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Create a Japanese Fountain.

Updated on March 15, 2009

Background on Japanese Fountains.

Japanese Fountains are unique pieces of art. Primarily made from Bamboo, which is very popular in Japan as most Asian Countries. This Bamboo fountain we will make, is inexpensive and one of a kind. You will be able to apply your own finishing touches, so that your personality is reflected.

I have always had a fascination with Japanese culture and and the sights and sounds, of moving water. Therefore, what's better than to create a fountain, which combines both of these two passions.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

The water feature that we will create is made from Bamboo and is called a Tsukabai. This goes back to Japan's culture hundreds of years. This feature of moving water, was located near Tea Houses in the garden. In a Japanese garden, simplicity and nature is combined. Nothing is complicated or overdone.

Visitors wash their hands, before entering the tea house. The Stone basin that collects the water, is purposely shallow . This ensures that the visitor stoops in humility. A mark of respect.

A scooping ladle is usually placed next to the fountain. A Japanese maple tree behind this outdoor fountain is customary. Decorative rocks, cobbles and plants complete the picture.

An overview

I am going to show you step by step, how to build this outdoor fountain. The materials, along with tips to avoid common mistakes. Some sources of materials. Most can be gathered from your local hardware store.

This Japanese fountain should cost less than $100.00. I know you can buy one probably cheaper, ready done. Hey, this is your work of art. Your family, friends and neighbours will be surprised-- and you can take great pride and satisfaction for years to come.

Picture-- a book in the shade and the sounds of water , a cool glass of ice-tea...Bmb

Materials you'll need

Tools and Materials.

1. 15 gallon plastic garbage can.

2. Submersible 150 to 200GPH Pump.

3. Bamboo rods with 2.5", 1.5" and 0.5" diameter. Does not have to be exact.

4. Shallow stone basin. You can substitute a nice plastic with a natural look if stone not available.

5. Plastic Fluorescent light Grid.

6. Clay brick, decoratives cobbles and rocks.

7. 2 bags smooth sand.

8.Plastic tubing to fit bore of pump. About 12ft.

9.. Drill with different size bits.

10. Carpenter's level.

11. rubber gloves and safety glasses.

12. Hand saw.

13. GFCI outlet located near fountain location. Have a qualified electricain install one, if not in the location..

Step 1: Prepare The Location

Dig a hole deep enough for the garbage container plus 2" deep and 2" on the outside diameter. Remove all stones and debris. Fill 2" of sand and tamp with a piece of wood to compact in place. Mist slightly with water to settle sand.

Place your garbage container in the hole and level. Fill a couple of inches of water to set in place.

Continue filling water and sand on the outside edges. Tamp with the peice of wood. Caution! Do not fill the sand above the water line as this will cause the container to bulge.

Step 2: Pump Set-Up

Prepare the pump by inserting the plastic tubing over the bore. A metal clamp or wire tie can prevent it slipping off. Place the pump on the clay brick at the bottom of the garbage can.

Run the plastic tubing and electrical cord over the edges of the can, to the back close to the GFCI outlet. You will concealboth with plants and cobbles later. See Illustration.

Step 3: Prepare The Bamboo Rods.

Cut the 2.5" bamboo to 40 inches. This will be our upright bamboo. Drill a slightly bigger than 1.5" in diameter throught one end of this upright. Make the hole at a slight downward angle. This will house the 1.5" diameter bamboo which we will use as the spout.

Drill 0.5" pin holes opposite the larger 1.5" holes. These will be used to keep the spout in place.

At the base of the upright--4" from the bottom. Drill a hole large enough for the plastic tubing to pass through. Hollow out the joints using a rebar rod or any other suitable implement.

You can leave the last joint at the top. This prevents rain and derbis from collecting inside the bamboo.

Step 4 Prepare the Bamboo rods. Part 2

Prepare the Bamboo Spout

Prepare the spout for the Japanese fountain by cutting the 1.5" bamboo to 20". Angle one end of the bamboo to form a spout. Drill 0.5" holes to coincide with the upright bamboo pin holes. Drill a hole into the base to pass the the plastic tubing into the spout.

Pass the plastic tubing into the the base of the upright bamboo and throught the spout bamboo. About halfway throught the spout bamboo. Avoid letting the plastic tubing show at the tip.

Attach the spout bamboo into the upright bamboo and secure in place with the 0.5" bamboo pins. Cut to size.

Step 5 Installing the Bamboo Structure

Dig a hole behind the garbage container and insert the upright bamboo. Tamp and fill the hole with dirt. Ensure that your spout falls just less than half the diameter of your garbage container.

Step 6 Final Installations

Place your Fluorescent light grid over the Garbage container. Let it overlap. Place your decorative stones over and around the grid, under the spout. Fill both the stone basin and reservoir with water.

Plug the pump into the GFCI outlet. Adjust your stone basin so that the water overflowing, falls into the garbage reservoir below. You may need to tilt the stone basin a little forward. Place a few pebbles underneath.

Decorate your fountain with plants, trees and shrubs to your taste. Try to hide the grid and electrical wire with cobbles and plants.

There, you've done it. what a wonderful job.

Tips and Techniques

1. Purchase your pump from a pet or garden store. Any major hardware store carry these pumps. Ebay is also a good option.

2. Bamboo is readily available from Craft and Chinese stores. Really large diameter bamboo, can be purchased from bamboo flooring companies.

3. Choose an area of your yard where you can relax, maybe have some shade and space for a bench or hammock.

4.You can place lights to focus on the water. This will flicker like a flame in the night.

5. Choose a weeping Japanese Maple tree to place behind the fountain. This will give a oriental naturistic feel. One that does not grow beyond five feet when mature.

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    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      This is absolutely brilliant! It took me all my strength to stop myself from leaping up instantly from my desk and running out to buy a new plastic garbage bin and a spade.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      9 years ago

      Nice lens. Love the original drawing!

      I want to build a fountain and this lens have given me inspiration!

    • Vitruvian-man profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      [in reply to TheShu]

      Thank you very much. I have a new lens at i also will be sure to check yours.


    • TheShu profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens, very informative and lots of intructions and help.

    • FunGifts4All profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens. I've been wanting a fountain in my year for quite some time. This information is very helpful.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Well-done how-to lens. I especially like the drawing, which is very helpful. Nice first lens. :)

    • BusyQueen profile image


      9 years ago

      I love this lens and thanks for the ideas! 5 *****

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      9 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed this lens and have shared your link with others. Very interesting and I would sure like to try to make one. Thank you for sharing and Welcome to Squidoo!


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