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How to Convert a Fountain Into a Garden Planter

By Katie Jensen ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pedestal fountains are lovely at providing the sound of splashing water and the interplay of sunlight off the spray of water. However, sometimes the fountain becomes impractical. Perhaps it has leaks that are too costly to repair or there are now children in the backyard and the fountain becomes a water hazard. Converting your pedestal fountain to a garden planter removes that hazard while preserving the beauty of the fountain.

Check the bowl of the fountain to make sure there is some drainage for plants. Fill with water and see if it drains. If it doesn't, empty the bowl and let dry, then drill holes with a masonry drill. An easier alternative is to remove the waterproof sealer between the bowl of the fountain and the pipe that contains the pump tubing to get the water to the top of the fountain. How you remove the sealer depends on the type of sealer. Often it can be pried loose with a screwdriver. Excess water can then drain and the plants won't become water logged.

Fill the bowl with a 2-inch layer of activated charcoal. Over that place a 1-inch layer of gravel and a 2-inch layer of potting soil.

Select tall plants to be planted in the center of the fountain bowl, medium-size plants to be arranged around the tall plants, and finally short trailing plants for the rim of the bowl. Keeping the plants still in the pots, arrange them on the potting soil until you get the look you like. Remove the plants from the pots, place on the soil and fill in with additional potting soil. Cover with a layer of mulch and water well.

Use cacti and succulents as the plants if the fountain bowl is shallow, or less than 6 inches deep. Instead of potting soil, use a mixture of half potting soil and half sand. Cacti and succulents can also be used if the bowl doesn't drain. Because they don't require much water or need to be watered often, there is less chance of them becoming water logged.


Things You Will Need

  • Pedestal fountain
  • Masonry drill
  • Activated charcoal
  • Gravel
  • Potting Soil
  • Plants


  • A quick and easy way to transform a fountain into a planter: Place a 2-inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the bowl. Keep the plants in their containers. Place the containers next to each other in the bowl of the fountain on top of the gravel. Hide the containers under a layer of sphagnum moss.
  • Plants that trail over the edges are stunning when grown in a two-tiered fountain.
  • Seeds can be used to fill in between the plants for a lush look on less money.


  • Disconnect all electrical wiring and plugs before converting the fountain. Most just have to have the pump removed by unplugging it.

About the Author


Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.