause damage to the box and the deck too.
Put your pea gravel in the bottom of the garden fountain. If you want to add landscape rocks, you can do this now too. Place your plants where you’d like them. If they recommend the plants stay in their pots, you can build the rocks up around the edges to make it look more realistic. Add your water to the planter box until it’s almost full and add your solar pump. It’ll float on the surface of the garden fountain and create a small geyser of water without damaging your plants or spilling. It does need to be in an area that gets a lot of sun for the fountain to run consistently.
Planter Box by Nathanael Coyne / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
12. Tilted Ceramic Containers
If you have two plastic or ceramic pots that you’re not using, you can turn them into a gravity-defying garden fountain that you can easily set by your front door to spruce it up, and it also does very well in small spaces. Along with these two pots, you’ll need a pump and tubing, larger rocks, and a drill. This is why plastic is easier. Start by setting your larger pot in your chosen location. This will be very heavy when you fill it, so it’s not easy to move unless you empty and disassemble it first.
Put your pump in the bottom of the pot and run tubing up to the top of the bottom pot. Fill in the entire base with rocks, leaving an inch or two from the lip. Take the second smaller pot and drill a hole for the tubing to run though. Since it’s going to sit at an angle, don’t drill the hole in the bottom of the smaller pot. Instead, drill it in the side. Set the pot at an angle and stack rocks up around the bottom to support it. Stack rocks on the inside of the smaller pot to secure it in place. Fill the bottom portion with water and start the pump. The water will spill out of the top pot back into the bottom and cycle through.
P5240073 by Brendon Connelly / CC BY-SA 2.0
13. Glass Water Wall
This larger garden fountain upcycles an old glass tabletop. Once you get the tabletop, you’ll need a basin large enough for it to sit in, two metal grates to secure it, landscape rocks, soft copper pipe, drill with a ½-inch bit, pump, and tubing. A rectangular glass top is easier to work with than a round one since you have to mold the copper piping over the edge to get the water to cascade down. Start by digging a hole for your basin to go in and bury it in the ground. Set your glass tabletop upright in the middle of the basin, using the metal grates to secure it. Stack landscape rock on the grates to keep the tabletop from falling over.
Create your copper frame for the tabletop. If it’s round, you’ll mold it to run along the entire edge of the tabletop. For a rectangular one, you’ll cut the copper pipe sections and use elbow joints to put them together. Drill holes along the section of the pipe pointing down and set it just above the tabletop. The other end of the pipe should be capped. Put the pump in the basin and attach clear tubing to the other end of your copper frame. Fill the basin with water and switch the pump on. The water will come out the copper tubing, cascade down the glass, and fall into the basin before starting the cycle over.
Glass tabletop by Clarence Risher / CC BY-SA 2.0
14. Landscape Rock Stack
This garden fountain will take you a few days to complete. You’ll need a pump, 2 ½-inch copper piping that is two feet longer than the fountain’s height, waterproof basin, flat landscape stones, small rocks, ½-inch ball valve, ½-inch by ½ inch compression female adapter, screen, composite decking, drainage gravel, and 1-inch PVC conduit. Start by digging a hole for your basin, making it two inches deeper than the basin. Put a two-inch thick layer or drainage gravel in and set your basin in the pit. Measure from the edge of the pit to the outlet and cut the PVC conduit this length. Pull the plug through the conduit and lay it in the trench before backfilling it in. Center your pump in your basin. Put the screen over the basin and cut a one-inch wide circle in the center.
Cut a three-sided flap that lets you reach in to get to the pump if need be on the side. Cut a four-inch section off your copper pipe. Insert your pipe into the ball valve, and attach the short section to the other end. Screw your adapter into the pump outlet. Use a compression fitting to attach the pump and pipe. Put a two-inch layer of drainage gravel in the basin’s bottom. The pump goes into the center with the pipe sticking up, threaded through your screen. Cut sections of decking that are slightly larger than your basin and place them around the copper pipe for support. Stack the stones and drill through the centers. Thread the stones onto the pipe, and fill the basin with a hose. Switch on the pump and let the water cascade down the rocks into the basin.
Alter Rock Stacks by faungg / CC BY-ND 2.0
These 14 garden fountain ideas can help you elevate your outdoor space and bring a little tranquility into your yard or garden. Most of these garden fountain ideas are easy to DIY in a day or two, and some may only take an hour at most to complete. You can create more than one if you have a larger space to fill, and we’ve given you garden fountains that will look nice in small spaces too. We invite you to try them out and see which ones work best for your wants and needs this spring.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.