A Garden Fountain That Whispers Water{17}

gemini Anna at the fountain

My lovely friend Anna strikes a classic Gemini pose for this cheeky Aquarian, courtesy of a little photo trickery.

As a card-carrying Aquarian (a.k.a. the water bearer), I take my garden fountain seriously, always fine-tuning and perfecting its placement and performance for both the ear and the eye. It has to look good and sound good. So after a couple clumsy substitutions and iterations, my fountain was due for an overhaul, an aesthetic upgrade that would delight me at every turn, and not require me to shield my face, cover my ears and shake my head.

My first DIY garden fountain, created at my former Seattle home from a salvaged porcelain Chinese jardiniere. I bit fancy for the backyard, but I loved it nonetheless.

A polar vortex several years ago took out my favorite fountain piece, creating hairline cracks throughout the stately vessel’s body. The first thaw quickly revealed the damage from an unrepentant hard freeze, compromising the urn into a pile of toothy shards. So I fashioned some lesser vessels over time until I could find the perfect urn to restore and celebrate the sound and presence of rippling, rushing, dancing water.

terra cotta garden fountain

When I moved, I replaced the jardiniere with a more rustic pot, and carted the jardiniere to Vashon Island.

I did find a classically-shape large vessel to crown the fountain basin, but its sheer size and weight peppered with my passing procrastination kept the behemoth on its side in the shade of a failing peach tree for over two years. If I had a nickle for every time I said, “I’ve got to get that thing running again.” I could have afforded a lesser version of the Trevi fountain.

garden urn

The garden vessel endured for several years before the big freeze took it out.

Two hollow bamboo reeds drew water gently away from the vessel, creating a most pleasing and gentle sound. The smooth flat rocks were found on my property, courtesy of a generous glacier.


classic garden fountain urn

New vessel, new day for water music in the garden.

I’m happy to report the big guy was installed and placed prominently in the garden by this big guy, and I wish I would have done it sooner as the sound of water is as much a part of my garden as flowers, ferns, and mossy rocks. I’m still pondering how I’ll landscape the area, refreshing it with a new planting scheme that frames the urn in an artful way. Though I must say, weeds and neglect aren’t bad looking when a fountain’s holding center court.

diy garden fountain sketch

My little DIY sketch about how the fountain works. See the video below for more detail.

I shot a little video of how my current fountain came to be, how this water-bearer of purposeful intent got a very large urn upright, steady, filled with water, and set up to sing its song with effortless regularity. Click the photo below to watch.

My DIY Fountain Video

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and look at how I built my garden fountain. It’s a dreamy addition to the garden, especially paired with a playful bulldog, comfy hammock and happy Aquarian. Garden on friends, garden on!