Stock Tank, Rain Chain Fountain

No backyard landscape job is complete without a water feature. This was high on my wife’s list both to provide some pleasant ambient sound and to act as a focal point.

The common DIY water feature is a flower pot fountain, but we wanted something different. Inspired by the corrugated metal on our tool wall and a stock tank we’re growing bamboo in, we came up with the stock tank rain chain fountain. Check out the video on YouTube to see it in action. Instead of going through detailed build instructions I’ll let the photos do the talking and then provide some tips.

550 GPH submersible pump. Turned out this was just the right size.

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PVC pipe frame to support plastic disk that was then covered in cobbles. You can also see the hose and power cord coming in for the pump.

Weather proof outlet on back of 2x6. You can also see the remote control dongle. The pump and some (temporary) lighting is plugged into it.

Weather proof outlet on back of 4×6. You can also see the remote control dongle. The pump and some (temporary) lighting is plugged into it.

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Tubing running up back of fountain from pump. I used 3/4″ until I got to the top, then reduced to 1/2″ for the final run to the PVC pipe manifold.

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End shot of the PVC manifold. You can see the hooks that the rain chains are attached too. I drilled holes into the PVC pipe above the rain chains. I actually drilled them too big and wrapped some electrical tape to reduce the size of the holes.

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Top shot of the 1/2″ tubing running to the PVC manifold. I had water flow into both ends of the PVC pipe. The PVC pipe is attached to a 2×4 sandwiched between the 2×6’s. Another option would have be to just run drip irrigation tube off of the 1/2″ tube to the top of the rain chains.

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Plastic disk in place.

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Stones covering plastic disk. The disk is 1/4″ thick and is sturdy enough to support a thin layer of stones. Since the disk is black you don’t have to worry too much about coverage.

All done!

Tips

  1. Key parts:
    1. 32″ diameter by 24″ high stock tank
    2. 10′ redwood 4×6
    3. Two 5′ redwood 2×6
    4. Two large galvanzied carriage bolts with nuts and washers
    5. 550 GPH pond pump
    6. Miscellaneous 3/4″ and 1/2″ tubing and fittings
    7. Two 8.5 foot rain chains  (we got ours from Monarch Rain Chains)
    8. 3 hooks for hanging rain chains
    9. A 31″ diameter (or whatever size fits inside of your tank) disk of 1/4″ black plastic
    10. Cobbles
  2. General construction:
    1. Sink 4×6 post where you want it
    2. Cut decorative ends on the 2×6’s and attach hooks to inside face of front 2×6. You can also attach the hooks later, but it’s a little tougher once the 2×6’s are bolted to the 4×6.
    3. Bolt 2×6’s to 4×6 post
    4. Cut hole in the back side of stock tank about 9″ from the bottom to run power and tubing to pump.
    5. Run tubing from inside tank, over to post, up post, across rear 2×6. Cut hole in rear 2×6 and run tubing to above the hooks. I ended up using a two foot piece of PVC pipe to act like a manifold above the hooks and drilled holes in the PVC to feed the rain chains. See photos.
    6. Install pump in tank. Connect to tubing. Fill tank with water up to hole. Hang rain chains and give it a test run.
    7. Build a PVC platform to support the plastic disk (see photos). Set platform in tank. I used 1/2″ risers as the legs of the platform.
    8. Drill a 1/2″ hole some place in the disk to help lift it when you need to remove it for maintenance. Drop disk into tank. Cover with cobbles.
  3. For power I tapped into an outdoor outlet and ran conduit to the back side of the 4×6 to a weatherproof outlet box. I then got a cheapo remote controlled dongle that is typically used with Christmas lights. Got it at Lowes. That way we can turn the fountain on and off with a remote.
  4. I purchased the pond pump from Amazon. See photo above. It had pretty good reviews and seems well made. For the flow rating (size of pump) I just took an educated guess, and it worked out nicely.
  5. I wanted to put a rubber grommet in the 2″ hole I cut in the tank for the tube and power cord, but I couldn’t find a grommet of the correct size. So I wrapped the tube and cord with some foam to protect them from the sharp edges of the tank.
  6. The rain chain was pretty easy to break apart and reassemble to turn two 8.5 foot chains to three ~5.5 foot chains.
  7. We had the plastic disk cut at a local plastic store. It was a bit of a splurge, but was worth it. I was originally going to kludge something together with plastic lattice, but the disk worked out great.
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2 thoughts on “Stock Tank, Rain Chain Fountain

  1. Pingback: How to make your own rain chain DIY + 34 Design Ideas for Inspired

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