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How to Build an Outdoor Rock Wishing Well Fountain

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017

Build your own wishing well fountain to accent any part of your landscape with a few supplies from the home and garden store and a little sweat equity. Decorate the outside of the planter reservoir with rustic rocks from your property or with landscape pavers to make the fountain resemble a wishing well. Before you begin construction, scout out a level location for the fountain and excavation will be easier.

Purchase a treated-wood planter box that's equal to the desired inside dimensions of the wishing well fountain. A galvanized plastic tub also works for small wishing well fountains.

Excavate and level an outdoor area that fits the footprint of the wood planter box, plus a 6-inch extension on each side for the rocks. Center the planter box on top of the excavated area.

Cut a section of heavy plastic pond liner to fit inside the box, from rim to rim, all the way around. Staple the plastic in place around the top of the planter's rim.

Put on a dust mask and follow the package directions to mix a bucket of thinset mortar. Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of thinset along the excavated ground on one side of the planter box. Press medium-sized river rocks or other rocks into the mortar. Follow the process to add a row of medium-sized rocks around the base of the planter.

Spread a 1/2-inch-thick layer of thinset on top of the rocks on one side of the box. Stack and press medium-sized rocks into the mortar; center the second row of rocks between two rocks on the first row. Staggering the rocks makes a stronger wall.

Continue the process to add a second layer of stones to each side of the box. Follow the process to add as many layers of rock as necessary to cover the sides of the box. Always stagger the rock placement on subsequent rows. Fill in with small river rocks.

Place a concrete block in the center of the inside of the box. Attach a fountainhead to the spout on the fountain and extend it all the way. Sit the pump on top of the concrete block. The fountainhead should extend to within 1 inch of the box rim. If not, stack another block on top of the first to elevate the platform.

Drape the power cord from the pump over the back side of the box. Spread thinset along the rim of the box; do not cover the cord. Press small river rocks into the thinset along the rim. Follow the process to cover the remaining three rims with rocks. Allow the mortar to dry overnight.

Fill the planter box with water. Run the power cord to an approved outdoor outlet and plug it in to start the pump. Adjust the fountainhead so that water stays inside the wishing well.


Things You Will Need

  • Treated-wood planter box
  • Shovel
  • Plastic pond liner
  • Scissors
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Medium and small river rocks
  • Dust mask
  • Thinset mortar
  • Bucket
  • Paddle mixer
  • Paddle
  • Trowel
  • Concrete block(s)
  • Fountain pump
  • Fountainhead

About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.