Introduction: Terra Cotta Fountain

About: Emeritus Professor of Mathematics.
If you have been looking for a substantial size fountain for your garden, Terra Cotta planters available at your local garden center offer a lot of possibilities and have a pleasing natural outdoor look.

The fountain we made for our front garden stands about 32" tall from the ground to the very top.  The upper bowl is about 21" in diameter, and the lower basin is approximately 32" in diameter.  The fountain holds a generous quantity of water.

Step 1:

The fountain pump is located in the large basin.  Its power cord is fed through a plastic pipe plug which was drilled to accept the cord and sealed with silicone. To thread it through, the electrical plug was cut off the end of the pump power cord , and a new plug put on afterward.  One does not want any cuts and connections in the power cord which may be under water because of a possible shock hazard.  And for general safety, the fountain is always plugged into a GFI receptacle.

A pipe bushing glued into the bottom hole of the terra cotta bowl accepts the pipe plug.  In this way, the pipe plug can be unscrewed to remove the pump with its complete power cord intact for winter storage. 

Step 2:

The pump is positioned in the center like this and loosely held in place by the rigid plastic pump output tube passing through the the parts of the fountain that are placed above it.

Step 3:

An inverted planter goes over the pump.  This planter supports the upper bowl of the fountain.

Step 4:

The pump tube passes into the upper bowl through a garden hose fitting.  The fitting is soldered into a large brass washer which is in turn glued into the bowl. 

Step 5:

The nipple in the upper basin accepts a 1/2" copper riser pipe which slides over the plastic pump tube.  A female garden hose connector is soldered to the lower end of the pipe; with the usual rubber gasket inside, it forms a leak tight seal for the upper basin.

A shouldered bushing on the  top of the riser pipe supports a small terra cotta dish.

Step 6:

The upper dish catches water bubbling out of the riser and spreads it to drip into the basin below for aeration.  The dish simply fits over the bushing at the top of the riser pipe and rests on the shoulder of the bushing. The inner plastic pump tube is just a bit shorter than the copper riser; an O-ring stretched around the pump tube (visible in steps 2- 4) effectively blocks water from leaking down the space between the pump tube and the copper riser pipe. The O-ring is not at all a tight fit inside the copper riser - it just blocks a little unnecessary leakage.

Step 7:

Another view of the fountain after fully set up for the summer.

You can see a short video of the bubbling action at:

Hmmm...while working on this instructable, it occurred that with a more powerful  pump, another level could be added!!!  The list of future projects never ends !!!!