How to Build a Backyard Fountain for Your Garden or Patio for Under $65 Dollars

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Having a backyard fountain has significantly enhanced my enjoyment of being out in my garden. The sound of the water trickling in my pond is just beautiful to wake up to, and to hear while I working out back.

As you can see in our recent video (above) about this topic, a backyard fountain can really enhance your garden environment as well! 

The real appeal of a small fountain in my garden is multi-faceted: I enjoy the aesthetic presentation of the fountain, I like the sound it brings to the environment, and it will bring more birds to bathe in this area of my garden (which is great as I quite enjoy bird watching and taking photographs of them!).

As you can see, my garden serves two major purposes in my life:

  1.  It allows me to live a sustainable lifestyle as I can grow much of the food I eat. You can see in the background through much of the video some vegetables beginning to bloom! This is a huge reason to consider starting your own garden (if you have not), and expanding if you are already doing some part-time gardening already.
     
  2. It provides a space that I can go to relax and enjoy the outdoors. There is a certain comfort that comes from just being outside and enjoying nature. As a result of this, how the area is laid out is important to be as it is great when my garden looks good! This fountain in my garden ultimately meets this need quite well!
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Some quick things to know about running a fountain in your backyard:

  1. A backyard garden fountain is not a high cost device to run. At most, it only adds a few extra dollars to my electric bill.
     
  2. It will attract birds to your garden environment to use as a bird bath.
     
  3. Your family and friends will love it as much as you do!

What is Required to Build a Backyard Fountain?

Fortunately, setting up your backyard fountain is quite easy. It took about 2 hours from start to finish.

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Required Materials:

- Container Fountain Kit
- Mechanical Timer
- Plastic Tub (I used a 25 gallon round tub by Tuff Stuff Products)
- Bricks (or similar heavy device for elevating fountain pump)
- Assorted Flat Stone (optional)

Required Tools:

Please keep in mind that the specific tools you may need may vary depending on how you are setting up your fountain. As I am installing my tub in the ground, it requires a little bit more effort and energy to install. You can, however, install your garden fountain above ground. This is far easier if you do not have the ability to bury the plastic tub.

- Hammer
- Spade
- 1 Foot Torpedo Level
- 30” Level
- Hand Rake
- Measuring Tape
- Short 2x4 Wood
- Shovel
- Rake
- Stone Temper
- Wheelbarrow

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Installing a Backyard Fountain in a Raised Garden Bed:
 

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Remember: the specific dimensions will vary depending on the space you have available, the size of the tub, the size of your garden bed, or if you are installing your fountain in a different area (not in a raised garden bed, on your patio/deck). Additionally, as noted before, some installs will keep the plastic tub raised above the ground and will not require all of the planning and measurements as this has.

  1. Find the appropriate dimensions for installing your plastic tub. You can use a measuring tape to make this process easier.
     
  2. Dig out the soil using your shovel until the appropriate depth is reached.
     
  3. Use your hand rake to level the area where you will be placing the plastic tub. I use a stone tamper additional to compress the soil and help keep it level.
     
  4. Add stone to the base of the area you dug out. For my backyard garden fountain, I added about 2” of stone. The reason why this is important is because you want the plastic tub to rest on a good, solid surface. This will allow your backyard fountain to stay in the same position for years to come, without concern of the fountain shifting positions.
     
  5. Level the stone using the hand rake and stone temper as you did with the soil.
     
  6. Use the Torpedo level to verify that the stone is level. By doing this, you will assure that the plastic tub will sit at a level position, and as a result the water in the tub will be equally dispersed.
     
  7. Insert your plastic tub into the hole. I use a piece of 2x4 wood laid across the tub, then my level to verify that the tub is correctly leveled. As is shown in my video, I was able to discover that I needed to add some more stone to the base. This is a very important step that should not be overlooked, unless you want an off-level fountain!
     
  8. Once you are comfortable with how level your tub is, and the positioning in your raised garden bed (or in some other area of your yard, patio, or deck); proceed to fill the tub with water.
     
  9. Begin to fill the area surrounding your tub with soil. You can use your hand rake to pull some soil surrounding the tub (if applicable to your specific fountain area). You will also want to use your shovel to replenish the dirt that was initially removed.
     
  10. Use your stone temper to pat down some of the soil surrounding the edge of your plastic tub. It is important to have the soil as settled as possible in this area, just like at the base of the plastic tub!
     
  11. Now that the plastic tub is firmly in the ground, and the surrounding soil is in place, you can add flat stones around the perimeter of your tub to make it look more natural. Of course, this is not a requirement by any means, but it is something I like to do as it is more pleasing to the eye. You can opt not to do this, or can use some other media to hide the plastic edges.
     
  12. Add more water to your tub (if necessary). I bring it up to about 1” from the top of the tub.
     
  13. Install the Container Fountain Kit per the instructions provided. There may be some variation depending on the brand that you use. For my backyard garden fountain, I used a kit by SmartPond. One thing I like about this kit is that it has different nozzle options, which allows your backyard fountain to disperse the water in different ways.
     
  14. I recommend using bricks or a terracotta pot to elevate the fountain pump. You may have to play around with this to get it to your liking!

That’s it!!!

Installing a backyard fountain is really not too difficult, though it may seem daunting if you’re not used to doing projects of this scale. In just a few hours I was able to significantly transform the landscape of my garden to something quite relaxing and beautiful.

With a little bit of creativity, you can make your fountain really standout and be a centerpiece of your backyard. As you can see in my video, I went ahead and added some stones, logs, mulch, and flowers (I chose petunias for this project!) to really make it pop. At this point, you would hardly even take notice of the plastic tub. Of course, what pleases me may not please you, so if you find yourself putting in a backyard fountain, feel free to make it your own!

Be sure to let me know how this instructional video and article have worked for you. If there is a part about setting up a fountain you would like me to cover in more depth, it would be great to know as I plan to make more content like this in the future, and most importantly, would like it to be really usable and educational to help you make your garden come to life!

If you want to see the PSL Team create another larger backyard water fountain using the instructions provided by Farmer Fred in this article and video, be sure to check out: How To Install a Backyard Water Fountain for Under $150 Dollars.
 

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