ceramic white bowl filled with smooth black and green pebbles with water fountain

22 DIY Water Features — Outdoor Ideas

Originally contributed by • last updated 5/7/2021

Patti Estep
Hearth and Vine

The calming sounds of burbling water features are peaceful additions to any garden oasis. Whether you place them indoors or outdoors – they’re an easy way to bring tranquility and relaxation to your home. 

Unfortunately, buying new can be expensive. Luckily, there are hundreds of alternative DIY water feature ideas you can build yourself without breaking the bank! 

To help inspire you, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite DIY tutorials to really get your water wheels turning. I think my favorite is probably #17, the “Water Pump Fountain”!


Three Tiered Garden Fountain


You’d never guess that this three-tiered water feature is actually an upcycled DIY made from mismatched parts. 

Collecting miscellaneous items from a thrift shop including an old wooden table, three serving trays, a vase, and a pond liner, Mertin from Instructables threw them all together to create this stunning DIY outdoor water feature.


Bamboo Fountain

saf affect

Bamboo stalks have been used as makeshift water pipes for hundreds of years. Removing the pulpy center from a stalk leaves you with the perfect tube — making it great for DIY water feature ideas!

Susan from Saf Affect put together the cutest little fountain DIY that's perfect for indoor and outdoor spaces.

Having only a small balcony space to work with, they made use of a small bowl, bamboo stalks, a pump, and some twine to create a simple (yet lovely) trickling water feature. I know, should it really be that simple?


Bird Bath Fountain

When deciding to build an outdoor water fountain into your garden, why not also have it double as a birdbath?

The Family Handyman has put together a great lesson on how to build a DIY garden fountain with only a few parts.

Using a bagged concrete mix and handmade molds, the fountain is built entirely from scratch, including a full water tub that's hidden beneath the ground.


Planter Fountain

Tatertots and Jello

There are so many beautiful ceramic planters out there, so why not show them off for more than just plants?

Tatertots and Jello has created a lesson for a simple yet gorgeous recirculating fountain that looks great beside a patio or walkway.

As with most fountains, you need to start by burying a water tank beneath the ground. (Which in this case is just a simple bucket from Lowes.)


Miniature Grass Fountain

Outdoor water features don't just have to sit amongst your plants, they can also incorporate them into their design!

Very similar to some of the fountains we've already looked at, this design uses a beautiful ceramic planter with a recirculating pump and pebbles.

Going one step further than that, it is then filled with a layer of sand to hold the roots of a variety of hardy water grasses. Not only is the design cross-functioning, but the plant life place inside it makes it look just as wonderful as it sounds.


Two-Tiered Potted Fountain

Riding on that ceramic planter train, this DIY water feature idea takes things to the next level (literally).

Building upon the same designs we've already seen, this two-tiered fountain DIY stacks two different pots on top of each other to up the visual interest ante.

This fountain has a hidden water tank inside the lower ceramic pot, making it a great option for porches, balconies, or decks.


Bubbling Fountain DIY

Today's Creative Life

This cute bubbling fountain DIY from Today's Creative Life is just as happy sitting inside your home as it is outside in your garden.

Pint-sized and simple, the fountain makes use of an upcycled diffuser and a small bowl, recirculating the water for a continuous stream.


Disappearing Fountain


In previous designs we've seen where a water tank is buried underground, but what if the whole fountain structure was buried?

Looking like a natural geyser, this DIY outdoor water feature from DenVogel is unassuming yet remarkable.

Filling a shallow pit with stones, the water fountain comes spraying out the center, gushing onto the rocks to create a noticeable splashing sound.


Three-Tiered Flower Pot Fountain

So now we've seen the single ceramic planter and the two-tiered fountain, but what about combining those ideas and creating a three-tiered water feature?

Following the design principle 'the rule of thirds', things just seem to look better when they're grouped in odd numbers.


Indoor Waterfall Fountain

Stepping away from all of these great DIY outdoor water features, let's take a look at a beautiful indoor fountain DIY!

Playing with homemade molds again, M Garden on YouTube mixes sand, water, and cement to make completely personalized fountain parts. The result is a beautiful, antique-looking desk fountain with a double waterfall spout, multiple tiers, stones, and artificial plants.

It's fun, affordable, and made entirely from scratch!


Indoor Rainfall Fountain

Bringing the rain inside, this next indoor water feature is actually made using mainly styrofoam!

YouTuber D2H walks viewers through their ingenious fountain DIY, cutting the 'stone' frame out of four layers of styrofoam, leaving room for the water pump within.

