Creating a water fountain or water feature has been such a rewarding diy project. The sound it makes literally washes away the stress of the day.So join me in this tutorial, where I walk you through how we made it. I teamed up with smartpond and Lowe's to hopefully inspire you to add a water feature to your garden or yard. I have been compensated for this article, but all opinions, ideas and pictures are my own.

This is a picture heavy post, but I tried to use collages so I did not bore you into a scrolling frenzy. 

I know you are going to love it as much as I do. If you are a current reader of my blog, then you know we have been sand deep and wheelbarrow high in a huge backyard makeover. I'm talking dust bowl to oasis. So when smartpond contacted me, their timing was perfect. I enlisted my hard working husband to be my welder, muscle and partner in this. Getting started with how we made ours:
Materials List:

1 - Low Water Shut Off Fountain Pump (smartpond)
1 - 2' x 4' x 2' Water Trough/Stock tank (Tractor Supply)
1 - 2' x 8' long corrugated metal sheet (Lowe's Home Improvement Store)
1 - 12 gallon kitchen garbage can
2 - 40 pound bags of Potting Soil
2 - Japanese Honeysuckle vines
2 - Pinky Winky Hydrangea bushes
1 - Garden Watering Can (thrift store)
Scrap Lumber
Scrap Metal Frame ** See Notation
Various Plumbing parts. (pipe elbows, flange, washers and wing nuts) * See notation
1 Antique Metal Coffee Filter from an old commercial coffee pot (you can use any metal bowl or metal bucket. You can also skip using it to make your own version)
6 to 8 Bricks (optional)
Hardware Cloth
Heavy Duty wire cutters
Staple gun and staples
Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Protective gloves
10 oz. Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle

* I did not specify the size of plumbing parts, because you can pick a smaller size or whatever suits your needs. We actually had the pipe elbows and flanges left over from another diy project. The size we used was 1".

** The scrap metal frame is something we had laying around. It's actually the "side" of a metal shelving unit. You could easily build a similar frame out of pallet or scrap wood or whatever you have laying around.


I bought the tank and galvanized metal and started playing with it. So when Greg brought out the scrap shelf frame he had in his scrap pile and asked if I wanted to use it to "picture frame" around the corrugated metal? I said hell yeah! So he got to work "sandwiching" the metal roofing to the frame. Then he welded metal pins to the bottom of the frame. (see the middle picture, below). These pins are going to be used to secure it to the large tank. Once he had the pins welded, he made the necessary holes in the tank, to secure it with washers and wing nuts. (You can always use wood instead of metal, if you don't weld) A wood frame would work just as well and add a rustic touch to it.

Using leftover plumbing flanges, elbows and brass screws he also created a spout for the water to come out. I used blue arrows pointing below to show exactly where the plumbing flange and 2" elbow located on the front, are secured in the back and how (using left over nuts and bolts). It also shows the plumbing elbow and valve where the water will enter in from the back.

Next I got to work distressing the brand new trough or stock tank. I tried a couple of different methods but so far what worked best was sanding or grinding off the glossy finish first. Then wearing protective gloves, coat the entire area with a thick coat of Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner and let it marinate. I left it on for about 18 hours and rinsed it off. Then using a spray bottle I sprayed it with Apple Cider Vinegar. Once a day for two days.

I should hopefully start seeing some rusty spots very soon! Now for the fun part. I used a kitchen garbage can as my water reservoir. I had planned on using a plastic tub, but then height was an issue. The tank is two feet tall. So instead of boosting up a huge plastic tub, I bought a garbage can that is only two inches shorter then my tank.

I added a 6 bricks inside the garbage can, for the pump to sit on and for height to keep within the GPH guidelines. The distance on ours is 3 feet from the top of the water line to the spout.
After turning on the pump, I started to test different "covers" so I could cover the garbage can. My goal was to plant a small garden around the fountain. We tried using more leftover sheet metal, but I wasn't liking how much water bounced into the potting soil and not back in the water reservoir. I had to refill the garbage can every ten minutes. So the auto shut off feature works great!

So back to Lowe's I went and found something that seems to be working perfectly. It's called Hardware Cloth, but I call it wire mesh. You can find this in the fencing aisle of your local Lowe's. Using the mesh, now more water is getting directly in the reservoir and not watering the plants. We made a frame out of scrap wood, sized to fit over the top of the garbage can, and I got too work cutting and stapling the mesh to the wood frame. Our frame has a notch on the left side to allow the tubing and power cord to go through, so after I had the mesh/cloth all stapled, I cut out a flap to let the cords go through. See below.

I popped the frame and mesh over the top of my garbage can. Filled it with water, adding two very large bags of potting soil to the right and left side of the tank and got to work on planting. I used some annuals that I had lying around, two hydrangea bushes and 2 Honeysuckle vines. You ready to see the finished product?

The pump being the work horse it is, the water just poured out of the spout. We decided to try to add something so it would let the water trickle and not "pour" so much. Greg goes scrounging around in his scrap pile again, and finds get this:

a vintage commercial coffee pot filter. 

Where does he find this stuff! He placed it underneath the spout and it literally turned the water into the sound of a rain forest. Perfect! 

Once the flowers fill in a bit more, it will cover more of the edges where mesh is showing.

But I am loving it, the sound is so peaceful, we will definitely be spending every spare minute out here.