Cottage Garden Project

Water Feature or Pipe Dream?

The one essential element that’s missing from the cottage(ish) garden that Jo and I have been gradually developing over the past three years is a source of moving water. We didn’t want to put in a pond – if only because we didn’t know much about pond planting or pond care – and all the wall-mounted water features I’ve seen for sale have tended towards the overly-decorative, or have just been downright plastic-tacky.

I do, however, have a (possibly mad) idea that I’ve been toying with for a couple of years. Twelve years or so ago I helped my grandmother move house from Tenby to Leeds. After we’d packed her personal possessions up and my folks had driven her off to her new bungalow, I was left to supervise the loading of the rest of the furniture and decades’ worth of boxed stuff into the removal van.

Poking around in the attic, I found an old, salt-glazed, stoneware demijohn that has been left behind. I grabbed it, brought it home, and have left it standing in a corner of the garden (or down at the allotment) ever since:

Stoneware demijohn

It seems to me that if I could somehow rig up a reservoir, and a power source, and a pump set to burble a steady flow over the top of the demijohn spout, then I might just have the makings of a rather unique and interesting-looking water feature.

Unfortunately, I have no real idea how I’d go about setting up such a thing. I guess I’d have to suspend the out-flow in the neck of the top aperture, and run an inlet pipe out of the bottom spout and into a subterranean reservoir? Or something?

If there’s anyone out there who tackles hare-brained schemes like this on a regular basis, or has a better-than-average working knowledge of water features in general, or just a damn good idea as to how I could make it work, then I’d love to hear from you. Please do leave a comment below…

5 replies on “Water Feature or Pipe Dream?”

Hi Darren,
Your water feature idea looks perfectly possible. You can buy a water feature reservoir or make one, you’d need a plastic container with a metal grill over the top to support the demijohn. Cover the grill with cobbles to disguise it. Pump goes in the container / reservoir and would be connected to the bottom spout of the demijohn by flexible pipe. There will be a way of connecting it and ensuring it is waterproof, just depends on the diameter of the spout. When the pump is turned on the water would fill the demijohn and then overflow back into the reservoir. Does that make sense?

You know what, Jonathan, that’s an excellent point, and one I hadn’t thought of. I was assuming I’d need to run piping from the bottom hole up to the neck somehow, but it hadn’t occurred to me to use the whole demijohn as a water reservoir… thank you very much indeed!

I guess now all I need is a rubber bung with a hole through the middle – which I ought to be able to source from a homebrew shop, or online. Although I’ll bet this old demijohn has a non-standard imperial sized hole rather than a metric one. Still, worth a try 🙂

If you can’t find the right sized bung I’m sure it’d be possible to rig it up using either silicone or an epoxy resin that’s commonly used in aquariums. Just ensure the reservoir is big enough as the demijohn is going to take quite a bit of water to fill up and you’d be surprised how quickly evaporation and splashing will reduce the water in the feature

Thanks again Jonathan, great advice. I’ll look into all of the above, see what can be done. And then all I need to do is work out where in our smallish garden I can dig a big enough hole for the reservoir… 🙂

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