You don't need a lakefront property to enjoy the benefits of backyard water. Stacked pots filled with a pump and filled to the brim produce sounds reminiscent of lapping waves. The vessels' rolled rims -- and resulting cascades -- amplify the sound of the water, and their coloring corresponds with a nearby begonia.


1. Collect three "display" pots and two "support" pots. The measurements should not matter, so long as the bases and tops correspond as shown above. (The display pots we used measure as follows: 12 inches wide at top, 6 inches at base; 17 inches at top, 8 inches wide at base; 23 inches at top, 12 inches at base. The smaller support pot is 8 inches at top, 6 inches at base; the larger one is 12 inches at top, 10 inches at base.)

2. Plug the drainage hole of the largest pot with foam sealant. Place the pot on a level surface. Cut a length of 1-inch-diameter flexible plastic tubing that, when inserted into a 375-gallon-per-hour pump, extends through both support pots and 6 inches above the base of the smallest display pot. Insert the tubing into the pump.

3. Place the pump in the base pot, running the power cord over the rim, toward a grounded exterior outlet. Invert the larger support pot over pump, propping it on wooden shims to allow water to flow underneath; feed the tubing through the drainage hole. Spray foam sealant around tubing to seal.

4. Position the second display pot; feed tube through hole. Seal with foam. Repeat with the remaining support and display pots. Add a flow-control valve a few inches from the end of the tube. Add water until the pots are overflowing; plug the pump into the outlet, adjusting pressure as needed.


Comments (17)

Martha Stewart Member
May 20, 2017
Can this be taken apart easily to clean, move &/or replace pump?
Martha Stewart Member
May 16, 2016
I have tried this three times, and so far even with the best foam sealant, I have water leaking out of the bottom. Any other suggestions to prevent this from happening? I've also tried silicone
Martha Stewart Member
January 23, 2015
As far as using Terracotta Pots, there is a waterproofing seal that can be used - Preparing and waterproofing a pot To provide a clear waterproof seal on the inside of pots use two coats of Bondall Natural Finish Waterproofing Sealer (2L $29 from Amber Tiles and Hardwares). This will provide a good seal for up to five years. Alternatively there are black bitumen-based sealants which also enhance the reflective properties of the water.
Martha Stewart Member
April 4, 2014
For those wondering what kind of pots will hold up to the water, I found other sites stating the best ones to use are the ceramic glazed pots, since they are fired in a kiln and should stand up to water better. I haven't made one yet myself, as these pots are terribly pricey, but for those who can afford it and want their fountain to last, it sounds like the best bet.
Martha Stewart Member
September 11, 2013
I would like to make this water feature for my bedroom. Is there any reason why this would not work providing everything was water tight? Thanks Jerry
Martha Stewart Member
February 20, 2012
A couple of people have expressed concern that terra cotta pots are likely to deteriorate after a season of constant water contact. I would suggest picking up a clear, water-resistant sealant from the hardware store or a craft store. I'm not sure of the best brand myself, but a sales associate would know. An aerosol version would save time and ensure even coverage.
Martha Stewart Member
August 21, 2011
this is just what i have been looking for for my front yard....
Martha Stewart Member
July 7, 2011
Has anyone tried this with a water pump smaller than 375 GPH?
Martha Stewart Member
April 4, 2010
I think this will be just perfect in my front yard. Might do one for the back patio too. I believe Kwii's suggestion about feet will be more helpful for disassembling this in the fall to store in my small garage during the cold Colorado winter.
Martha Stewart Member
August 2, 2009
do you need to use plastic pots
Martha Stewart Member
July 27, 2009
Anyone have an idea as to HOW to make this to GET to the pump easier? It looks like you would have to dis-assemble the whole thing to get to it..yes? Mary
Martha Stewart Member
July 25, 2009
To pattyzing: I don't know how to contact you privately, I am interested in your gray water thing! I do apologize for using this forum inappropriately.
Martha Stewart Member
July 16, 2008
My dog likes to drink from the water fountain I made, so word to the wise, make your fountain with easy access to the pump so you can clean the filter. I use a drop of dish soap and it cleans all the gunk out every time.
Martha Stewart Member
June 1, 2008
Love it. I bought 3 matching, graduating pots last year. Also, a pump for it. I live in North Georgia, and we have had a drought last year, so instead of making the fountain, I used the pump to pump my gray (bath) water out the window for my flowers. Thankfully this year we are getting rain. So I'm going to make the fountain. Thanks for the instructions, wasn't sure how to do it. Looks easy! Patty
Martha Stewart Member
May 29, 2008
What type of pot can you use that won't corrode? We made a fountain last year out of terracotta and the bottom corroded out by the end of the year.
Martha Stewart Member
May 16, 2008
This fountain is lovely. One small enhancement may be to prop the bottom pot up on 'feet' (sold at the home improvement store near the clay pots) and simply run the cord out the bottom of the largest pot and seal around it. The feet can also be used inside the pot as an alternative to wood shims. Thanks for the lovely idea. My garden is complete with the addition of this water feature.
Martha Stewart Member
May 15, 2008
I think this is a beautiful yet do-able project. I've always wanted a small, water fountain for my deck! I can't wait to see how it turns out! K-Mart Martha pots are great for this! Thanks, Martha and staff!