Then, using a mixture of cement, water, and sand, they brush a thin coating of concrete over the surface, giving the fountain texture, strength, and a waterproof seal.


Rain Chain Water Feature

If you prefer that the rain stays outside instead of in, why not try making your own rain chain water feature?

If the rain is going to pour no matter what you do, use it to your advantage and hang a chain of cups from your eaves!

Hunker uses a pre-made rain chain, but you could even link a set of matching flower tea lights (candles removed) together and make your own DIY version!

Capturing the water in a lined wine barrel, they allow the rainwater to feed into a miniature pond full of lovely plants.

To prevent mosquito larvae from hatching, they've also installed a mosquito ring, which we recommend using with any freestanding water feature.


Recirculating Water Fountain

Here's yet another great DIY tutorial for a two-tiered water fountain, but instead of using planters, it's made out of wine barrels!

Instead of sitting directly within the rocks of the bottom barrel, the pump is actually protected within a smaller, hidden barrel. This allows you to use less water and fewer rocks, while still holding on to that great pyramidal shape!


Terra-Cotta Pot Fountain

A stunning use of upcycled terra cotta planters, The WHOot's simple DIY is perfect for any outdoor or indoor table.

A pipe hole is drilled into the base of the pot to make room for the fountain pump. A hose is fed through the hole, and then water is circulated through the fountain, waterfalling down staggered platforms only to be scooped back up to go again.


Sculptured Stacked Rock Fountain

Did you know you can drill through stone? Stack your chosen river rocks on top of each other, mark the middles of each, and use a hammer drill to make a hole right through the pile (one at a time, of course).

Next, feed a copper pipe through the center of the rocks to connect to your pump.

Bury a small tub underground to use as a reservoir and fill it up with water, placing the pump inside. Finally, connect the pump to the pipe and set the rock fountain into place. 

Then just like that, turn the fountain on, close your eyes, and enjoy the quiet sounds of a peaceful life!


Easy Indoor Fountain DIY

Patti Estep
Hearth and Vine

Do you have a bowl to spare? Here's a dish you might not want to eat (but will definitely want to listen to).

If all you're looking for is a simple DIY water feature idea for your desk, Hearth & Vine has the perfect project for you.

Easier than almost any DIY on the list, you can make this fountain in minutes. Plunk your fountain pump into the bowl, turn it on, and start listening to calming babbling sounds before you even know what hit you.


Water Pump Fountain

Heading back outside with the rest of your plants, GAP Gardens' water pump fountain combines antique charm with upcycled ingenuity.

Refurbishing an old water pump into... well, a water pump, this DIY water feature looks positively gorgeous amongst green bushes and plants.


Small Flower Vase Fountain

If you already have a tranquil garden pond, why not add the calming sounds of a waterfall?

Using the same technique the previous DIYs used, drill a hole through the rocks and the ceramic jug. Then just feed a pump and hose through the hole and bam! A simple flower vase is instantly transformed into a beautiful DIY outdoor water feature!


Solar Fountain And Bird Bath DIY

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? Flower Patch Farmhouse says there's no reason why you can't have a pond, fountain, and birdbath-in-one.

This simple DIY water feature idea fits perfectly in the heart of your garden, surrounded by large bushes, plants, and foliage. Powered by the sun, the pump and fountain combo include a tall shower of sprinkly water, that fills the slanted birdbath as it falls.


Large Terra-Cotta Planter Fountain

It's 'go big or go home' with this large terra-cotta planter fountain!

Demonstrating the same drilling technique we talked about earlier, the video by Better Homes and Gardens shows how soaking clay in water overnight makes it soft enough to drill without cracking.


Tin Basin And Watering Can Fountain

We do love ourselves some upcycled tin basins! On top of that, what pairs better with gardening than an old tin watering can?

Instead of burying the hose in this DIY outdoor water feature, a long tube feeds up the length of the wall, obscured by vines.


Backyard Waterfall And Stream DIY

Okay, so we've built fountains and baths, but how about a multi-level forest river?

Granted, building an entire waterfall and stream in your backyard is quite the landscaping endeavor. But with the help of Family Handyman, their detailed guide makes it seem more possible than ever before.

DIY water feature ideas don't have to be hard, and they don't have to be expensive. If there's anything this list showed, it's that they're actually more within your reach than you'd have previously thought.

There are so many studies showing the calming effects the sounds of water can have, so don't you think it's time you treated yourself?

Create the zen garden oasis of your dreams, and close your eyes to the soothing sounds of burbling, babbling water.