Make Your Patio Beautiful in 1 Hour with This Easy DIY Solar Fountain

You won’t believe how easy this DIY solar fountain is to create! With all the beautiful pond and water plants, and the sweet bubbling sound of water, it makes us feel that we are sitting by a little creek in the mountains. Here’s how to create a simple DIY fountain easily to enhance your outdoor living. You can even skip the solar pump and use this method to make a water fountain without a pump!

Why a DIY solar fountain?

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Everyone loves beautiful landscaping ideas such as garden fountains and patio ponds. But they usually require lots of work to set up plumbing pipes, electrical power cord, etc. Made from an old galvanized tub and a simple solar fountain pump, this outdoor solar fountain ( birds love it too like a birdbath! ) is so inexpensive and easy to build and maintain.

Easy and beautiful DIY outdoor solar fountain

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Don’t miss the Helpful Tips section later on choosing vessels, solar pumps, adding aquatic plants or fish, and how to keep your solar fountain water clean and free of mosquitoes.

Materials needed to make a simple outdoor solar fountain

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You will need a vessel: we used a 15 gallon metal tub, which measures 25″ diameter by 12″ tall. You can also use a bucket, half a whiskey barrel, a flower pot, etc. You will also need a solar fountain pump with a 10 feet cord from the water pump to the solar panel so you can have the DIY water fountain or birdbath in sun or shade as long as the panel is in the sun.

Fill the tub or large pot halfway with water.

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Add some water to the basin. In the Helpful Tips section at the end, I will share more about what type of soil or pots to use for pond and water plants. In short, use plastic nursery pots, and avoid rich potting soil. We also topped the pots with some pea gravel and small river rocks which look pretty and prevents any soil or dirt from floating up.

Add water garden plants.

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If you want beautiful garden fountains and patio ponds, plants are essential. Here we used Cyperus involucratus “Baby Tut”, Taro, Canna Lily, Siberian Iris, and Loriope. These are emergent type water plants. We also added water lettuce, which is a floating type water garden plant. Its massive root can clean the water in the basin really effectively. We can stop at this point with our lovely mini patio pond! However, the sound of water is just too irresistible…

Add rocks between plants

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After selecting the location for your DIY water fountain or bird bath, it’s time to add water and aquatic plants. Pond and water plants are optional, but we added them because they are so beautiful. Plant roots also help keeping the water clean and free from algae growth.

Add solar fountain pump.

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How do you make a simple water fountain? Use a solar pump and a free standing basin, you will save 80% of the work! This 1.5w solar pump has a 10 feet cord from the pump to the solar panel so you can place the panel in the sun but out of sight! Try some of these best landscape lighting ideas to illuminate your outdoor space and the fountain at night.

Solar pump nozzles

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Some are bubblers, some are sprayers. This fountain pump does not store solar energy, which means the fountain will be off when the sun is not shinning on the solar panel. Now you have a DIY bubble fountain for your garden, patio, porch, and deck!

Solar fountain pump choices and tips

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When creating an outdoor solar fountain, pay attention to water splash radius, which will affect where you place the fountain and other furniture and decor items. IMPORTANT: always keep the pump submerged in water when its running. When making adjustments, face the panel away from the sun until you can keep the pump submerged in water. Otherwise the pump could burn out.

Solar fountain vessel choices and considerations

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In addition to  galvanized steel tubs, you can also use a half wine barrel , a large bowl, or any containers without drainage holes, that can hold at least 3″ deep (see solar pump) water and are designed for outdoor use. This basin depth will accommodate most small pumps.

Add fish to a tub fountain

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Fish often do better in old or aged galvanized tanks. Fill a new tank full of water, feel free to add plants, and let it sit for 6 month to a year before adding fish. Start with tiny fish like goldfish or mosquito fish, which are much tougher than Koi. Another way is to line the galvanized tub with pond liner if you want to have fish right away.

Soil choices for pond and water garden plants

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If you choose to have plants, here are some soil choices for pond and water garden plants: clay soil is best. Garden soil is fine too. Potting soil contains wood chips and perlite which may float on the water. Avoid rich soil with manure content, as they could cause the water to smell, or become too acidic.

How to keep a solar fountain water clean

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Algae grows where there’s lots of sun or nutrients in water. Place the fountain in shade, or use plants to shade the water. Plant roots will also use up nutrients. I will write more about water and aquatic plants in another post to give you all the details and variations!

How to keep a solar fountain free of mosquitoes.

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Mosquito larvae can only survive in stagnant water. If the fountain is running often, it will deter mosquitoes. You can also introduce small fish, such as mosquito fish, into your fountain to feed on any new mosquito larvae and remove algae as it forms. 

This article Easy DIY Solar Fountain for Backyard and Patio originally appeared on A Piece of Rainbow.

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