How to build a water featureWater is frequently cited as a healing feature of human life. We long to be near water and look jealously at those who live close to the ocean and lakes.

Adding water to your backyard garden can be intimidating, but in just a weekend, it’s possible to bring the calming effects of running water into a small space even if you have few handyman skills.

Building a small water feature gets easier by having the right materials. You’ll need:

  • a small fountain pump
  • a perforated plastic pond liner
  • a plastic outdoor fountain piece
  • builder’s sand to help level easier
  • decorative materials such as rocks and plants

The Pump

Finding the right pump usually means that the pump displaces the water 1/2 to 1 time every hour. If your pond holds 240 gallons of water, then the pump should be at least 120 gallons per hour.

If you stick to a small liner, then the choice of the pump shouldn’t be too complicated. Going larger means finding a larger pump, but most materials found at the hardware store are suited to these water features.

The Liner

Buying a pre-made liner should give you the number of gallons. If you decide to construct your own liner, you’ll have to know how to calculate cubic volume. For rectangular liners, multiply length, width, and depth in feet. For circular liners, multiple 3.14 times depth in feet. There are 7.5 gallons of water in each cubic foot, so multiply that times your total to get the total number of gallons your chosen liner will hold.

The Fountain

You can buy one pre-made, or you can drill a hole in something to accommodate the tubing for the pump. Make sure you take precautions when drilling into materials by using eye protection and checking the directions on your tools.

Prep Work

Make sure before you dig to find out if any major utility lines are running under the site. Disrupting your gas line can cause you a major headache and ruin your weekend plans.

Also, make sure that there is a suitable power supply easily accessible to the location you choose. If there isn’t, then calling an electrician to install one isn’t difficult.


Building the Water Feature

Once these things are in place, the first thing to do is to dig your hole. You should dig just a few centimeters deeper than your liner and fill the bottom with sand so that you can level it efficiently.

Place the liner in the hole and check the level. If it isn’t level, just pull the liner out and adjust the sand until it sits level.

Place your water structure in the liner, keeping the pump electrical end over by the outlet so that it will stay dry. Fill the liner with water and situate the pump and structure wherever you like inside the liner. Turn the pump on following the directions from the manufacturer and check all the placements.

You don’t want too much of the water to splash towards the sides because this displaces water faster. You’ll just have to fill the liner up more often. As the pump is running, continue to adjust the placement of the water feature until the least amount of water as possible splashes out.


Once everything is adjusted, you can decorate. Small rocks in the bottom hide the appearance of the liner. Larger stones placed around the rim of the liner help it to look like a natural occurrence.

You can also plant around the edges of the liner. Be sure to plant things that won’t become too overgrown, or that have large roots that will poke through the liner. You can also research plants that go directly in the water and how to care for those.

The plants you choose will depend on how much sunlight your water feature receives during the day. There is a broad range of plants with differing sunlight needs, so be sure to choose based on where your water feature is located.

When to Call the Experts

If it seems too overwhelming to build this kind of garden feature, there’s nothing wrong with calling in some experts. What might take you days to figure out can be done much more quickly by those who know exactly what to do.

Sometimes it’s best to call a Erie landscaping contractor and let them worry about the details. Don King Landscaping can help you install a garden focal point and then return season after season to assist you with your landscaping as you transition from summer to fall.

Beautiful landscaping requires time and effort. You can do it yourself, but having a Longmont landscaping contractor with the right experience and knowledge to properly care for your landscaping and lawn can remove a huge weight from your mind. Don King Landscaping is happy to help your lawn and garden grow with you.

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