How To Turn Plant Pots Into A Water Fountain

This budget-friendly DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain is the perfect water feature for a deck, patio, porch, or apartment balcony. For years I've been wanting a unique water fountain but none that I liked fit our budget. One afternoon while relaxing on the deck I glanced over at a heap of plant pots we didn't use this summer when I had a light bulb moment.

If you don't have flower pots large enough, around August is typically when they go on sale. We built ours with a trio of pots but you could build this water fountain with two or even one large flower pot.

DIY Backyard Plant Pot Water Fountain

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain

Most pumps come with multiple spray heads so you'll have a few choices for the type of spray you want on yours. Pictured above is the water fountain with two plant pots and a single-tier spray head. Pictured below is with three plant pots and a mushroom spray head.

DIY Three Tier Plant Pot Water Fountain

I spent a few days scratching my head trying to figure out how to make this work. I'm not going to lie, there were a few botched attempts and some hiccups along the way but eventually, Mr. Frugalista and I figured it out. Once we did, it fell into place seamlessly and I'm going to share the process in nine easy to follow steps.

First, these are the well-used flower pots used to make ours along with bags of river rock.

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Flower Pots

We also used these tools and supplies.

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Supplies

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. At no cost to you, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase.

Water Fountain Supply List

  • 3 plant pots to create a tier in different sizes.  You want to ensure they have one drainage hole in the bottom center to accommodate the pump tubing otherwise you will have to drill holes.
  • 2 terracotta saucers close to the diameter of the bottom and middle plant pots
  • PVC pipe large enough to stabilize a pot sitting on top
  • Pond Pump (see tip below)
  • River rocks 

An important tip about the pond pump

We used a 100 GPH Pond Pump. It is important that you purchase a pump that can lift the water vertically to just above the height of the top flower pot. A good rule of thumb is to purchase one rated at least 6-inches higher than what you need. If it pumps the water too high, discharge the flow reducer valve to adjust the flow where you want it.

How to build the plant pot water fountain

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the Plant Pot Water Fountain was made I should mention that we are self-taught DIYers and not trained professionals. This step-by-step tutorial is based on our building knowledge only. However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer like us, you'll find these steps helpful if you plan on making a version of our water fountain.

Step 1 - Seal the drainage hole on the bottom pot

If your bottom flower pot has a drainage hole, it will need to be sealed in order for the water to recirculate. We used a small tile and secured it with silicone, running it all around the tile to ensure a tight seal. Let it cure for at least 24 hours before moving on to the next step.

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 1

Step 2 - Insert the pump

  • Based on the type of pump you purchase and the size of the pots, you may have to raise the pump to get the height you need. To do this set something sturdy in the center of the bottom pot and set the pump on it. Hopefully, you can avoid this step. 
  • Attach the plastic extenders on the pump in order to raise it so the spray head is above the rim of the top flower pot.  

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 2

Step 3 - 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 and third pot. 
  • Now that you have the desired height for each pot, remove the PVC pipe and notch out a groove in the pipe for the bottom pot to accommodate the electrical cord for the pump (pictured below).

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 3

Step 4 - Base for largest Plant Pot

Set the plastic pipe so it rests on the bottom of the largest pot. This becomes the base for the next step. Notice how the base we used to raise the pump fits inside the PVC pipe.

Helpful Tip:

Cut the PVC pipe nice and straight to ensure the stacked flower pots sit level.

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 4

Step 5 - Base for the second plant pot

  • Drill a hole in the center of a terracotta saucer with a ceramic drill bit large enough to accommodate the pump extender. 
  • Place the largest terracotta saucer through the pump extender and rest it on top of the PVC pipe in the bottom plant pot (pictured below).

Helpful Tip:

Unlike the photo below, it is better to place the terracotta saucer upside down so you conceal the edge of the saucer.

DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 5

Step 6 - Insert middle plant pot

  • Repeat Step 5 for the next terracotta saucer.
  • Insert PVC Pipe into the middle pot.

    DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 6

    Step 7 - Base for the top plant pot

    Add the next size terracotta saucer but remember to place it upside down (unlike shown in the photo below).

    DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 7

    • Set the smallest pot on top of the terracotta base.
    • Ensure your spray head is just above the rim of the top flower pot. You may need to add another pump extender to achieve the correct height.
    • Insert your choice of the spray head onto the last pump extender.

    DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Step 8

    Step 8 - Add river rocks and water

    • Add river rocks onto each saucer until the terracotta saucers are completely hidden. If your saucers don't cover the entire pot (like the middle pot in the photo above), use larger river rocks to fill the void. Use smaller rocks to hide the saucers.
    • Fill the bottom pot with water and plug it in. It will take a few seconds for the pump to prime before it starts working. Don't be alarmed by the noise the pump makes during this process. 

    DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Assembled

    The water will evaporate, especially on hot days. You must check the water level in the bottom pot regularly and fill as necessary.

    Spray Head Styles

    The type of spray head you use will determine the way the water fountain is assembled.

    Mushroom Spray Head Style 

    This is the spray head we used on the three-tier water fountain. The water flows from the bottom pot up the stem and the spray looks like a mushroom cap. This style can be dismantled for winter storage.

    Single Tier Spray Head Style

    This is the spray head we used on the two-tier water fountain. Much like the mushroom style, the water flows from the bottom pot up the stem and the spray head. The water DOES NOT flow over the pots with this style. This style can be dismantled for winter storage.

    Cascading Spray Head Style

    If you want the look of standing water in the pots where it cascades 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 trickle over the sides. Note with this style the fountain cannot be dismantled for winter storage.

    Blossom Spray Head Style

    For this style, you will need a basin with a much larger circumference under the bottom flower pot so the spray can flow over the edges of the pots and land in the basin below. With this style, your bottom pot will have a hole in it so the water recirculates from the basin rather than the bottom pot. With this style, the basin must be deep enough to hold sufficient water supply to keep the pump submerged in the bottom pot.

    DIY Two Tier Plant Pot Water Fountain

    There you have it, a budget-friendly water feature for a deck, patio, porch or apartment balcony. I also have a Solar Powered Plant Pot Fountain that can be made in less than 15 Minutes. But if you want a go big or go home water feature, then check out my very popular DIY Outdoor Water Wall that is perfect for a patio or deck. You will need to know your way around power tools to make that one.

    If you have any questions about this makeover, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

    DIY Plant Pot Water Fountain Feature

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    1. Are you protecting the pump from small stones and debris? Is that why you put it into the pot?

      1. I'm not sure I understand the question, Pam. The pump needs to be submerged in water and so the largest plant pot on the bottom houses the pump which must always be filled with water. The pump is sitting in the pvc pipe to hold it upright and to support the saucer that middle plant pot is set on. I hope this answered your question.

    2. I'm looking for suitable pots, do they have to be internally glazed

    3. Hello, I have one question... shouldn't I drill holes in the bottom pvc pipe to ensure the water gets to the pump??

      1. Because the pvc pipe is not sealed to the bottom of the pot, the water does fill the cavity for the pump. I hope this helps!

    4. Could I use two plastic pots with holes on the bottom instead of the pvc pipe? Thanks :)

    5. Do you mean placing them inside your larger pots or using the plastic pots as your fountain? If using the plastic pots for the fountain you'll need to plug the bottom pot. If using them inside the larger pots instead of pvc pipe, as long as the water can recirculate to the bottom pot, you're good to go!

    6. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing your posts on making fountains. I am thrilled with what I have seen and you make it seem so easy that I can’t wait to start. I was wondering if you ever do anything with cement and small rocks to create a fountain and if you do what kind of cement would you suggest? Again I absolutely love your post.

    7. Hi Paula Jo, welcome! So glad you've enjoyed my water feature posts. 😊 I have never made a cement fountain but have DIY concrete garden projects on my Must Try List. If you go into Pinterest, press the magnifying glass icon, and search "cement pond diy water fountains" you will find all kinds of awesome ideas. I hope that helps!


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