Introduction: Toilet Powered Deodorant Zen Garden

Picture of Toilet Powered Deodorant Zen Garden
I wanted to use the water pressure in a toilet basin to power a tiny waterfall effect in a zen garden that could grow plants with minimal effort. Since I love plants, but I hate maintenance, this project removes the need to regularly water your garden so long as you regularly flush the toilet. :) If you use plants with a natural perfume, you also eliminate the need for deodorant products for the bathroom, which come in all sorts of nasty formats like aerosol cans and disposable plastic diffusers. This project can be modified to suit your needs or your available materials.



If you enjoy this project, please remember to vote for me for the Epilog Challenge. Thank you!

Here are the materials you will need:

- rectangular planting pot
- rocks for drainage
- plastic tubing
- plants
- decorative rocks
- shallow plastic dish
- aquarium rocks (optional)
- drill
- glue gun
- waterproof (kitchen/bathroom) silicone

When selecting your tubing, you will want to chose a size that will fit snuggly over the tube that supplies the water in your toilet basin.

Step 1: Prepare the Container

Picture of Prepare the Container

The concept of this self watering garden is simple. When you flush the toilet, water is added to the container. When a certain amount of water has filed the container, there is an overflow tube which redirects all further water back into the toilet basin. To create this overflow tube, simply drill a hole 1/2 way up the side of the planter with a drill, insert your tube, and seal around the tube with waterproof silicone. Allow 24 hours for the silicone to completely dry and cure. After the 24 hours, test that your overflow tube is properly sealed by running low-pressure tap water into your planter and watch the water overflow from your tube to the sink. If there are no leaks, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Prepare Bottom Half of Planter

Picture of Prepare Bottom Half of Planter

Place a small amount of gravel in the bottom of your planter, then place a shallow plastic container where you want your waterfall to flow into. Place more gravel around the dish until the gravel is over the overflow tube outlet. You can optionally add colored aquarium gravel (or any other type of stone) in the plastic container to create your pool effect. I chose blue aquarium stone (not shown in this picture) to give a water effect.

Step 3: Add Plants and Soil

Picture of Add Plants and Soil

Decide where you want to lay your plants and/or moss. Moisten some soil in a bucket so that the soil is easier to work with. Add a thin (1/2 inch) layer of soil over your gravel and add your plants. Pack the soil tightly around the plants to help support them. Over time the plants will develop roots which will reach into the drainage area for water. This creates a system similar to hydroponic growing -- as the water rushes out the overflow tube, the roots are oxygenated and allow for quick growth. The soil layer offers the plants some needed nutrients.

Step 4: Create Your Waterfall Effect

Picture of Create Your Waterfall Effect

You can find some "pretty" rocks near the ocean, but if you don't live near the coast you can buy decorative stones at your local nursery store, hardware store or even ikea. Using a glue gun, stack and glue several stones together to create elevation for your waterfall effect. On this stack of stones, glue a tube which will act as your intake tube and glue more stones on top. Aim the tube towards the container dish we previously installed, this will act as a pool.

Step 5: Connect to Your Toilet

Picture of Connect to Your Toilet

Remove the cover from the basin of your toilet and connect your intake tube to the tube that feeds the water to your toilet. Direct the overflow tube (the one you drilled into the planter) back into the toilet basin. The water will now travel into your planter and overflow back into toilet, completing the loop. My toilet has 2 "grooves" which allow the intake and overflow tubes to access the basin without further modifications. If your toilet is not equipped like this, you may need to raise the basin cover to allow the tubes to enter/exit. Flush and enjoy a perpetually watered garden. If you chose plants with perfumes, like thyme or other herbs, you'll also be eliminating the need for artificial perfumes.

Take a seat and zen out.

If you enjoy this project, please remember to vote for me for the Epilog Challenge. Thank you!

Comments

calikoala (author)2010-04-08

the water line that normally fills the bowl is redirected to water the plant, but mine has a very high rate of flow, how are you controlling it to get a trickle and not a blasting stream!

SandLizard (author)calikoala2012-05-20

It looks like he connected directly to the hose that fills the toilet tank. He must not have high pressure going in. Those of us that have high pressure will probably have to find a way to divert only some of the water or this will fall apart. The pressure entering both of my toilet tanks would cause the tube to blast right out of the rocks of the water and spray the water all over the bathroom.

Some sort of diverter might work for us.

Great 'ible.

adamdhall (author)2012-03-22

AWESOME!!!! I modified this design and will post pictures... Thank you for the creativity and dedication to Instructables! Also, we have a cabinet above our toilet so I am installing a under cabinet grow light for a small flowerbed!

ramospk (author)2012-01-05

Oh, and make sure you leave enough extra plastic tubing tucked behind the basin.

Occasionally, we need to open up the basin to do some work, and when you do that, you don't want to have to pull apart the whole assembly!

ramospk (author)2012-01-05

The whole connection into the toilet mechanism is not clear. You missed a couple of pictures to better understand this part of the process. (Or did I miss them?)

Also, if the water comes to the waterfall and into the plastic container, how does it get to the plants roots? Is the plastic container supposed to overflow into the clay pot?

timntek (author)2010-11-05

What're the plants

porcupinemamma (author)2010-07-19

I looked at your Instructable again , and it it such a beautiful creation-just wondering...do the plants end up getting over watered?

dlfynrdr (author)2009-07-02

I love this idea, I really do, so don't take this the wrong way. What about light? Most bathrooms, including mine, are usually the darkest room in the house. that's not a good environment for most plants, especially herbs

writerlady (author)dlfynrdr2009-08-13

that was my thought too. How well do your plants do, or is there a large window in your bathroom. I love this idea, and would like to incorporate it into my low-light room. Also, what plants would be the best for this?

artworker (author)writerlady2010-05-30

Ferns are the best to grow in low light areas. The humidity of bathroom is also gr8 for the growth. I have a fern in my bathroom and it grows fine. having a new shoot every week. I am planning to incorporate this project with my fernie! For more information see Here.

RelientOwl (author)2010-05-11
Forgive me,but how then does the water pump upwards toward the fountain "thing"
 
Qcks (author)2010-02-27

This is an awesome idea. As a side note, flowing water tends to cut unpleasant odors all by it's self, so allowing water to flow in the open would eliminate some of the need for deodorizing spray.

After that, the water flow would also enhance the smell of any herb in the planter... so this is a very effective design.
very nice.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-09-20

Now this-is kooooooooooooo!

stormys (author)2009-08-22

This project is GRRRREAT!

fought piranhas (author)2009-08-19

This is GREAT.

roddur (author)2009-04-20

hi, i so much like ur project. i'm going to do it. i've a question though, is the overflow pipe connected to the plastic pot? if not then when overflow, isn't there a chance that the soil will wash away, into the basin through the pipe?

gardenwife (author)roddur2009-06-02

Great instructable! I think the overflow pipe is low in the planter, in the rock-filled area below the growing medium. It probably won't get anything but water in it. You could always put a layer of weed cloth between the potting mix and the rocks/hose, then use a wick down through it to bring moisture up to the plants.

AndyGadget (author)roddur2009-04-22

This is such a brilliantly novel idea! Whatever made you think of this in the first place?

cwhelan74 (author)2009-04-27

Awesomer! You could make a water-mill version for the cottage... stick a hamster inside and call it Hammy.

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