How to Build an Outdoor Fountain/Water Feature

Looking for a unique yet easy-to-create feature that will add some personality to your backyard? Consider building an outdoor fountain. There are many types and styles of outdoor fountains, most of which can be constructed by your average DIYer. Here’s how to build an outdoor fountain/water feature.

What Tools Do You Need?

Before starting your outdoor fountain, you’ll need these tools:

While it’s relatively easy to install a fountain, you’ll need some intermediate DIY skills to construct it. Expect to spend about one or two days putting it together. How much does it cost to build an outdoor water fountain? You can get a good model for as little as $500. Of course, the exact cost will depend on how detailed and intricate you make your homemade fountain.

Different Types of Materials You Can Use

The best part of choosing to build your own outdoor fountain is that you can make it from different materials. You should first decide on the material for the main feature of the fountain. It could be made from stone, metal bowls, or flowerpots.

To make a simple homemade fountain, you’ll need the following materials:

You can make a natural, eye-catching outdoor fountain using a large stone. With a pump installed underneath the stone, your fountain will recirculate water and operate in an environmentally sustainable way.

The benefits of building a water feature include having an element in your yard that will attract wildlife like birds and bees. Pollinators like bees need a source of water to keep doing their jobs. With a fountain, you’ll help keep the bees in your area healthy and hydrated.

Build an Outdoor Fountain Step by Step

Can you build your own fountain? With the right tools, a free weekend, and a bit of resolve, you can build your own fountain and have fun doing it. If you’re using a stone, you can use almost any kind of stone except for petrified wood.

Designing the Fountain

Before buying a stone or the fountain base, decide where you want to install the fountain, and measure out the space. If the space is narrow, search for a stone that’s tall and slim. If you have more room available, then a wide stone may suit the space better.

If you don’t want to use a stone, consider purchasing outdoor fountain materials from metal or another material. A variety of premade options are available, and you can always customize your fountain so that it complements your barbecue area or any other outdoor feature.

Ready the Tools and Materials

If you’re planning to use stone, rent a rotary hammer drill with a masonry bit that measures 1-inch in diameter. Drilling the stone yourself could take just a few minutes. The time it takes will depend on the hardness and thickness level of the stone. The drilling process is loud, so protect your hearing by wearing earplugs. You should wear eye protection as well.

When you begin drilling, don’t force it. Allow the hammer’s weight to do the hard part. Remove the bit from the stone about every inch to eliminate the dust. If you’ve selected a round stone, be sure to stabilize it before you start drilling the hole.

Prepare the Base

Take a rope and use it to form a natural-looking border for the basin and the base. Keep in mind that if you decide to build a large fountain area, then you’ll have to do more digging. This means that it might take you more than one weekend to build your fountain.

Once you have the layout of your fountain arranged to your satisfaction, mark the edges of it using spray paint. Start the project by digging out the reservoir. Be sure to dig the deepest section of the fountain’s hole to include steep sides and an even bottom that has enough room for the pails.

Place some old carpet in the bottom of the hole. Next, add the liner. Lay the liner so that it rests against the hole’s contours and ground variations.

Install the Water System

Once the liner is in place, drill four half-inch holes in the middle and at the bottom and top of each pail. Place the lids on the pails and set them into your fountain hole.

The reason for the pond liner is to prevent the waterproof liner from developing punctures and leaking out fountain water. The liner won’t provide complete protection, though, so be sure to cut off any roots that are present and remove sharp stones.

Cut the rim away from the pump bucket. Then, cut off and fold a section of the flap toward the top to create space for the fountain’s water line and its electrical cable.

With a spade bit, drill drain holes in each pail. Add an inch or two of gravel backfill around the pails. Set the pump pail on top. Make sure that the top of the pail is level with the grade, but you should only fill the gravel in until it’s about 2 inches under the grade. When you begin backfilling, the pails will want to move around. Hold the pails down with one of your feet as you shovel until you have a few inches of gravel around each pail base.

Attach the water line and the pump. Then, direct it toward the location of the fountain. Be sure to avoid the area where you intend to place the stone.

You’ll need a hose clamp to connect the water line and the adapter. The next step is to attach the elbow and the adapter. Measure and cut the water line. You’re now ready to connect the fountain fittings. Apply silicone sealant to the elbow to protect it, and place the fittings inside the hole.

Test the Mechanism

To test the mechanism, fill the basin with fountain water and activate the pump. Wedge the stones as needed. Then, use pond foam to fill in the areas around the stones. This will keep them from moving around later.

Consider buying a water pump that will pump 300 gallons per hour (gph). This will give you plenty of water flow for a stone water fountain. If you want your fountain to operate at more of a trickle, then buy a pump that will pump 200 gph. You can also install a restrictor valve on the pump. This device will let you modify how much water is flowing out.

A low-voltage pump is safer, and the wiring will be easier for you to install. Plan to bury the pump cable down about an inch. If you decide to get a standard 120-volt pump, you might have to put in an application for an electrical permit. You will also need to bury the wire deeper.


Decorate the fountain with potted plants and perimeter-edging stones. Trim away any overhanging liner and extra pads. Make them even with the edge of the hole. You can also decorate the edge of the fountain with lawn ornaments or solar-powered lights.

Get All You Need at True Value

When you build a water fountain, you’ll have an outdoor water feature that will enhance your outdoor spaces. You can purchase everything that you need to construct your fountain from a True Value store. Click here to find a store near you.