How to make a fountain by stacking rocks

Is your yard drab, boring, or just not the relaxing outdoor space you want it to be?

We all need fresh air and sunshine from time to time, but your outdoor living space can be so much more if you have the time and imagination to explore the possibilities! While many people are installing ponds, waterfalls, and other water features to achieve serenity in their outdoor oasis, some of these can be complicated and expensive to build.

In this tutorial, we will cover how to make a fountain for your garden so that you can get started on a fun project that won’t break your back or your bank!

*Please note that here at Gradex, we don’t build fountains in this exact process since we have more industrial tools, practices, and a full crew. However, we understand that some people want to do a project like this on their own, so we’re here to help educate those that do! You can also look at Aquascape’s pond kits if you want a less DIY-heavy project.

What You Will Need

To build a stationary fountain, you need some tools you may already have around the house and some materials you can find at your local hardware store. This fountain will sit in a basin dug into the ground and, once finished, will be a beautiful work of art and craftsmanship you can enjoy anytime.


  1. Pipe cutter
  2. Adjustable wrench
  3. Hammer
  4. Utility scissors
  5. Caulk gun
  6. Hand saw
  7. Hammer drill
  8. Carbide-tipped drill bit
  9. String
  10. Duct tape

Building Materials

  •       Submersible Water Pump: All water pumps have a designation of power measured in gallons per hour (gph). For this project, it’s best not to use a pump meant for more than 250 gph.
  •       1-inch PVC Conduit: This allows the water pump’s power cord to reach the outlet from underground.
  •       ½ Inch Copper Pipe: Decide how tall you want your fountain to be and purchase a pipe that has an additional two feet.
  •       Waterproof Basin: A storage bin or wash tub at least a foot taller than the water pump should suffice.
  •       ½-inch-by-½-inch Compression Female Adapter: This connects the water pump to the pipe.
  •       ½-inch Ball Valve: This regulates water flow.
  •       Aluminum Window Screen: The screen keeps debris out of the basin below. It must be large enough to cover the basin.
  •       Waterproof Decking: The decking will support the fountain.
  •       Drainage Rock: This will sit on the basin floor and beneath.
  •       Stones, Pavers, or Ceramic Tile: These are decorative materials that the water will cascade over. Be sure the materials you’re using have a flat surface and will stand when stacked.
  •       Small Decorative Rocks or Tumbled Glass: These are decorative materials that will sit at the fountain’s base, covering the pit.

How to Make a Fountain in Eight Steps

1. Dig the Pit

Digging a hole as part of how to build a fountain

The pit must be deep enough for the fountain’s basin to fit completely. Deposit the dirt into a suitable receptacle. Spread a 2-inch covering of drainage rock at the bottom of the pit and lay the basin on top. You’ll also need to dig a small track to the exterior electrical outlet that will power the fountain’s pump.

2. Set the PVC Conduit

Calculate the space from the outlet to the basin and cut the appropriate length of PVC conduit to match. Thread the water pump power cord down the conduit and tape the end once it comes through. Set the conduit in the shallow track and cover it with soil.

3. Mark the Screen

With the water pump centered beneath, lay the aluminum screen on the basin. Mark the screen where it sits directly above the threaded pump outlet and the edge of the screen nearest the conduit.

4. Cut the Screen

Cut a 1-inch diameter circle in the center of the screen where you marked the pump outlet. Find the edge of the screen marked for the conduit. Cut a flap large enough for your hand and the water pump to pass through.

5. Secure the Piping

Use the pipe cutter to cut 4 inches from the pipe. Using the nuts and ferrules attached to the ball valve, insert both pieces of pipe into each valve end and hand-tighten the nuts.

Screw the compression adapter into the outlet on the water pump. Connect the small section of piping to the adapter with the nut and ferrule on its free end.

Tighten all the nuts with a wrench. Evenly spread a 2-inch covering of drainage rock on the basin floor, center the pump, and bring the screen down around the pipe.

6. Lay the Waterproof Decking

Cut four pieces of decking to fit over the pit and the screen. Lay them over the screen with two pieces on either side of the pipe.

7. Create Your Sculpture

Collect your stones or pavers and stack them. Once you have found the most stable stacking option, number them on their underside in sequence. Using the hammer drill and the carbide-tipped drill bit, drill each piece through the center from the smooth side.

8. Assemble the Fountain

Stacked rock fountain

Slide the stones onto the pipe in their predetermined order. Note where the piping is visible at the top of the stacked stones. Lift off the first rock and cut the piping just below the top. 

Once you have replaced the rock, use your garden hose to fill the basin until the water level is half a foot higher than the water pump. You can now open the valve, turn on the pump, and enjoy your rock fountain.

Make Your Own Garden Fountain Or Contact Gradex

Now that you know how to make a fountain, you can transform your yard into a peaceful oasis with an elegant water feature. Use these steps as a guide, and be creative when designing your fountain. You can make it as grand or minimal as you like. The cost of having a contractor install a quality fountain may be worth not having to do all of this work yourself.

If you aren’t ready to tackle this type of project yourself, it’s always best to ask a professional. Don’t risk injury trying something that may be more than you can handle. Electricity is dangerous, and heavy lifting can be tricky.

Ready to build a garden fountain? Contact Gradex through our contact form to schedule your consultation and get started building the yard of your dreams!