Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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!
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest

Participated in the
Earthjustice United States of Efficiency Contest

Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge