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Terrace Fountain Doubles as a Table


Watch the video at the end of essay to hear the fountain and see how it becomes a table

Video at the end;  hear the water & see how it becomes a table.

It felt great to build a little fountain for his 12th floor terrace.   He loves to garden but up there,  floor space is for plants, two chairs and a small table. Walls can’t be pierced. Fountains are a challenge. I had to step way outside of my normal range of activities for this one.    I’m not a crafty project man.   But I did this for my friend Jamie because he had just spent a week driving  a truck and trailer 1,500 miles and working like a dog helping me install a garden in New Orleans, in full sun and with the temptations of the city just outside our reach.

As we worked in the Garden District, I notice that Jamie really got into installing the wall fountain.  He liked making the water flow, getting the right mix of sound; pour, drip, echo and tinkle.  And at the end of the days he’d say how just the sound of water made it seem cooler in the courtyard.   So, I looked for tiny fountain for him as a small thank you.

Well, in case you haven’t looked lately, small fountain are kind of cheesy.  Who ever designs them seems to have thrown taste, understanding of proportion and functionality out with the bathwater.

As usual, custom is better than off the shelf.  So I sketched out what I wanted for his terrace.  Then Tom and I brainstormed ideas about materials and came up with a plan.   I made this small fountain that doubles as a cocktail table.  It’s elegant, makes a sweet little water noise and it cost less than $65 and two hours to make. And, it has a finial like top that lets be a simple sculptural element when a table isn’t needed.

Here’s how I made this on Sunday afternoon:

1. I bought the latticed, Chinese lantern from Southeastern Salvage, for $39 . A latticed garden stool would work (and already have a top on it.)

2. A coffee can, spray painted black. Free.

3. A tiny, 30 gallon per minute pump and 18″ of hose from the hardware store. $12.

4. A piece of hard plastic or wood to make the top. I cut a square out of $2.50 plastic storage container.

5. A stick and some twist ties to hold the hose up. Free.

6.  It’s pretty basic installation; you can’t go wrong.  Put the coffee can in the lantern, add the pump and tube, use the bamboo stick to cross the lantern and tie the tube too it.  Plug it in.

Total $ Less Than $60.  Here’s a little video of the dogs watching  me work on the fountain.





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