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  • Writer's pictureVicki Liston

Customizable Three-Tiered Fountain

Water features are a favorite outdoor project. But why have a fountain that looks like everyone else’s? Make this three tiered fountain and customize it to reflect your décor, an upcoming holiday, or even your favorite hobby.

You’ll need: (affiliate link proceeds are donated to no-kill animal shelters and rescue organizations)

* 3 planters in different sizes – a small, medium, and large planter.

* 3 saucers – also in small, medium, and large. These are sturdy and will sit down in the planter an inch or two and not fall in further.

* Spray paint and a drop cloth. Make sure the spray paint is rated for exterior use. I'm using Rust-Oleum's Perfect Gray and Oil Rubbed Bronze.

* You might also need some electrical tape

* A fountain pump and nozzles – Make sure the pump is rated to pump higher than your total fountain height. I have a couple of nozzle options so I can change the water spray pattern.

* A unique item for the topper and filler for the saucers – I’m going to show you two options - a hard plastic figurine and legos and a repurposed iron sconce and landscaping rocks.

First, spray paint your planters and saucers over the drop cloth. I’m using ‘Perfect Gray’ for the large and small planters and saucers and a contrasting metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze for the medium planter and saucer. Allow to fully dry.

Next, use the marine epoxy to seal all of the holes in your large planter. If your medium and small planters have multiple or off-center holes, seal them as well. Make sure you use protective gloves to keep the epoxy from touching your skin and let it dry according to the directions.

Use your drill and the larger bit to make holes dead center in the small and medium planters as well as all of the saucers. If your planters and saucers don’t already have markings to show the middle, use the measuring tape to determine the middle before drilling. You will also need to make drainage holes in the large saucer so use the smaller drill bit for that.

Attach one end of the plastic tubing to the fountain pump.

Then, place the pump at the bottom of your large planter.

Feed the tubing up through the hole in the large saucer and place the saucer on top.

Feed the tubing through the medium planter and place that on the middle of the large saucer.

Next add the medium saucer.

Then the small planter.

And finally, the small saucer.

Make sure all of the saucers are sitting level in the planters. And because these saucers are strong and sturdy, they can hold the weight of the planters above so I don’t need anything underneath for support. However, if you do find that you need a little extra support, you can use an upside-down bucket or bricks. Make sure you either drill through or place this extra support so it doesn’t get in the way of the plastic tubing.

Now for the fun part… how do you want to customize your fountain? I’ve picked two to show you.

Whatever your choice, ensure you cut enough slack in the top of the plastic tubing for changing out the toppers. You can always push the excess down into the fountain a bit as needed.

To make the topper, use an item’s existing hole or drill one where your tubing will go. My sconce has a hole already so I’m taking advantage of that.

For my hard plastic figurine, I actually started with the smaller bit I used to make the saucer drainage holes in order to make a small pilot hole in the plastic. Then I increased the bit size to make the hole larger and larger until my tubing fit through it. Pliable plastic pieces are easiest to work with but you can use hard plastic, thin metal, or even glass or ceramic. If you have a glass or ceramic piece, use a diamond bit specifically rated for those materials and use water appropriately so the item doesn’t break.

Run your plastic tubing up through the piece and position where you want your water to spray out.

Leave a short amount of tubing sticking up out of your piece and add your fountain nozzle of choice on the top. If the nozzle doesn’t sit snug on the tubing, use electrical tape to add some bulk until the nozzle is nice and tight.

Once you have your topper tubed and ready, add filler to all of the levels so you don’t see the saucers.

Fill the bottom planter with water but also fill the small and medium tiers so they spill over from one level to the next in a cascade effect. The water should fill and spill from the top, then fill and spill from the middle. The water will drain through the holes in the bottom saucer and into the bottom planter, allowing the pump to cycle it back up again to the top.

For the Lego version, I’ve got the fountain set on ‘low’. I want to keep the cascade to a gentle trickle since Legos float and I don’t want them spilling over.

Watch the step-by-step video tutorial here:

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