DIY Patio Water Wall | The Interior Frugalista: DIY Patio Water Wall
DIY Patio Water Wall | The Interior Frugalista

DIY Patio Water Wall

This is the most popular post on my blog and today I've dusted it off from archives because I have some updates to share with you. If you've already read this post then you can catch the updates near the bottom. If you missed this post, then please read on.

When we built our Outdoor Living Space Expansion, we designed it with the intention of incorporating a water feature. 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 found two wide reed tempered glass panels at a local salvage yard 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

How To Build An Outdoor Water Wall


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

This post contains affiliate links so you can find the products or similar products that I used.  What that means is that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a small portion of any sales at no additional cost to you to support the costs of running this site. See my disclosure policy page.

Pond Pump *affiliate link
  • 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.
  • Ours was purchased at Home Depot and is made by Angelo Decor, Model No. TPD-300H.

Pond Liner *affiliate link
Small sheet approximately 5' x 5'

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

Flexible Plastic Tubing *affiliate link 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 *affiliate link
  • 2 pieces of scrap lumber (to hold the glass inside the water trough)

Other Materials
  • 3-4 bags of river rock  *affiliate link
  • wood screws (3-inch for base frame, 1 1/2-inch for all else)
  • construction glue 
  • staples

...and so it began.

Step 1: Base Construction

Build the base frame with 2" x 2" lumber.
DIY Patio Wall Base Instructions

Step 2: Water Trough Construction

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: Base Assembly 

Insert the box into 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: Glass Support Installation

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: Wrapping 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: Conceal 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: Tempered Glass Installation

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: Water Tube Installation

  • 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 Water Tubes

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: 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

If you build a Water Wall, I would love it if you emailed a picture (see my Contact Me page). It may just get added to this post.

Update: June 28, 2016

We decided while we loved our water wall on our stone patio, from our deck we could barely hear the trickle of the water.  We have since moved our Water Wall onto our deck and created a conversation area around it.

DIY Water Wall Feature

Not only can we hear the soft trickle of the running water better but at night the Water Wall is backlit with spotlights.

We added a trio of Solar Spotlights *affiliate link - in the photo below the one on the far right is hidden by the ferns. Holes were drilled into the trim to hold the base of each light and the wires are concealed under the trim. The solar panel is in our flower garden where it gets loads of sunshine throughout the day.

DIY Water Wall backlit with solar spotlights

This is the Water Wall illuminated at dusk...

DIY Water Wall illuminated at dusk with solar spotlights

...and here it is after dark.

DIY Water Wall backlit after dark with solar spotlights

Since publishing this post I am thrilled to have received emails from readers who shared photos of their DIY Water Walls inspired by ours.

The inspiration for ours came from one that I saw online but unfortunately, after numerous attempts, I could not locate a link to a website to share the love.  Here are some of the Water Walls inspired by ours.

DIY Water Wall Inspiration

Below is a video sent by a reader of his impressive version of our Water Wall...


More DIY Water Feature Inspiration:

If building a large water feature is not an option, we also turned a trio of plant pots into a Plant Pot Water Fountain.

We also built a solar-powered option that can be made in less than 15 minutes here in our post, Solar Powered Plant Pot Fountain.

Now let's talk a little bit about safety...

Other DIY Outdoor Living Inspiration

Before building our water wall we removed some spruce trees to create an extension of our Outdoor Living Space using large patio paving stones and a couple varieties of moss.

When we later moved the water wall onto our deck to create a conversation area, we also built an Adirondack Fire Bowl Table.

On the opposite side of our yard, we built a decorative garden screen to conceal our firewood pile and we made with repurposed Old Louvered Bi-Fold Doors.

Our Water Wall Has Been Featured Here:


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