Drought conditions are common in Southern California and, even when we seem to be in the clear, we have learned that another drought could be just around the corner. Because of this, it is necessary to make conserving water a way of life and to rethink landscape designs that rely on water features, natural grass lawns or other plants that require far too much water.
If you have a fountain that you no longer want to use as a functioning water feature in order to lower your water bill or do your part to conserve water, you may be able to sell it or give it away. However, some larger fountains may be difficult to remove, you may really love your fountain, or your fountain may be attractive enough to provide the same visual appeal without the water waste.
If you would like to keep your fountain and give it a new purpose that allows it to remain a focal point in your outdoor living area, here are eight ideas to help inspire you to transform it into something new.
How to Repurpose Your Fountain and Save Water
1. Repurpose your fountain as a flowerbed.
This is, by far, the most popular way to repurpose a fountain. Multi-tier fountains are particularly well suited for this and allow you to add lots of color to your outdoor living area without taking up additional room. As a vertical garden of sorts, you can grow almost anything that has a relatively shallow root base. While growing flowers or plants in your flowerbed will still require water, it will help you save water significantly over using a fountain as a functioning water feature. If you would like to save even more water, you can plant succulents, which still allows you to include colorful blooms and trailing plants that will spill over the basin.
If you intend to reuse your fountain as a planter, be sure to remove any drain plugs. You may need to use a masonry bit to create more drain holes to ensure proper drainage for your plants.
2. Reuse a patio fountain as an herb garden.
If you want to save water by no longer using your fountain for its original purpose but you would still like it to have a useful function, consider transforming it into a multi-level herb garden. A multi-tier fountain will allow you to take advantage of vertical space to grow herbs in a smaller footprint, while the herbs will add color and texture to your outdoor living area.
3. Transform your fountain into a centerpiece.
Smaller fountains can be cleaned up and reused as centerpieces for special occasions or everyday use in your outdoor dining room. This brings a unique touch to your décor, adding a bit of whimsy with a look that can be tailored to suit your style. For example, you could fill the basins with seashells, small stones, driftwood, floating candles or pine cones.
For holiday-themed gatherings, you can fill the basins with ball ornaments, fir boughs, plastic hearts, or small pumpkins and gourds.
4. Turn your fountain into garden art.
Some fountains are so beautiful or unique that you can simply turn off the water and they will automatically become an incredible piece of garden art with no additional effort. Fountains – with or without flowing water – are fantastic focal points on a patio or in a garden, so it is no surprise that is so easy to transform them into garden art.
If your fountain is a little boring or lackluster, consider staining it or painting it (depending on the type of material). You can also make it more interesting by adding a fairy garden, mosaic tiles or glass marbles.
5. Repurpose your fountain into a cold beverage bin for parties.
Larger fountains can be repurposed into cold beverage containers by adding ice and a variety of drinks before your next party. Often, fountains are already centrally located, have large basins and hold water, which kind of makes you wonder why more people have not turned them into drink bins by now.
Bonus tip: Put bottled water, juices and sodas in the largest, bottom basin and adult beverages in the smaller, higher basins. This way, you have more space for the items that will likely be consumed more, and little ones will not accidentally grab drinks that they shouldn’t have.
6. Turn a single-basin fountain into a garden hose holder.
Single-basin fountains, particularly those that look like large flowerpots, provide a perfect place to store your garden hose. This attractive container will make your patio or garden look less cluttered and, once you remove the fountain mechanism, it will already have a drainage hole in the bottom.
7. Make your fountain into a bird bath or bird feeder.
Fountains with shallow basins can be transformed into bird baths that will use much less water than a functioning water feature. This can also help attract birds to your yard, and you may even see an increase in pollinators, such as bees, by providing this water source. If you have a multi-tier fountain, you can turn one basin into a bird bath and another into a bird feeder. Just keep in mind that you need to use shallow basins for bird baths and that you will still want to change out the water to avoid providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
8. Turn your water feature into a fire feature.
If your fountain is made from a fire-safe material, you may be able to transform it into a fire pit. This, of course, works best with wide, single-basin fountains. If you are comfortable transforming your fountain into a fire pit as a do-it-yourself project, you can likely run a gas line through the hole at the bottom to create a gas fire pit, or you can hire a professional to do this project for you. If you choose to do it yourself, you can purchase a gas fire pit kit along with the materials you will use as a top layer around the burner, such as fire pit glass, lava rocks or stones.
You can also use a fire-safe bowl to burn wood.
Have you repurposed an old fountain and given it a new function? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!