“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
Robert Frost

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer's Still Here


Summer's not over yet! You still have time to work on a few garden projects.  I have one for you that you might find fun to do at this time of year. It's also a great time to get the materials at a bargain price. It's your very own fountain/water garden!

Ours started out about 10 years ago as a simple Spit'in Frog water fountain and now has become a Fairy Garden Fountain. More about that later.

Before you start, to make this successful, you must already have an outdoor outlet installed in a convenient location. This is strictly an outdoor project because the water will splash out onto the ground. I refill my fountain or top it off at least once a week.

Things you need:
  • Electrical outlet
  • Water-garden pump
  • Large decorative pot without drain holes (I use the plastic/foam type)
  • Plant drainage saucer (sized about an inch smaller than the opening of your decorative pot)
  • Old plastic pot with drain holes that will fit inside your decorative pot
  • Plastic tubing (about 3 feet) I used a size that would look good with my frog, about 1/4" diameter and it must fit over the pump water outlet
  • plastic zip tie (to connect the tubing to the pump) follow pump directions
  • Decorative 'something' like my frog if you want to drill your own hole for the tube or just place the tube between or under some stones... use your imagination!
  • Rocks
  • Water (don't' try running the pump without it!)


Here are some of the items I used for my fountain. Adjust some of the details to your own preference.  The most important item you will need is a water-garden pump. Make sure it is for use Outside too! I used a small one because my container is only about 1 foot tall by 16 inches across. Pumps are widely available now at garden centers, big box stores or online. They run between $10-$20.

My husband and I had seen a similar fountain at the Arboretum and wanted to create our own version. I found the cast iron frog somewhere (hey it's been 10 years) and my husband drilled a small hole in his mouth for the plastic tube.






Water Garden pump, this one has lasted for over 10 years!

Frog with tubing




Decorative leak-proof container




Inner tray with it's aged patina of old moss...

Other items for my fountain include a top 'tray' for everything decorative to sit on and a large decorative pot to contain the water.  I chose plastic because I didn't want to lug around anything too heavy but any large leak proof pot will work.  The pots are sometimes called 'consolidated foam' or 'injection molded' planters. Make sure you get one that is water proof and free of holes. I think I found mine at Big Lots.

As for the plastic 'tray', I wanted something fairly shallow, so I used a plastic drainage saucer from the local garden center. I found one that is about 14" in diameter and fits just inside my large pot which is about 16" across. You want it to be about an inch smaller than your pot so the water can drain into the bottom of the pot and you also need room to hide the extra tubing and electric cord.




I used an old black plastic pot with the drain holes precut for my round 'tray' to stand on.The pump cord and tube were threaded through the holes in the pot.








Here the fountain is partially constructed. The frog sits in the tray which is on top of the black pot in the bottom of the decorative foam pot. Once I have the pot next to the electrical outlet I can start adding some rocks. Then add your water. It will take a few minutes for the pump to prime itself with water and start running through the tubing. Be patient! It may take 5 or more minutes.

Just a note, since we live in an area with freezing winter temperatures, I drain my fountain in early October and store it in an outdoor shed for the winter. I usually start it up again in mid April if the weather is nice. This year I didn't set it up until June! We only unplug it when we are going to be out of town for several days, otherwise it runs all summer long. The benefit is that mosquitoes will not breed in running water and the water stays fresher because the pump aerates the water.

PLAIN FOUNTAIN



Nice, but not too exciting. So this year, I thought hmmmm....

Fairy Garden Fountain!!!




So I went to my local Fairy Garden, Garden Center (yes we have one) and purchased some wee little plants and a wee little turtle with a wee little house. I also found my perfect little Forget-Me-Not Fairy to add to the fountain to make it complete! I also purchased a fake hollowed out rock and planted two of my wee little plants in it to place on the side.





The Forget-Me-Not Fairy with her friends the Wee Little Turtle and the Spit'in Frog!






I hope I have inspired you to take 
advantage of those clearance priced garden center items. 
You could have your very own Fairy Fountain by the weekend! 
~ Diane ~


17 comments:

  1. Oh I just love your fairy garden fountain! I will have to check out my garden center's clearance section this weekend. Thanks for sharing this fun tutorial.

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  2. I can't thank you enough! I'm totally going to do this next spring, and I appreciate you taking the time to show me just how to do it!
    Have a great (HOT) weekend!
    Erica :)

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  3. Oh my goodness I love this fountain. Do birds ever visit it?

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    1. Yes, the birds land on top of the frog and drink from his mouth. We have several other bird baths around the yard that they use to bath. The squirrels and raccoons come up and drink from the small open area at the front. My cats have no interest in the fountain at all!

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  4. Beautiful! Plus the fairy and the turtle keep the frog from being lonely.

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  5. This is so amazing! And it seems so simple to do. I've wanted to add a water feature for the longest time in my garden. I just haven't gotten around to it. We had talked about adding a pond this summer, and it just didn't happen. Too much work; too much expense right now. But this is much more affordable and much less time consuming!

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    1. Martha, it is actually pretty easy to make. Much cheaper than buying a ready made fountain and you can customize it to your tastes. My husband used a special drill bit on the cast iron frog, other than that it was pretty easy to put together. I will be looking forward to photos of your new garden fountain! ;)

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  6. This is fabulous !!
    I have a large container fairy garden ~
    and thanks to you I will soon have a fairy fountain as well.
    How wonderful.
    The fairies will love it :)

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  7. Oh love love love! This is wonderful. Every single element. :) And yes, i want to try!

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  8. This looks just like something my mum would have - adorable! I must show her! :)

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  9. Brilliant Diane! I love this! So special and fun! Hope you are having a great weekend ;o) Hugs ;o)

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  10. That is so neat! I am impressed. I also want to know more about the Fairy Garden store...you know that would have a totally different connotation on my coast ;)

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  11. Its beautiful - a perfect little fairy garden! The tinkling sound it makes must be lovely as well. Is the fairy ok outside like that all the time even if it is just the summer months?

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  12. I love your little garden and am quite sure that sweet fairy is smiling.

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  13. Diane - this is absolutely adorable - you have inspired me to consider a lovely addition of this type to my garden. May need to alert hubby for all that drilling and attaching of pipe...just what he needs is another project (lol). I just love the frog too - thanks so much for sharing your wonderful directions and tips. Wish we had a fairy garden center but I am sure there are some good resources on line. Take care and have a wonderful week friend.

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  14. ♥ love,love!! Its so beautiful!!! Have a happy day! xxx Ritta

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  15. Hi Diane,

    I just love your little fairy garden! Aren't they just adorable and easy to put together? You have decorated it so pretty with the plants and that cute frog.

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Thank you for leaving a comment! I do read them all and will try to respond if I'm able. Please know that all comments are appreciated, I love to hear your thoughts on my posts! ~ Diane