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Build a Spring in Your Backyard

Updated: Mar. 20, 2019

Learn how to build this small backyard spring that will spark a sense of wonder.

spring in your backyardFamily Handyman
You can build this backyard spring in less than half a day!

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spring in your backyardFamily Handyman

Backyard Spring

If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone, you probably remember the magic of the natural springs. Water bubbles out of the ground from seemingly nowhere. We can’t promise you the grandeur of our national parks, but in less than half a day you can build a small spring that will spark a similar sense of wonder. Also try building this DIY fire pit. Here’s what you’ll need for this backyard spring project:

  • A large sturdy tub or bucket (about a 15-gallon size).
  • A piece of pond liner large enough to line the bucket plus an additional foot on each side. In our case, it was 5 ft. square.
  • A small fountain pump (ours moved 210 gallons per hour and cost $50).
  • A piece of flexible braided plastic tubing the diameter of the pump outlet and cut to the length of the bucket height.
  • A hose clamp to connect the tubing to the pump.
  • A brick to rest the pump on.
  • A square piece of heavy-gauge, galvanized hardware cloth with a 1/4-in. grid, cut 6 to 8 in. larger than the diameter of the bucket.
  • About 40 lbs. of round rocks 1-1/2 to 3 in. in diameter. We used Mexican beach pebbles from our local nursery.

You can tuck this spring fountain in the corner of a patio where you can easily see and hear the water. It can go anywhere in your yard or garden, but you’ll need an outdoor outlet nearby.

Project Directions:

figure a spring in your backyard

Before you build tip: The larger the bucket, the less often you need to add water to replace what’s lost from evaporation.

  • Dig a hole the size of your bucket. Place the top lip of the bucket 2-1/2 in. below the surface of the patio or ground.
  • Place the bucket in the hole and backfill around it.
  • Line the inside of the bucket with your pond liner. Extend the liner out at least 8 in. beyond the diameter of the bucket, more if you want your spring to shoot up higher. You want the liner to catch any water splashing on the rocks and direct the runoff back into the bucket. Curl up the edge of the liner to create a ledge for that purpose. We created a ledge by wedging the liner between two bricks.
  • Place the brick and the pump in the center of the bucket. Connect the tubing to the pump outlet with a hose clamp.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for running the cord. Don’t bury it. Caution: Plug the cord into a GFCI-protected outlet.

  • Place the hardware cloth over the bucket and snip a small hole in the center to allow the tubing through. The hardware cloth should be larger than the diameter of the bucket. The weight of the stones and brick will keep it from sagging.

  • Place the stones and brick on top of the hardware cloth and fill the bucket with water.

  • Turn the pump on and adjust the tubing, wedging it between the rocks to get the desired effect. You can restrict the flow of the water by pinching the pipe with wire or buying a flow restricter from your pump supplier.The diameter of the pipe you use will determine how high the water bubbles up.

*Tip: Don’t let the water spray too high. If it splashes outside the area where the liner is placed, you’ll have to refill your bucket with water often. You’ll also risk damaging your pump if it runs dry.

Once you are done with this project,  try building any one of these 34 awesome outdoor DIY projects to get you outside.