Build Your Own Water Feature | Living the Country Life
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Build Your Own Water Feature

Create your own above-ground water feature for the perfect backyard accent.
  • Add Water Wonder

    A handmade water feature doesn't just give you a project to be proud of - it adds beauty and new plants to your area. With colorful foliage and a bubbling fountain, your outdoor space will be more serene with just a weekend of work. 

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Materials to Purchase

    Materials

    • One sheet 3/4-inch pressure-treated pine plywood, 4x8 feet (for parts A, E, G, H)
    • One 1x2 (nominal) pressure-treate pine, 8 feet long (for part D)
    • Nine 1x4 (nominal) pressure-treated pine, 8 feet long (for parts B, C, F, K, L)
    • One 4x4 (nominal) pressure-treated pine, 8 feet long (for part J)
    • Two 2x4 (noinal) pressure-treated pine, 8 feet long (for liner supports)
    • Exterior-grade wood glue
    • One package each galvanized deck screws: 11/4-inch, 15/8-inch, 21/2-inch
    • One box 5d galvanized finish nails
    • Cove molding (optional)
    • 1 quart solid-color exterior latex wood stain
    • Pond liner
    • Submersible pond pump
    • Yellow flag iris 
    • Chaste tree, willow, or other water-loving tree or shrub
    • Elephant's ear
    • Garden ornament (optional)

    Tools Required

    • Sawhorses (one pair)
    • Tape measure
    • Angle square or combination square
    • Circular saw with straightedge guide
    • Power miter saw
    • Portable jigsaw
    • Power drill with #2 Phillips driver bit
    • Drill bits (1/16-inch, 3/16-inch with countersink)
    • Sanding block with medium-grit abrasive
    • Paintbrushes
    • Hammer
    • Recommended: table saw

     

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Cut the Parts

    Using your pond liner as a template to determine the size and shape of the wooden surround, calculate the parts sizes for your assembly. The upper and lower edges of the plywood panels (A, E) are aligned 3/4 inch from the edges of the frame assemblies (rails and stiles) that cover the, so the panels should be 11/2 inches narrower than the frame assemblies are tall. Also, the long panels (A) are the same length as the long rails (B), but the end panels are cut short to create a 3/4-inch reveal at each end. (See corner detail illustration.) The plywood corner cleats (H) should accomodate the pond liner's contours. For the legs (J), you'll need a table saw to cut the W-shape inside profile safely; if you don't have one, recruit a local woodworker or cabinet shop to do the cutting for you. The leg length should be 11/2 inches longer than the height of the panel frames. 

    Parts

    Cut parts from materials as indicated in the previous slide; exact dimensions will be determined by the size/shape of pond liner.

    • Two long panels (A)
    • Four long rails (B)
    • Six center stiles (C)
    • Four end stiles (D)
    • Two short panels (E)
    • Four short rails (F)
    • Two floorboard cleats (G)
    • Four corner cleats (H)
    • Four legs (J)
    • Two long rail caps (K)
    • Two short rail caps (L)
    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Begin Assembly

    Use glue and 11/4-inch deck screws to attach plywood panels (A, E) to frame rails and stiles (B, C, D, F) as shown. When panel assemblies are complete, join them at corners using glue and 5d finishing nails, then glue and nail floorboard and corner cleats (G, H) in place as shown. This creates a rigid box assembly with frame-and-panel sides. 

    Set box assembly on a flat surface, then block up each corner 11/2 inches off the ground. Fit legs (J) in place at each corner, with upper ends flush with upper frame edges, and drive 21/2 inch deck screws from the inside of the corners to attach.

    Decide on the location of the pond; choose a spot with at least six hours of sunlight a day and with an electrical outlet nearby. Set the wood enclosure in place, then set several 2x4 runners flat on the ground inside to support the bottom of liner. 

    It's also an option to cut and nail untreated pine cove molding along frame openings. If you add it, you'll need to apply a protective coat of stain (latex solid-color, exterior-grade) to the project. 

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Install Pond Liner

    Set pond liner inside wood enclosure to check the fit. Make sure liner lip rests upon upper edges of plywood panels, then fasten with about a dozen 11/4-inch deck screws along perimeter. 

    Cut long and short rail caps (K, L) to length with a 45-degree miter cut at each end. Glue and nail them together at corners to make a simple frame, then nail frame to top edges of enclosure.

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Install Pump

    Follow pump manufacturer's guidelines for placement and power connections; place into pond liner as instructed.

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Add Plants and Water

    Position plants how you'd like. Some ideal plants for a water garden are yellow flag iris, chaste tree, and elephant's ear. Next, weigh the plants down with bricks or stones so they don't tip over in the water. Add a garden ornament, if desired, then fill the pond with water. 

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds
  • Stain Frame

    Once everything's in place, allow the pond frame to weather naturally, or stain it. 

    Date Published: January 16, 2018
    Date Updated: January 17, 2018
    Tags: Garden ponds

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