Guide: How To Have A Water Feature WITHOUT A Pump

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There are a lot of water features out on the market, as well as DIY models that don’t require a pump in order to function.

Both gravity features and hose fed features don’t require pumps. Gravity features use gravity in order to move the water and regulate bacteria, algae growth, and so forth. With physics on your side, you can create a small water feature in an hour or even a backyard feature in a day.

To learn more about the different types of water features, as well as how you can create your own pump-free model, read below.

How to Create a Fountain Without a Pump

Cascading Fountain

Materials You Need:

  1. Varying sizes of flattened bowls
  2. Garden hose
  3. Wiring to hold the bowls up or hot glue and water-resistant black foam
  4. Rock and plants (optional)

How to Set it Up

When you have a cascading fountain gravity does most of the work for you, so you don’t have to worry about a pump forcing water to move to the bowls. The garden hose is to help push water up and through the topmost bowl, if desired.

You can place the bowls either on top of each other so that the water spills over the edges, or you can have the bowls leaning down into each other to create more of a waterfall look.


With a fountain where you invert the bowls to have the water to fall around the bowls, you will glue the bowls upside to each other. Drill a hole through all three of bowls so as to make room for the hose or piping so water can flow up. A hose will be necessary to force water up through the inside of the bowls and create the cascading effect.

When it comes to assembling the other cascading water feature, the wiring can be wound around each bowl so as to lift them up over each bowl to create that cascading, gravity effect.

Piping can be added or the feature can be attached to the hose or side of the house in order to allow water to flow effortlessly into each bowl. For both of these features, it takes a few hours to assemble and low water pressure to allow water to fall through/over the bowls.

Bubbling Fountain

Materials You Need:

  1. A small spherical ball (can be purchased or made of concrete)
  2. A sprinkler system
  3. PVC piping

Putting Together the Feature

First, what you will want to do to make a bubbling feature is to make sure that your spherical feature is placed on an outdoor plate to hold it in place. Making your own ball out of concrete will require a mold. You can pick any size of mold you want, it entirely depends on your preference as to what you want to put in your yard.

It will take longer to put together if you choose to make your own mold and pour concrete. You may consider putting PVC piping into your circular feature so as to direct water through with the sprinkler system and strengthen the inner walls.

Place over Sprinkler

Putting in your own sprinkler system may be difficult, but adding on pieces for your water feature can be simple when you are putting it in. A larger feature for your front or back yard is more ideal when it comes to placing it over a sprinkler so that it has more weight and won’t be pushed around with the water pressure.

If you notice that it isn’t sitting properly on the ground, it might be too light, and if water pressure isn’t moving through it that means the hole isn’t wide enough for water pressure to push through.

Heron’s Fountain

Materials You Need:

  1. Two large jars with lids
  2. A large basin
  3. Three tubes (can be straws)
  4. Water (of course)

How To Assemble

The fun part about this tube of a water feature is that it doesn’t require excessive work, and is widely considered revolutionary by Heron from Rome. The basin and both jars will be half filled with water.

One tubing will run from the bottom of jar one into the bottom of the basin; the second tubing will run from the bottom of jar two and go up over the water’s edge of jar one; the third piece of tubing will run from jar two to the basin.

How Does It Work?

It is all in the tubing in order for the water to flow from jar two up into jar one and down into the basin. The third pipe, which is the pipe connecting jar two to the basin helps with air flow and pushing the water up and down.

Don’t entirely fill up each jar and basin as the water won’t move around, it will suffocate the air out and won’t push the water up and down. Not only is it a marvelous science experiment, but it makes for a fun little water feature on your kitchen counter or on your patio.

How to Keep a Pond Healthy Without a Pump

Because there won’t be a pump in your pond, it will take a lot more time to maintain the health of your pond. Pumps help to circulate the water and keep down bacteria growth while also circulating the water.

The pond will have to be cleaned regularly and the water changed when necessary. Healthy algae growth will control bad bacteria, but algae can make the water dirty and murky, which means it needs to be changed. More often than not only about 305% to 40% needs to be changed every week or biweekly.

Another option is to use a UV sterilizer. A pond in the sunlight will have excess algae growth, so it is important to maintain the excessive algae growth if your pond gets direct sunlight. Algae growth also reeks and makes the pond look disgusting, so a UV sterilizer will help in diminishing that.

There are some UV sterilizers that can be submersed in the water in order to maintain the water for a longer period of time. Just as the UV sterilizers you can purchase to clean your phone, this does the same type of thing to the water in your pond.

Another natural way of keeping your pond clean is by including aquatic flowers such as lilies or lotuses to help block out sunlight and prevent excessive algae growth. They also help to filter the water so as to keep it fresh, especially if there are fish living in your pond.

Aquatic flowers are also great for adding beauty to your pond and not have to worry about changing the water as often or purchasing a large filter for your pond. However, the larger the pond, a filter may be necessary to help the flowers in maintaining clean water.

There is such a thing as beneficial bacteria, which helps to break down nitrates and ammonia that come from the algae in your pond. It is a great alternative to not having a filter in your pond. These can be purchased at hardware stores that sell items to help maintain your pond.

Pumps vs. Filters

If you have fish in a pond, a pump is important in order to circulate water properly. A pump helps to filter out harmful bacteria and excess algae growth, which is not good for your fish. However, a filter may be able to replace a pump, as the water will continually move without the help of a pump.

Pumps come in all different sizes, and each size regulates the amount of debris, algae, and bacteria in the pond. Small ponds don’t require as large of a filter, while large ponds need a larger filter because of the large amount of water it has to circulate and clean.

How to Oxygenate Water Without a Pump

Without a pump, your water still needs oxygen in order to have healthy algae growth and keep down bad bacteria. No pump, but instead an aerator. Purchasing an aerator is simple, they can be found anywhere including Walmart and Amazon.

More often than not, they need to be plugged in in order to operate correctly; there are a few that are solar powered as well. It is a box-like filter that has tubing to be put into the pond water in order to add oxygen. This method won’t take long to clean up the water and add oxygen immediately instead of taking longer such as natural methods.

If you don’t want to purchase an aerator for your pond, you can also add water from a hose. Adding fresh water to your pond will help to add clean water’s oxygenated aspects to maintain proper algae growth and bacteria.

A natural way of adding oxygen is by adding water barley. It comes in bundles and can be purchased from Amazon as well. You can also grow water barley at the bottom of your pond which regulates oxygen and keeps down algae growth. Natural ways of regulating your water may time a little longer to clean up your pond.

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We always wanted a fountain of some kind at our house, but professional installation was just too pricey. So, we decided to make our own little fountain and after learning how, we thought we should share our experiences to help people in our same situation.

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