Easy DIY Water Features for Your Yard, Garden, Patio, or Deck

By: Julie Day
Water feature made from a recycled planter

This water feature was made from a recycled planter.

A water feature is a beautiful, soothing addition to any garden or outdoor retreat, whether it’s a spacious backyard or a small balcony. This easy DIY water feature can be made in an afternoon, with supplies readily available at your local home center or recycled from items you might have around the house!

Here’s what you need to know to make your own homemade water feature.

Water feature lined with rocks, dug into ground in backyard

This container was made specifically for use in water features.

What You’ll Need to Make a Water Feature

The best part about this project is that it’s customizable – you can make your water feature any size, shape, or style you like. To make a water feature, you’ll need:

  • Container: You can buy containers for fountains, but for a more decorative look, try using a pretty bowl shaped planter (just make sure it doesn’t have holes in the bottom!). You could also recycle a large dish, bowl, or basin. Containers made of resin and plastic will hold up longer in the weather than other materials.
  • Close up of water feature with plants, rocks, and pump

    Be creative with your design!

  • Water Pump: You’ll also need a submersible fountain pump, such as this one from The Home Depot. Fountain pumps are rated according to the gallons per hour they put out. For a small fountain, the smallest pump size will be all you need. Look for one with an adjustable valve, so you can control the output.
  • Outdoor Electrical Receptacle: The pump will need to be plugged into a standard outlet, and you may also need a weatherproof extension cord.
  • Design and Structure: Here’s where you can be creative! You can use rocks, pottery, a favorite sculpture, found objects, or pretty much anything you can think of to enhance the look of your fountain and hide and hold the pump in place.
  • Plants: Aquatic plants for water features are a bit expensive, but just one or two will quickly multiply and fill your fountain.

How to Make a DIY Water Feature

  • Step 1: Place the Container: Start by installing the container in its new home. The ones pictured were nestled down into a hole dug in the ground, but yours can be freestanding or tucked in among other planters.
  • Step 2: Install Water Pump: Next, place the pump in the center, and drape the power cord up and over the back edge. Be sure to follow the instructions that came with your pump.
  • Concealed power cord in water feature

    Concealed power cord.

  • Step 3: Arrange Objects: Add rocks or other objects, using them to conceal the pump and power cord. Clean the items first, to keep the pump free of sediment, and make sure they don’t block the input or output of your pump.
  • Step 4: Add Water and Plants: Fill the container with water, making sure the pump is completely submerged, then add your aquatic plants.
  • Step 5: Test Pump: Make sure the power cord is completely dry, then plug it in and enjoy your new fountain! Adjust the pump valve as needed, to get as much (or as little) gurgling noise as you like, and to keep water from splashing out of the bowl.

Further Information

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3 Comments on “Easy DIY Water Features for Your Yard, Garden, Patio, or Deck”

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  • Marg Surina Says:
    June 19th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    I’ve heard that adding copper pennies will eliminate the algae growth.



  • Papa Says:
    June 1st, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    @ Valerie you need more plants in the pond to keep the direct sun off the water surface. This should solve the algae problem. I am sure you already know that various chemicals are also available for this purpose. Good luck with it.



  • Valerie Szlatenyi Says:
    August 4th, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    We installed a 5 x 8ft. koi pond in a patio with high end pumps, uv filters, and aerators. With rocks and a waterfall it’s the perfect water feature except for one problem…lots of algae build up. I’m sure it’s a problem with smaller water features as well.


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