Sunday, July 8, 2012

Look! We Made Something!

M. and I have been pondering the idea of getting a "water feature" for our deck , to create peaceful, babbling brook-like background noise to drown out the sounds of our townhouse neighborhood. And all their many, many barking dogs.

OK, so we'd probably need something along the lines of Niagra Falls to do THAT, but still - we've been contemplating a bit more ambience.

Water features are freaking expensive, however, as we learned once we started searching online. The big box  hardware stores and Amazon have a few in the $50-$100 range, but none of them look very nice or very sturdy, and most are much more expensive than that.

So what did I do? I turned to Pinterest. And Pinterest did not disappoint. I found this blog post from Frilly Details that looked simple, cheap, and like exactly what we were looking for:

We followed the instructions pretty much to a T, and now are the proud owners of a $70 water feature. If you would like to create one of these for yourself, you will need the following materials:

1. A large planting pot (we bought a lightweight one for $25)
2. A bucket that fits inside the planting pot (not sure, but cheap)
3. A fountain kit ($20)
4. Hardware cloth (don't be fooled by the name, you will not find this in the hardware section of Lowes, it's used for outdoor stuff like fencing, so look for it in the outdoor gardening section) (price? I'm too lazy to go find the receipt. But cheap.)
5. River rocks (Again, not sure on the price. Maybe $5?)

We also needed (you may not):

2 small pavers (about $5 total)
Gloves ($5)
Some pea gravel (free, because we already owned some)

First, M. used our drill to create some small holes in the bottom of the planter so it can drain off rain water:

As much of the work as possible was done in our kitchen, since it was ridiculously hot on Saturday. Hence the ugly linoleum in the background.

Then M. drilled a larger hole on the side of the planter, kind of near the bottom - this is so the plug/cord from the fountain pump could be fed through and plugged in. If you are OK with having the cord come up from the top of the planter, you don't need to do this:

I helped  by entertaining Lucy elsewhere (and photojournaling here and there):

Then the pump was assembled (didn't capture any photos, but never fear, the kit comes with directions), and the bucket and pump were dry fit into the planter. You can't see this, but we put the two pavers we had bought in the bottom of the planter and used them to raise the bucket up, as it was a bit short:

M. cut the hardware cloth to on top of the bucket, across the whole opening of the planter. Finn watched, and was warned 600 times to NOT TOUCH the hardware cloth. That shit is sharp! You have been warned - wear gloves or suffer the consequences. The edges of the hardware cloth were folded under to make a rough circle shape. A hole was cut in the middle of the hardware cloth to accommodate the pump straw-thingy (technical, no?):

At this point, the operation moved out to our deck. M. and Finn dumped some pea gravel from the kids' sandbox into the bottom of the planter, to fill in the space created by the pavers were raising up the bucket. Then the bucket was filled about 2/3 full with water:

We tested out the pump to see if it worked. It did! We tried out a couple of nozzles (the kit came with three), and settled on this one:

Then it was time to make things look pretty. Finn and M. rinsed off the river rocks we had purchased, and arranged them on the hardware cloth, covering up the jarring pink bucked and the hardware cloth itself:

And now we have our very own water feature to enjoy on our deck:

Or, you know, from inside our house, until it gets cool enough to enjoy it out on our deck:

Does anyone else have any crafty, DIY success stories to share? Inspire us! We're on a roll, and looking for something to do next!


  1. I was just saying to Jeremy last night that we need a water feature on our porch. That looks very easy and inexpensive. Maybe once this heat wave passes I will have enough motivation to do the same thing.

  2. I am so thrilled you made the fountain! Yours turned out amazing, and what a great idea to have the cord coming out the side of the pot. I'll have to make that adjustment on mine.

  3. Hi Emily! Thanks for stopping by! Your post was SO helpful to us. I don't know if you'll see this, as I can't for the life of me figure out how to respond via threaded comments to you directly. But thanks! :-)

  4. Wow! I have always wanted a fountain, the sound is so soothing.

  5. Great fountain , looks great and has to be relaxing to watch and hear. If you are looking for another project check this out: