Concrete Fountain

Concrete fountain beside a platform deck

You can build this fountain as shown or vary the shape and dimensions of the fountain by using different objects as molds. If you increase the height, check the pump instructions to ensure that it has enough power to lift water to the top of the sphere.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Cast the Base and Sphere

Step 1: Measure and mark 12 inches [30.48 cm] up from one end of the concrete forming tube in several locations. Connect the marks with a line and cut the tube using a utility knife. (A saw also works.) Then cut or drill a 3/4-inch [1.9 cm] hole in the centre of the 5-quart [4.73 L] plastic pail. Use a hacksaw to cut two pieces of 3/4-inch [1.9 cm] PVC pipe — one roughly 24 inches [60.96 cm] long and one 14 inches [35.56 cm] long.

Good to Know: Complete this and the next step before you begin mixing concrete to keep small delays from becoming big problems.

Step 2:Centre the 5-quart [4.73 L] pail on a piece of scrap plywood and insert the PVC pipe a couple inches down through the hole in the pail. Place the concrete forming tube on the plywood with the pail and pipe at its centre. Mark the pipe where it comes up to the edge of the form so you’ll know if the bottom end accidentally slips down inside the pail.

Arrange parts of the concrete mold

Step 3: Wearing gloves and breathing protection, mix concrete in the polyethylene tub according to the package directions. Avoid adding any more water than necessary. You should be able to squeeze a handful of the mix and have it hold its shape in your hand.

Mix concrete to the consistency of oatmeal

Step 4: Scoop the concrete into the form while keeping the pail centred and flat against the plywood. Gently pack the concrete around the pail using a short length of scrap wood, such as a 2 x 4 [5.08 cm x 10.16 cm]. Continue adding concrete until you reach the top edge of the form. Check that the PVC pipe is still centred and hasn’t dropped down into the pail. Smooth the concrete even with the top of the form. To reduce the number of air bubbles in the mix, gently tap the outside of the form without accidentally shifting it on the plywood base.

Add concrete mix to the form

Step 5: Spray the inside of the glass globe with cooking spray, drain off any surplus, and fill it with concrete mix. Stand the globe so the opening is level and insert the taped end of the PVC pipe until it touches the centre of the globe at the bottom. Add concrete as needed to bring it even with the opening is level and insert the taped end of the PVC pipe until it touches the centre of the globe at the bottom. Add concrete as needed to bring it even with the opening on the globe. Rest the globe on a dry 5-quart [4.73 L] pail and run duct tape from the top of the PVC pipe, down the sides of the globe, and ending at the 5-quart [4.73 L] pail to hold the pipe in place.

Add a PVC pipe to the glass globe filled with concrete

Step 6: While the concrete cures overnight, thoroughly wash the mixing tub and tools. After the base and sphere cure overnight, cut the sides of the tube with a utility knife and remove it. Use a saw to cut the PVC pipe even with the top of the base.

Cut off the concrete forming tube

Step 7: While wearing gloves and eye protection, place the globe inside a plastic sheet or trash bag and tap the glass until it breaks. Continuing breaking the glass until it falls away from the concrete, but don’t hammer the concrete. Use the prongs on the hammer to lift off any stubborn pieces of glass. Then discard the plastic with the broken glass.

Break off glass globe mold

Step 8: Drive a dowel or other stick through the PVC pipe and break through the duct tape and thin layer of concrete on the opposite end. Clean up the edges of the PVC with a utility knife.

Clear the pipe through the concrete sphere

Step 9: Use the hacksaw to cut the PVC pipe flush with the concrete. Clean up the cut end with a utility knife.

Cut off the excess PVC pipe

Assemble the Fountain

Step 1: Dig a 26-in x 20-in [50.8 cm x 66.04 cm] hole where you want your fountain. It should be shallow enough to allow the lip of the concrete mixing tub to be flush with the ground.

Good to Know: Level the bottom of the hole to avoid transferring dips and bumps to the tub. You want water to be able to collect at the centre.

Step 2: Insert the tub in the hole. Wash off the river rock to remove any loose dirt and add a layer of rock to the bottom of the tub around the edges. Attach a length of vinyl hose to the pump and centre the pump on the bottom of the tray. Add washed river rock to hold it in place. Guide the electrical cord to the outside edge of the tray and cover it with rock.

Add river rock and the pump to the tray

Step 3: Thread the vinyl hose through the PVC pipe in the base and centre the base on the tray full of rocks. Check that the top is level.

Insert the pump hose through the base

Step 4: Test fit the sphere on the base by threading the hose through the sphere pipe. Trim the hose flush with the PVC pipe in the top of the sphere.

Insert the fountain tube through the sphere

 

Step 5: Spread adhesive silicone around the tube on the base and underside of the sphere. Then rest the sphere on the base so the PVC pipes touch. Add silicone to the space between the vinyl hose and the PVC pipe at the top of the globe, but avoid getting any inside the hose. Allow the silicone to dry thoroughly before running water through the hose.

Attach the sphere to the base

Step 6: Fill the tray to the top with water. Then connect the line from the pump to a power source and check the flow of water to the top of the sphere. Always unplug the fountain when you’re not around and refill the tray before each use.

Water covering completed fountain

 

PROJECT DETAILS

Skill Level: Beginner

Estimated Cost: $75

Time Estimate: 1 Weekend

Tools:

  • Utility knife
  • Tape measure
  • Rubber gloves
  • Breathing protection
  • Safety glasses
  • Cooking spray
  • Shovel
  • Hammer
  • Trowel or scoop
  • Concrete mixing tray
  • Scrap plywood
  • Hacksaw
  • Small level
  • Heavy-duty garbage sack
  • Duct tape

Materials:

  • 2 – 5-quart [4.73 L] pails, #4853
  • Download Project Diagram
  • 12-in x 48-in [30.48 cm x 1.22 m] concrete form tube, #268539
  • 2-in x 5-ft [5.08 cm x 1.52 m] PVC pipe, #282406
  • 3 – 80-pound [36.29 kg] concrete mix, #10385
  • Litex 8-in [20.32 cm] round white globe, #220210
  • 20-in x 26-in [50.8 cm x 66.04 cm] polyethylene tub, #19251
  • 100–155-gallon [378.54–586.74 L]-per-hour fountain pump
  • 1/2-in [1.27 cm] vinyl tubing, #17468
  • .5 cu ft [.014 cu m] river rock, #139539
  • Loctite adhesive clear silicone

* Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary by market.


 

Products and prices may change; check your local Lowe’s store for details

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