Step-by-step: Build a Water Feature from a Tree Stump

Last update:

Sharing is caring!

Water features can be an aesthetically pleasing look that adds to the environment of our homes. However, they can often disrupt the natural look of a home garden. A way for us to make them look more natural, is to build off of a tree stump that’s already there!

The process of building a more natural water feature, such as the tree stump water feature, can be a more complicated process. In order to complete the project successfully, try following the steps provided.

Cutting the Trunk to the Proper Height

Before beginning your project, it is important to consider the size of the trunk that you plan on using. The sizing of the trunk is important to measure when it comes to fitting it into the desired area of your garden.

Thing to consider when you’re sizing the trunk stump, is the height and width of the trunk that you choose. Consider mapping out the fountain on paper and what it would look like in varying parts of your backyard.

For example, if what you want is to have a taller fountain, then you would need to cut the stump of the trunk to that desired height. Imagine what it would look like, and if it would be visually aesthetic for your garden.

But if what you want is to have a wider trunk, then the tactic is different. You would need to consider the width of the trunk that you are choosing to work with.

Tip: Be careful to avoid damaging the trunk in any way that could compromise the overall structure or integrity of your future water feature.

Warning: If your tree trunk water fountain is not structurally safe tree when building, then it would limit the life span of your tree trunk water fountain over time. Causing it to break down sooner, rather than later.

Drilling a Hole into the Trunk

A hole, large enough to fit the pipe of the water feature, must be carefully drilled into the middle of the trunk for the placement of the piping. If the whole is not carefully placed and cut to the right size, the piping won’t be able to fit into the structure of the tree trunk water feature.

Tip: Try to ensure that the hole is slightly bigger than the piping. This will allow for you to more easily thread the tubing through the hole in the tree trunk.

Treating and Waterproofing the Wood

After cutting and drilling the right cuts and measurements for the water feature, it is important and necessary to treat the ends of the wood with a brush on or spray on wood preservative. The preservative is vital in protecting your trunk from fungal decay that may occur over time.

Fungal decay can be a danger to the structural integrity of the entire stump that you have. It would cause the wood to erode or rot over time. Which would lead to the breaking down of your water fountain sooner, rather than later.

Once you have finished carefully treating the wood, it is necessary for you to follow up with a waterproof spray or chemical. Waterproofing the trunk stump will help to keep your wooden water feature from molding, decaying and rotting when damaged during storms.

Tip: If you apply a weatherproofing sealant according to the sealant’s provided directions, it will aid you in making absolutely certain that your stump water feature will be able to last for a very long time.

Digging a Placement Hole

Having a placement hole is necessary for the storage of the water for the fountain. The hole should be capable of storing enough water to form a fountain basin.

The fountain basin created should be able to hold up to at least eighteen gallons of water. The water will be held within a plastic storage container, large enough to act as the fountain basin, placed carefully underneath the water feature itself.

Tip: It is necessary to leave at least two inches of space between the plastic storage container of water for the basin, and the ground beneath it. The area beneath the container will be filled with about two inches of gravel. And the gravel will allow for the water of the fountain to be properly drained in the future.

Digging a Trench for the Pump Power Cord

In order for the pump power chord to be placed correctly, it is necessary for you to build a trench which will fit the full length of a PVC conduit. The PVC conduit a piping through which you may thread the power chord.

The PVC conduit will protect the power chord, as well as be able to keep it separate from the rest of the project. Before placing the piping and power chord, it is necessary to excavate the trench properly, so as to be able to place the PVC conduit correctly into the trench.

Once you have carefully threaded the power chord through the PVC conduit, and placed the conduit into the trench, it is important that you bury the PVC conduit and power chord within its current placement.

If you want to learn more, check out our article on wiring an outdoor water fountain.

Once you are done you may return to the rest of the tree trunk fountain project.

Connecting the Ball Valve to the Output

You may be asking yourself, why it is necessary to add a ball valve to an already semi-complicated project. And the short answer, is that a ball valve is capable of giving you an almost full control over the way that the water can pass through your new tree trunk water fountain.

In order to connect the ball valve to your pump’s output for proper function, you must use a threaded pipe adapter.

Covering the Basin with a Metal Screen

The water fountain basin needs to be properly covered up over the top with a metal screen. The metal screen should cover the entirety of the hold between the basin and the wood water feature.

However, it is necessary to thread the power chord up through this area, and the large metal screen can get in the way of threading the power chord. In order to avoid blocking off the power chord, you need to be sure that you have cut out holes large enough that the power chord will be capable of being threaded safely through the metal screen.

Tip: If the screen is still blocking access to the pump and valve assembly, It will be necessary to cut another whole in the metal screen out of concern for being able to once again access that pump and valve assembly. Be absolutely sure to place a rectangular cut large enough to reach your hand through the metal screen without having to remove it.

Connecting the Screen to the Pipe and Applying Sealant

Now that the fountain is just about ready to go, it is time to slide the tree trunk fountain structure over the top of the placement hole. But before doing so, you need to find about two to four wooden boards to place over the top of the screen.

A pipe should be sticking up through a hole and the metal screen, which should also poke through a hole in between the boards.

Tip: If necessary, drill or cut a hole to the right size in the wooden boards.

Underneath the tree trunk water fountain structure should be the two to four boards, carefully placed over the screen and along either side of the pipe. And the wood should be properly treated and waterproofed, as previously done to the trunk, before being placed.

Warning: Be careful as you slide the cut tree trunk over the pipe and make absolutely sure that a portion of the pipe is sticking out of it at the top.

Tip: A silicone sealant is a necessity and should be capable of offering protection to the pipe that will keep it from leaking water into the wood of the tree trunk water feature.

Warning: Leaking water may also cause molding, rotting, and other possible damages to the integrity of the tree trunk water fountain.

Be absolutely sure to cut the pipe down to an almost even length with the top of the tree trunk before beginning to pour water into the basin of the fountain through the screen.

After filling the basin, you should be able to start up the pump. When you start the pump up, the water should be able to begin flowing properly through the entire structure of the tree trunk water fountain.

Tip: Verify that the ball valve works, and that you can adjust the water flow according to your desire, before moving onto your next project.

(Source: How to Build Your Own Fountain Out of a Tree Trunk (

Photo of author


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.

Leave a Comment