Build It Yourself Outdoor Wall Fountain

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Water fountains make a soothing addition to outdoor decor. They liven up even the smallest of places, along with giving birds and other wildlife a place to bathe and drink. An outdoor wall fountain can easily cost hundreds of dollars in a store. Fortunately you can build your own fountain at a fraction of that cost. Building your own also lets you experiment with creative designs. You can find the most critical elements--submersible pump, vinyl tubing and waterproof sealer--at most home or garden stores. In some regions they may only be available during gardening season.

Things You'll Need

  • Wall surface Fountainhead Basin Waterproof sealer Waterproof submersible fountain pump Vinyl tubing
  • Select a wall surface for the water to flow down. Look for a mostly flat piece of waterproof material like metal or plastic. Imagine how the water will flow over it. Ridges, curves, or other patterns add visual interest and sometimes interesting sounds as the water flows over.

  • Choose a fountainhead to hide the vinyl tubing that carries water back up into the fountain. Some garden shops sell "fountain masks" that are made specifically for this purpose. You could also drill a hole in almost anything to run the tubing through, or create a hiding place for it by piling small rocks at the top of the wall surface.

  • Locate a waterproof basin for the bottom of your fountain. This could be anything from a large bowl to a hole dug into the ground and lined with a drop-in liner. It should be large enough for the bottom end of the wall surface to sit in.

  • Coat anything that's not already waterproof with silicone sealer or another waterproofing material and let dry. Make sure you've covered all surfaces that are likely to come into contact with water.

  • Set the basin in place, then place the bottom end of the wall portion of your fountain in the basin. Make sure the top portion of the wall surface is supported: It doesn't have to be dead vertical, but it should be close. You might lean it against an existing vertical wall or fence, a tree, or support it with wooden dowels glued or drilled into place.

  • Place your waterproof, submersible fountain pump in the basin. It must be either battery powered, solar powered or connect to an electrical outlet. If it connects to an electrical outlet, make sure the cord runs freely to the outlet and will not be pinched or constricted by the wall surface.

  • Connect your vinyl tubing to the outlet on the pump, which may vary in size from pump to pump. Then run the tubing along the back of the wall surface to its top.

  • Install the fountainhead. If you're using a pre-drilled specialty mask, this will mean hanging the mask and connecting the vinyl tube to its mouth so the water can flow out. If you can't think of a fountainhead to conceal the tubing, purchase a short length of bamboo from your local garden store and run the vinyl tubing most of the way through it, then glue the bamboo on top of your wall surface.

  • Fill the basin with water until the pump is fully submerged, then activate the pump. The water will evaporate over time, so make sure to check the water level every so often. Replenish the water supply when necessary to keep the pump submerged.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't find a fountainhead, use a short length of bamboo purchased from your local garden shop. Just run the vinyl tubing through the bamboo. Then glue the bamboo, with tubing, on top of your wall surface so that water can flow down the wall. You can easily hide your fountain pump by tucking it behind the bottom of the wall surface in the basin. You can extend the life of your pump by wrapping it in a piece of fabric from old nylons: This will act as a filter to help keep debris from plugging up the pump. Fountain pumps are rated in GPH (Gallons Per Hour) and head height, which is how high it can push the water. Always select a head height that's a little higher than your fountainhead to ensure adequate flow.
  • Submersible pumps are water cooled, so running them out of the water may cause serious damage. Make sure the pump you select is fully submersible.

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