August 18, 2014

DIY Patio Water Wall

When we built our Outdoor Living Space Expansion, we designed it with the intention of incorporating a water feature. Inspired by one I saw on Craftsy, Mr. Frugalista and I went back and forth argued for weeks before we came up with a design that we were both happy with.

The original plan was to use a sheet of metal (preferably copper) for the water to run down.  While looking for that perfect sheet of copper, Mr. Frugalista spotted two wide reed style tempered glass panels at our local home reusable store for only $15.00 each.  The game plan for our DIY Patio Water Wall quickly changed.

DIY Patio Water Wall

We used the majority of the materials pictured below to build our water wall.

DIY Water Wall Materials List
Note:  The size of the water wall is determined by the size of the glass panels that you use.

Unit: 60" high x 52" wide
Base: 12" deep x 18" wide x 52" long

Tool List
  • Table saw
  • Compound Mitre Saw
  • Power Drill
  • Staple Gun
  • Tape Measure
  • Brad Nail Gun
  • Level

Materials List
*affiliate links are included in this post so that you can see the products used to make this project.  Please review my disclosure policy page.

Pond Pump 
  • Check the rating on the pump to ensure that it will carry the water to the desired height. Example; if your wall is 5' high, the pump needs to be rated for a minimum of 60" of water lift.
  • The pump needs to fit between the wall of the water trough and the glass.
  • It is ideal to purchase a pump where the motor and value portion come apart.  This will make it easier to remove the motor to bring inside during the winter in colder climates.

Pond Liner 
Small sheet approximately 5' x 5'

Tempered Glass 
Size to suit (the glass should be tempered for safety)

Flexible Plastic Tubing or Copper Tubing 
  • Approximately 10 feet (could use copper tubing if you're handy with soldering)
  • Related connectors: 4 elbows and approximately 12 clamps
  • 2" x 2" x 8' (approximately 12 pieces)
  • 1/4" or 3/8" plywood to build water trough (approximately 4' x 4' sheet)
  • 1" x 6" x 8' pressure treated lumber (2 pieces)
  • 1" x 6" x 8' cedar fence boards (approximately 14 pieces)
  • 1 pkg of tongue and groove cedar closet liner
  • 2 pieces of scrap lumber (to hold the glass inside the water trough)
Other Materials
  • 3-4 bags of river rock 
  • wood screws (3-inch for base frame, 1 1/2-inch for all else)
  • construction glue 
  • staples
...and so it began.

Step 1: Building the base

Build the base frame with 2" x 2" lumber.

DIY Patio Wall Base Instructions

Step 2: Building the water trough

Build a plywood box to fit inside the frame.  This will house the pond pump, the glass on the bottom, and the water.

DIY Water Wall trough instructions

Step 3: Insert water trough into the base

Insert the box inside the frame of the base. You can see it is raised from the base and supported by 2" x 2" lumber. Why? Because it will contain less water than having built it from the bottom.
Inserting the water trough into the base of the DIY Water Wall

Step 4: Installing the glass supports

Attach wood slats to the bottom of the trough to keep the glass panels centered.  Note: you can see the pond pump fits nicely between the glass and the side wall (this is not the step where you install the pump).

Installing slats to hold tempered glass into the base of the DIY Water Wall

Step 5: Lining the water trough

Line the water trough with pond liner and attached with staples.  At this point add water and test to ensure there are no water leaks.

Lining the water trough with pond liner on the DIY Water Wall

Step 6: Adding the uprights

Attach 1" x 6" x 60" pressure treated deck boards in the outer center of each side onto the base.  These are your uprights.  A couple pieces of scrap deck boards were added on each side of the upright to make the ends flush when installing the exterior finish. 

Adding uprights to the base of the DIY Water Wall

Step 7: Finishing the base

Nail cedar tongue and groove closet liner to the exterior of the base.

Finishing the exterior of the base of the DIY Water Wall with cedar

Step 8: Trim the base

Trim the base with ripped cedar fence boards and 1" x 1" wood slats.

Installing the glass on the DIY Water Wall

Step 9: Concealing the pump

On the back of the base on the side where the pump will be installed, cut a short piece of trim that will be screwed in from the top.  This will allow for the cord to be concealed underneath.

Concealing the electrical cord of the DIY Water Wall

Step 10: Installing the tempered glass

Note:  Installing the glass is a two person job
  • Mark the center of the uprights at the top.
  • Secure one 2" x 2" on the back side of your mark.
  • Place the glass in the groove of the base and rest the top of the glass on the 2" x 2" you just installed.
  • Secure the front 2" x 2" to hold the glass in place.

Attaching flexible tubing for the water flow on the DIY Water Wall

Step 11:  Running the water tubing

  • Place the pond pump on the bottom of the water trough
  • Attach the flexible plastic tubing with couplings and clamps inside the center of the upright.
  • Attach an elbow at the top.
  • Using a 3/16" drill bit make holes in the top piece spaced about 1" apart.  The size of the holes determines the strength of the water flow.
  • Ensure you make your holes on one side of the tubing.
  • Start with small holes and submerge the pump in a pail of water to test the flow.  Increase the size of the holes in increments until you have the flow you desire.
  • Fill the end of the tube with silicone to seal it off.
  • Use screws and large washers to hold the tubing in place into the top 2" x 2".
  • It's important that the tubing is pressed with the holes tightly against the glass so the water will trickle down the glass.

Step 12: Concealing the water tubing

Once satisfied with the water flow, conceal the tubing by boxing in around the uprights with cedar fence boards.

Triming up the top of the DIY Water Wall with cedar

Step 13: Applying the finishing touches

  • Last but not least apply a couple coats of stain.  We used Behr semi-transparent in Sagebrush Green to match our existing planters.
  • You do not have to fill the entire base with river rock.  Add some concrete paving stones to the bottom to help fill the void and add your river rock on top.
Staining the DIY Water Wall

Here's a close up of the water trickling down the glass.  We choose a very soft trickle (smaller holes) and it makes such a relaxing sound as the water hits the rocks below.

Close up picture of the water trickling down the glass of the DIY Water Wall

The sound of the trickling water is so enjoyable and very relaxing!

DIY Outdoor Water Wall Tutorial

We have since illuminated the water wall at night by adding three small solar flood lights onto the base, pointing upwards towards the glass.

If you decide to build a Water Wall, I would love it if you emailed a picture (see the Contact Me page) so I can see it.  I may feature it (with your permission) on my social media platforms!

If you're interested in seeing how we turned Plant Pots Into A Water Fountain press HERE.

You will find this project linked to these fabulous link PARTIES.

A big thank you to the following for featuring this project:

American Workshop                                                      

iCreative Ideas

The Garden Glove

The WHOot

DIY Projects World

Plant Care Today

The Homestead Survival

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