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How to make a water feature

Water features can add a special touch to a garden, providing a calming atmosphere or a dramatic display to enjoy. In this guide, we look at how to make a water feature for your own garden.

Water features can add a special touch to a garden, providing a calming atmosphere or a dramatic display to enjoy. In this guide, we look at how to make a water feature for your own garden.

Nowadays there are a huge range of water features to choose from and we’ll show you some of the most popular, including how to make a water feature out of a pot. If you need inspiration before you start then why not check out our water feature ideas

To plan a budget for your water feature project, you can check out our guide to water feature costs.

4 top tips for how to build a water feature

When you’re planning to make your own water feature, the exact process will depend on the type of water feature you want. Here are a few tips to help you, no matter which type of feature you choose:

1. Choose the best location

Water feature with ceramic fountainPicking the right spot in your garden for your water feature is an important decision. You want it to fit in with the surroundings, and often features look best amongst plants. Also, consider things like trees – if it’s under a tree it will need more maintenance to clean out leaves, etc.

2. Decide what supplies your water feature will need

Will you need a pump? Is there an electricity supply available? Will you need a water supply? Some water features can be self-contained without needing a water supply, and solar-powered features won’t need electricity. But some may need both, so it’s worth deciding what needs your water feature will have before you start.

3. Pick an appropriate style for your feature

Do you want a modern or traditional look to your water feature? Funnily enough, modern water features made from glass or steel tend to look good in any garden. On the other hand, traditional water features can look a little out of place in slick, modern gardens.

4. Plan lighting for your water feature

Lighting is a key element if you want to enjoy your water feature day and night. Uplighting can work really well for many water features, others look best with a built-in downlight.

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How to make a water feature out of a pot

Water feature using round potUsing a plant pot is one of the simplest ways to make your own water feature. Here’s a quick guide for how to make a water feature out of a pot:

  1. Take a submersible water pump and place it in a large plant pot (at least 24 inches in diameter)
  2. Feed the electrical wire through the pot’s drainage hole leaving some slack within the pot to elevate the pump later
  3. Close the drainage hole with premixed, quick-drying cement, or an alternative water-tight filler
  4. Seal the entire inside of the pot with a liquid water sealant suitable for the material of your plant pot, and leave to dry
  5. Elevate the pump either using bricks or blocks so that it will be positioning just below the surface of the water when the pot is full
  6. Fill the pot with water, ensuring the water level is above the pump, and connect the pump to the power supply (if the pump isn’t solar-powered)

How to make a floating tap water feature

One of the magical water features is what’s called a floating tap water feature. If you’ve not seen one, it looks like a tap is floating in mid-air with water flowing out of it. We’re about to let you in on the secret of how to make a floating tap water feature…

Tools you’ll need:

  • Water tap in your preferred style (not too heavy)
  • Waterproof bucket
  • Water pump (either mains or solar-powered)
  • Epoxy modelling clay
  • Colourless acrylic pipe (diameter to fit the water pump opening)
  • Silicon glue
  • Large decorative stones
  • Drill with a compass saw attachment
  • Gloves

Make your own floating tap water feature

  1. Drill a hole in the bucket large enough to feed your water pump plug through
  2. Place your electric pump inside the bucket and feed the electrical cable through, fixing it in place (suction cups are often a good option)
  3. Seal the hole around the pump cable with the water-resistant epoxy modelling clay (inside and out) and leave it to harden – use gloves for this part
  4. Fix the tap to the top of the acrylic pipe at a slight angle using silicon glue – the angle will allow the water to flow up and out of the top of the pipe
  5. Attach the colourless acrylic pipe onto the opening of your water pump and fix it in place
  6. Fill the bucket with the decorative stones and then add water
  7. Turn on the pump (connect to mains supply first, if needed) and, hey presto, you have a magical floating tap water feature
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How to make a pebble water feature

Building a pebble fountain is another very popular water feature in the UK, and it’s relatively simple to do. Here’s our quick guide for how to make a pebble water feature:

Water feature rockeryTools you’ll need:

  • Pebble pool sump and lid
  • Water pump, including fountainhead (mains supply or solar-powered)
  • Clean pebbles
  • Spade (to dig a hole)
  • Building sand

Make your own pebble water feature

  1. Dig a hole where you want your pebble water feature to be, using your sump as a guide for the size and shape of the hole you’ll need – dig slightly deeper than the sump
  2. Add a layer of building sand to the bottom of the hole to create a base for the sump to sit on and place the sump on the sand
  3. Position your pump in the empty sump and run the power cable to the power source (if not solar-powered)
  4. Add the fountainhead and put the pebble pool lid in place and fill with water
  5. Test the pump and adjust the spray settings, if needed
  6. Add pebbles to your water feature, once you know the pump is working properly, and turn the pump on

How to make a water feature without a pump

If you’d rather not have the hassle of using a pump for your feature, you can build your own gravity-powered water feature. Gravity fountains date back to 4,000BC and the principle of using gravity is how the Romans transported water.

A gravity fountain water feature works by moving water through multiple chambers using a combination of gravity and pressure.

Creating a gravity water feature can be a little tricky, so it’s worth speaking to a local water feature specialist for their advice and guidance.

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Looking for garden feature inspiration?

Water features aren’t the only way to enhance your garden. Check out these guides for other ways to add a wow factor to your outside space:


How do you make a mini water feature?

Small water featureMaking your own mini water feature is the same principle as any other water feature, only on a smaller scale. The best small water features are water gardens, fountains and small bowl features.

Can you have a water feature without a pump?

You can indeed. They’re less common, but gravity-fed water features use the power of gravity and pressure to move water in a continuous flow.

How do you make a simple homemade fountain?

Here’s our quick guide to creating your own simple homemade fountain:

  1. Take a large bucket or waterproof container
  2. If using a bucket, drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket
  3. Fit the water pump and thread the power cable through the drainage hole
  4. Seal off the power cable hole (and any other drainage holes)
  5. Position the pump in place so that it will be just below the water level and connect to the power supply, if needed
  6. Fill the bucket or container with water
  7. Turn on the pump

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