July 24, 2013

Plant Pots to Water Fountain {step-by-step tutorial}

How to build a water fountain out of plant pots

I wanted to have a unique water fountain on our deck. There were many stunning ones that struck my fancy but being a Frugalista, I wasn't willing to pay the price. Now I could have waited until mid August when they typically go on sale but that would require P A T I E N C E. What the heck is that!

April 22, 2014

Using three plant pots to build a water feature

We've had these three flower pots kicking around, like forever. Inspired by some of the DIY fountains I've seen on Pinterest and Hometalk, we decided to give this a whirl.

I cannot tell a lie, we had several frustrating botched attempts with this project. Rocks that were too small and kept plugging the pump. A spray nozzle that overflowed onto the deck. Painting a large bowl to catch the overflow but the paint peeled despite several coats of a protective finish. A chunk breaking off one of the pots while trying to make a hole in the bottom to accommodate the pump....shhhhhh...with a hammer. Oh well, like they say, live and learn. At least by following this tutorial you won't make the same mistakes. You're welcome!

 Materials used to make a water fountain from plant pots
Materials List *(affiliate links included so you can see the products used in this project)
  • 3 plant pots to create a tier in different sizes.  You want to ensure they have center holes on the bottom that will accommodate the pump tubing or else you will have to drill the holes.
  • 2 terracotta pot saucers close to the diameter of the bottom two pots
  • PVC pipe large enough to stabilize a pot sitting on topase
  • Pond Pump (see note below)
  • River rocks to fill around the sides of each pot and fill the top pot
NOTE:  We used a 100 GPH Pond Pump.  However, it's important that you purchase one that can lift the water vertically to just above the height of the top flower pot.  I have been advised that it's a good rule of thumb to purchase one rated at least 6" higher than what you need.  If it pumps the water too high, discharge the flow reducer valve to adjust the flow to where you want it.

Step 1
Seal the hole on the bottom of the base pot.  We used a small tile but a piece of plastic would work too.  Secure it in place with silicone all around it to ensure a tight water seal.  Let it cure for at least 24 hours.

Step 1 of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 2
  • We placed the pump on a sturdy base in the center of the bottom pot.  Based on the type of pump you purchase and the size of the pots, you may be able to avoid this step.
  • Attach the plastic extenders to the pump in order to raise it up so the height of the top pot so the spray head is above the rim.  
Step Two of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 3
  • Cut the PVC Pipe to a length that will allow the second pot to sit just below the rim of the bottom pot. Repeat this step for the second pot and the top pot.
  • Now that you have the desired heights for each pot, remove the PVC pipe and notch out a groove in the bottom to accommodate the pump's electrical cord (see picture below).
Step Three of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 4
Set the plastic pipe so it rests on the bottom of the pot.  This becomes your base for the next step.
You'll notice the sturdy base we used to raise the pump to the desired height fits inside the PVC pipe.
TIP: Make sure you cut the plastic tubing nice and straight so your pots sit level!

Step Four of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 5 
  • Drill a hole in the center of the terracotta pot bases using a ceramic drill bit.  Make sure the hole you are drilling is big enough to accommodate the pump extenders.
  • Set the largest terracotta base through the pump extender and let it rest on the top of the PVC pipe.  NOTE: Unlike the photo below, it is better to place the terracotta saucer upside down to help conceal the lip.
Step Five of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 6
  • Repeat Step 5.
  • Insert PVC Pipe into the second pot.
  • Add your next size terracotta saucer (again upside down) as in Step 5.
Step Six A of building a plant pot water fountain

Step Six B of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 7
  • Add your last pot on top of the terracotta base.
  • Ensure that your spray head is just above the rim of the top pot.  You may need to add another pump extender to achieve that height.
  • Insert the fountain spray head onto the last pump extender.
Step Seven of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 8
  • Add river rock onto each saucer until the terracotta is completely concealed. Make sure you use a combination of large and small rocks.  You want the large rocks to fill in the void between the saucer and the pot.  The small rocks will help to conceal the saucer.
  • Fill the bottom pot with water and plug it in.  Ta Da!
Building a Plant Pot Water Fountain

And there you have it, an inexpensive DIY water fountain for a deck, patio, or apartment balcony!

Mushroom Spray Fountain Style

In our design the water simply flows through the pots to the bottom pot.  Ensure that the water does not spray over the edges of the pots or you will run out of water. You will need to eventually add water to the bottom pot due to evaporation.  This option easily dismantles for winter storage.

Waterfall Spray Fountain Style

If you are wanting the look of standing water in the pots cascading over the edges, you will need to silicone around the holes in the second and top pots where your tubing is passing through.  By doing this the water will be held in each pot and will flow over the sides.  Again ensure the water does not spray over the edges.  This style does not allow for easy dis-assembly for winter storage. 

Blossom Spray Fountain Style

For this style you will need a large basin that the pots will sit in.  In this style the spray can flow over the edges of the pots but must land in the basin.  In this design your bottom pot will have a hole in it. Note: The basin must be deep enough to hold sufficient water to keep the pump submerged in the base pot.

If you're interested in seeing how we made a DIY Outdoor Water Wall press HERE.

Thank You to the following for featuring this project:

Plant Care Today   

Cot Cozy    

Phoenix Treasures

DIY Projects World

Cute Ideas Online Catalog


The WHOot

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