Magazine article Sunset

A Little Water Music: This Small Fountain Can Fill a Garden with the Soothing Sounds of Trickling Water

Magazine article Sunset

A Little Water Music: This Small Fountain Can Fill a Garden with the Soothing Sounds of Trickling Water

Article excerpt

"A garden without water is like a theater without a stage," says English garden designer Rosemary Verey. But you don't need a huge pond to bring water to your garden. The fountain shown here is elegant enough to enhance a formal patio or leafy garden corner. It's easy to make from readily available materials. It's also a bath for birds.

To landscape architect Richard William Wogisch, who designed the fountain, the sight of falling water "adds motion and life to a garden." And when that water is just a quiet trickle, its melodious sound is also very soothing. Quiet trickles don't splash either - a plus on a wood deck or patio.

A low terra-cotta bowl forms the fountain's base and catches the falling water. A terra-cotta azalea pot (a container that's wider than it is tall) is inverted in the bottom of the bowl to support a strawberry pot and hide the recirculating pump. Water is pumped up through clear tubing inside the strawberry pot, gurgles out into a saucer on its top, and drips lightly over the saucer's rim into the low bowl.


1. Seal terra-cotta pots. Brush sealer on the inside of the low terra-cotta bowl, and on the inside and outside of the strawberry pot and the terra-cotta saucer. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

2. Drill holes, file slit. Drill four to six evenly spaced holes around and just below the 2-inch lip of the azalea pot. Also drill a hole in the center of the terra-cotta saucer. Using the round file, file a small notch in the lip of the azalea pot (for the submersible-pump cord).

3. Install brass fittings. Attach the barbed hose fitting to the vinyl tubing, and insert the threaded end through the hole in the terra-cotta saucer. Screw the bell reducer to the threaded end protruding through the saucer and attach the nipple to the bell reducer. Trim the hose to 14 inches.

4. Install saucers. Apply a band of waterproof adhesive to the bottom outside edge of the plastic saucer. Place the saucer in the bottom of the low bowl (it will fit snugly), level it, and weight it down with the bag of river rock.

Set the terra-cotta saucer in the strawberry pot's top, and insert the vinyl tubing through the bottom of the strawberry pot. Lift the saucer up slightly and apply adhesive to the base of the outer rim of the saucer; reset it in the strawberry pot opening. Allow both saucers to dry overnight.

5. Assemble the fountain. The next day, move all of the materials to the area where the fountain will be permanently positioned. Apply a bead of silicone sealer between the strawberry pot and the terra-cotta saucer to ensure that water doesn't seep through the crack. …

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