A fountain adds the calming sound and sight of water to your garden; it's a feature that inspires relaxation after even the most stressful day. Store-bought fountains run the gamut from inexpensive molded resin objects that may not look so nice, on up to large stone fountains that are as weighty as they are pricey. Rather than settling for something that doesn't suit your tastes or budget, make your own fountain using a fountain pump and almost any container that holds water.
Fountain Supplies and Testing
To make a fountain of any design requires a watertight vessel such as a glazed ceramic pot or a galvanized tub, a submersible pump with tubing that fits the pump's outlet nozzle, and any decorative elements such as polished river rocks, bamboo or copper piping. To test basic pump operation, push the tubing onto the outlet valve, then place the pump in the bottom of the container, holding the electrical cord and tubing outside the container. Add water until the intake valve is covered, then plug in the pump, aiming the tubing so the water coming out of the tubing goes back into the container. The decorative elements and arrangement depend on the type of fountain you'll create.
Planter or Pot Fountain
A watertight planter or glazed pot serves as the base for a fountain which looks right at home arranged next to potted trees and plants set in similar planters around the perimeter of the garden. Cover the pump, once in the planter, with an assortment of landscaping stones or polished river rocks, ensuring that the tubing sticks out above the rocks. Add a layer of sphagnum moss on top, if desired, especially in areas near but not within constant flow of water. To mask the tubing sticking out of the top of the fountain, surround it with the neck of a broken bottle such as a cobalt blue wine bottle, a piece of bamboo, or a length of copper tubing. The rocks help keep the tubing and its covering in place.
Disappearing Water Fountain
A "disappearing water" fountain works in much the same way as a container fountain, but it looks as though water generates itself out of a decorative tall pot. The main water container and pump assembly sit underground with a grate such as a grill grate on top of it. A pot with a hole in the bottom sits over that, with the tubing coming up through the hole to near the top of the pot. The grate sits beneath a layer of decorative rocks in a garden bed, so it looks as though the pot rests on top of the rocks with no source of visible water.
Since this fountain is a garden feature, it's designed to be used and to stay outdoors. This also means that the pump and extension cords running to it should be designed for outdoor use, and areas where the cord connects to the extension cord should be out of the elements or danger of getting wet. Another option is a solar-powered fountain pump, which is available from a garden center, import store or online.