Build a Pondless Fountain, On the Cheap

We had to rebuild our pond when the original 5 gallon bucket we used proved not to hold enough water for us to leave for a weekend before it splashed out. Many times the Robins would sit on the fountain and during their bathing would flap a good portion of water out of the system. We decided a larger basin was needed. However, many of the basins that are specifically made for pondless fountains are very expensive. What is expensive? Anywhere between $400. and $700. dollars. I feel that cost places these fountains out of many folks price-points. I’d rather use that money towards the ‘art’ part. The part everyone sees… The fountain!

We dug-up everything that was buried and set it out for re-installation. We decided we were going to try a plastic storage container and see how well the $20. dollar bin would hold up. We dug the hole about 4″ inches larger than the bin and back-filled that area with pea gravel. We hoped it would allow the bin to freeze (expand) and thaw without cracking. So far, this fountain has been through one winter with no issue.


So the lid wouldn’t cave in, we set the central weight of the fountain on top of a 6″ piece of PVC pipe. The pump (with its filter) sat just outside the PVC pipe. We placed holes in the lid to drain the water back into the basin, however not enough to compromise its integrity.

After everything was installed in the basin, but before the fountain was assembled above, we checked if the pump was working correctly. Better to check now than to stack the fountain and realize there’s an issue. DoH!!


Everything was running well, so we continued to finish the installation by adding the grate, the pond membrane and returning the stone to the area. We then carefully stacked the fountain on the copper pipe. We plugged it in and stepped back to admire our work.

If you want to see other pondless fountain ideas, click here!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

20 thoughts on “Build a Pondless Fountain, On the Cheap

  1. Great info and so creative. Ya’ll are so smart. Love the stacked rocks. One day- I say that I’m going to have a pond put in- that is before I die. I enjoy the birds so much and this is one luxury that I figure will be worth it. I have a budget set of about $1,500 but I have not tried to get any quotes. Just might be that I can’t get anything but a nice bird bath with a circulating pump. I shall see.


    • Thank you! 😘
      If I had to guess… this pondless fountain, as you see built, would be about $800, installed. However, that’s because he had to drill each rock. Different rock designs would be less.
      (Look at links below, single rock $600) This is hand made tho. You could probably find a kit for way less.
      If birds are your target audience, and not a koi pond, I’d think of one of these types of ‘ponds’. I think the deeper ponds scare the little birds. And these are WAY less maintenance. In mine, the big birds stand on top and the little birds splash at the bottom. The one we made for my bro (way bigger than this, it has 3 water spouts) has a small pooling area for the little birds.
      Check out these posts, maybe these will help you in choosing your new fountain!
      And watch the Robin enjoy this fountain here:
      I would be more that welcome to do some research for you on any ones you choose. Or look over the quote to be sure you’re not over charged.
      I can’t remember.. do you have a handy man? Pond kits in general are not hard to install. At least in that price range. It’s the $10,000 ponds that get tricky. 😉 Let me know!


      • Thanks for info. I am thinking of a shallow pond on one end and deeper on the other end. Maybe some fish. Just not sure since I want to visit some ponds around town. There is a group of foks that gather to talk about their ponds/problems, etc. Keep in mind that I just might settle for a concrete fountain that bubbles but that is attractive to birds. The pond is for the birds and nothing else but fish would be such fun to watch. Money is a concern since there are many needs on this property. Since I am now 80 years old I might not have much time left and I’d like to enjoy things that make me happy. Seeing the birds come to falling water makes me smile.

        Liked by 1 person

        • So glad you’ve got knowledgeable folks around to spitball your ideas to. 😃 There are so many ways to make ponds, you have so many choices.
          I don’t wait for too many things either, as I’m not getting any younger, either!


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