A disappearing fountain offers the sound and sight of conventional water features, but lacking the safety hazard and upkeep. Water flows in a container, such as an urn, and disappears into an underground reservoir, where a recirculating pump goes it back up again. With an aboveground pool or pond which holds standing water, drowning risks to children and pets are eliminated. Urns lend a formal touch to gardens, and when made into fountains, they entreat birds to come to your backyard respite.

Container Choice

Pick an urn that’s as simple or elaborate as your tastes dictate. You might use unglazed terra-cotta, but water will disappear through porous clay more quickly than from glazed containers.

Paint or paint a plain urn with beads, stones or seashells to customize it to your backyard decor. Use paint and adhesives which are created for the urn’s composition.

Drill a hole in the bottom of your urn, or widen an existing hole if needed, to accommodate the size of the plastic tubing. Use a ceramic piece in order to don’t crack the pot as you drill through it.

Site Choice

Pick a location on your lawn where your urn fountain is a focus. A spot in full sun will cause the water to evaporate more quickly, and might degrade the visual appeal of your urn prematurely.

Install an GFCI-protected electrical receptacle near your urn fountain, or put your own water feature near an existing power source. Bury the power cord in a shallow trench or mulch on top of it to prevent tripping.

Pick an area where digging won’t interfere with underground utilities or be impeded due to hardpan or tree roots. Grade soil so that water flows from the house if your fountain is close to your home’s foundation.


Eliminate soil to a depth that will hold your fountain’s catch basin. You can use a molded pond insert, a child’s wading pool or a galvanized washtub within a underground pond. You may also use flexible pond liner rather than a rigid container.

Place the basin or liner inside the excavated hole. Anchor the liner with a layer of pea gravel or tiny seams or use them to fill across the molded form.

Attach plastic tubing to the recirculating pump and set it within the catch basin. Gently backfill the reservoir with gravel till it’s at the soil level.

Thread the loose tubing end up through the hole in the urn’s base and then settle the urn on top of the gravel. Fill the urn and the underground basin with water and then turn on the recirculating pump. Adjust the amount of tubing to get the bubbling effect you desire.

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