Plant Pots to Water Fountain (step-by-step tutorial) | The Interior Frugalista: Plant Pots to Water Fountain (step-by-step tutorial)

July 24, 2013

Plant Pots to Water Fountain (step-by-step tutorial)

I wanted a unique water fountain for our deck. There were many stunning ones for sale that struck my fancy but our budget could not accommodate the price tag.  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!

How to build a water fountain out of plant pots

We've had these three flower pots on our deck for years. Inspired by some of the DIY fountains I've seen on Pinterest, we decided to give this idea a try.

Using three plant pots to build a water feature

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 protective finish.

We had a chunk break 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

Water Fountain Materials List

*affiliate links are included so you can see the products used to make this fountain
  • 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 plant pots
  • PVC pipe large enough to stabilize a pot sitting on top
  • Pond Pump (see note below)
  • River rocks 
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 Sealing the drainage hole on the bottom pot

In order for the water to recirculate, you will have to seal the drainage hole in the bottom 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 seal.  Let it cure for at least 24 hours.

Step 1 of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 2 Inserting the pump

  • Place 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 so the spray head is above the rim of the top pot.  
Step Two of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 3 Making plant pot risers

  • 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 Base for largest Plant Pot

Set the plastic pipe so it rests on the bottom of the largest 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 Base for medium plant pot 

  • Drill a hole in the center of the medium terracotta pot 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 (see photo below).
TIP: 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 Inserting middle plant pot 

  • Repeat Step 5.
  • Insert PVC Pipe into the second pot.
  • Add your next size terracotta saucer.
Step Six A of building a plant pot water fountain

Remember to place the terracotta saucer upside down (unlike shown in the picture below).

Step Six B of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 7 Base for smallest plant pot

  • Add the smallest 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 the correct height.
  • Insert the fountain spray head onto the last pump extender.
Step Seven of building a plant pot water fountain

Step 8 Inserting top plant pot

  • Add river rock onto each saucer until the terracotta saucers are 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.  
Building a Plant Pot Water Fountain

And there you have it, an inexpensive DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain for a deck, patio, or apartment balcony!


Spray Head Styles

Mushroom Spray Fountain

This is the spray head style we used on our water fountain, 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 soon run dry. 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 middle and top flower pots where your tubing is passed 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 basin with a much larger circumference than the bottom flower pot so the spray can flow over the edges of the pots and land in the basin.  In this design, your bottom pot will have a hole in it so the water recirculates from the basin rather than the bottom pot.

Note: The basin must be deep enough to hold a sufficient water supply to keep the pump submerged in the base pot.

UPDATE April 22, 2014


You may also like to see the post on how we made a DIY Outdoor Water Wall.


A big Thank You to the following for featuring this project:

                RenoCompare
Plant Care Today   

Cot Cozy    

Phoenix Treasures

DIY Projects World

Cute Ideas Online Catalog

FabArtDIY

The WHOot



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