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Gentle-Splash Fountain

Quiet and simple, this fountain is suitable for a beginner builder and can be completed in an afternoon.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2010


More experienced do-it-yourselfers can use these instructions to experiment with fountains in other types of planters.

Note: All measurements are for the 28-inch-tall pot shown. If you're using a different pot, adjust lengths of PVC pipe to suit its dimensions.

You can also try our other fountain how-tos:

Bubbling Brook Fountain

Waterfall Fountain


  • Hacksaw

  • 150-grit sandpaper

  • Submersible pump (350 gallons per hour; we used the Mag Drive Ultra Pump, No. 98457; (G)

  • Large pot or planter, 22 inches wide by 28 inches tall with a drainage hole (we used the large Old Stone U planter, No. 5144;; find similar styles at garden centers)

  • Clear waterproof vinyl caulk

  • Putty knife

  • The following items can be found in the plumbing-supplies section of large hardware stores. Use schedule 40 pipe and fittings throughout:

  • 2-foot section of 1/2-inch unthreaded PVC pipe (D, F)

  • 1/2-inch large flange nut ( (A)

  • 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-diameter threaded brass nipple (B)

  • 2 half-inch PVC female adapters (C)

  • 1/2-inch solvent weld plastic ball valve (E)

  • 1 can (4 ounces) plastic pipe cement primer/cleaner for PVC (clear)

  • 1 can (4 ounces) PVC cement (clear)


  1. Use a pencil to mark 2 sections on PVC pipe, 1 measuring 3 1/2 inches (F), the other 10 3/4 inches (D). Cut on lines with hacksaw. Lightly sand ends to remove burrs.

  2. Connect pump (G) attachments so that pump ends on a male connection.

  3. Using above photo as a guide, assemble parts A to F; leave ball valve open. When joining 2 unthreaded ends, prime and glue each with PVC cement, twisting slightly as you join to ensure a good seal.

  4. Let all connections dry and set according to cement instructions. Connect with the pump (G).

  5. Place fountain manifold inside pot, and feed the pump's cord through the drainage hole.

  6. Place pot in desired location, ensuring that pump plug will safely reach a nearby ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet. The pot must not sit on the cord, so bury it below the pot, or set the pot on "pot feet" (available at garden centers) or similar support.

  7. Seal the drainage hole with caulk, working around pump's cord. Spread with putty knife to ensure a complete seal. Let dry before proceeding.

  8. Fill pot with water to roughly 2 inches below rim, and plug in pump. Use ball valve to regulate flow and sound level.

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