Making FOUNTAINS out of glazed pots; keeping them clean

arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)May 1, 2006

SEALING/WATERPROOFING THE POT:

We have converted three large chinese red glazed and blue glazed earthenware pots- to fountains. we have plugged up their bottom drainage holes by putting black duct tape underneath the hole, and then from the inside of the pot, filling the hole with 'Bondo'. after the Bondo has dried, we apply a thin opaque coat of roofing tar to the entire inside of the pot, up to the glaze. once that has dried thoroughly, the pot is ready to put in place,fill with water , and insert a pump, which we put on bricks.over the pump's water 'nozzle', we then put a piece of tight-fitting black pvc pipe , cut long enough to make a nice fountain but not too high or low. (this height issue and the water fountain 'look' that you want are what takes all the tweaking.)you may also want to play with various pump sizes.

ELECTRICITY:

even though electricians don't recommend this, we then plug in the pump to an electrical outlet using outdoor green electrical wire- like you use for outdoor xmas tree light.we don't bother to bury the wire(unless it crosses a path); we put mulch/shredded leaves over it to hide it as needed, and we do not take it up for the winter. the one drawback to this system, where we plug up the hole, is that you can see the electrical wire that hangs outside the pot, but that can sometimes be camouflaged. we use sealed pots for fountains but also for growing waterplants (cannas, elephant ears, water iris, waterlilies).

we bring in our pots onto a screened porch but in z.5 they can be turned over and left outside if they are raised up off the ground.

CLEANING:

the ugly white milky lime deposits we eventually get on the outsides of the pots-i clean in the fall or spring.we tried Lime-Away but it didn't work well. Instead i devised this system: I use XXXX grade-the finest- steel wool dipped in BOILING vinegar(i plug in an electrical fondue pot next to the pots i'm cleaning to keep the vinegar boiling!!)I go over the outside glaze once-gently but firmly, keeping my st.wool very wet w/ the boiling vinegar. then i let the pot dry. if it still has lime, i go over it again and let it dry. then

i coat the pot with a thin coat or 2- of butchers wax, buffed with towelling.

the pots are placed on columns/pedestals in the gardens.

i personally feel every garden needs some form of water. what a difference it makes.our gardens are on a busy main street so we have fountains and waterfalls spread throughout the garden. the sound is soothing and inviting and helps mask the street noise. i hope some of you find this info useful!

best, mindy

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ltd123(6A southern Ind)

Mindy, those pots sound beautiful. Do you have any photos?
Laura

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:31AM
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LinLee(z5 MI)

Our pot fountain construction sounds close to yours
with the exception of using tape and bondo...we secure the
hose with silicone. Works great.
Linlee

This one is a resin fountain.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 7:11AM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

wow- what very handsome designing you have done (not to overlook the VERY healthy happy growing you've done!)

do you mean that you run the pump's electrical wire out the bottom hole and silicone around it to fill in the hole?
do you think this would work if the pots were on stone/cement pedestals (as ours are) or might the wire throw the pot off balance? maybe i could break a thin tile brick in two and wedge them up alongside the wire below the pot?
appreciate your thoughts-mindy

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:02AM
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LinLee(z5 MI)

Thanks Mindy.
Both of the pots have the pump outside of the pot.
In the case of the tilted pot, the pump is in the pond with it's tubing siliconed through a whole in the bottom.

The standing pot is balanced on a cinderblock which has a hole drilled in the top to allow the tube to both attach to the submerged pump then up through a long piece of PVC
that allows for the fountain effect.

I would think that since the silicone is removable, that submerging the pump within the pot would work the same way.
And it could be removed for the winter months.
Maybe if you can notch out something, possibly a thick piece of tile, so the wire runs flat it may work on a
pedestal.

We've also used (I believe)a plumbers putty, but it
tended to be brittle so if the pot was moved around too
much it sometimes leaked.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 10:32AM
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LinLee(z5 MI)

Mindy...turns out it wasn't plumbers putty, but an epoxy.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:51AM
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annzgw

Lovely photos linlee!

I've also built some fountains and the tip to use silicone is a good idea.
For sealing the inside of the pot, I've had great success with either DryLok or concrete sealers. I usually use the 'wet look' as shown in the link below.
To seal around any openings I've used an epoxy, but the type I used hardens like steel! If your pump ever died you'd have to drill out the epoxy to remove the pump. I find the epoxy at Home Depot......most salespeople can't find it.........in the plumbing section. It comes in a ~5"~ tube and looks like silly putty. It's a two part mix you have to knead together. This causes the material to heat up and then harden. I've used it to plug holes in clay planters and they've never leaked.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sealer

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 1:40AM
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gw:brand-eye

I bought most of the supplies to make one of these and was wondering if using the roofing tar is essential? i'll be using a large glazed ceramic pot.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 4:04PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

it will leak if you don't seal it.do you think i would have gone to all that trouble to DO it , and to give detailed instructions, if it were not NECESSARY?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 4:07PM
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gw:brand-eye

whoa. calm down. i was JUST ASKING! i've seen other instructions that didn't include this step. and i'll be overflowing the pot with the water collecting in a plastic container underneath the pot so i'm just trying to figure out if i need to do it. i'm pretty sure that's the last question i'll ever ask you.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 4:19PM
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kkay_md

Brand-eye--Thanks for asking; I was puzzled, too (one respondent did NOT use the roofing tar with the glazed pot; annz used a concrete sealant). We have instructions (from Sunset Magazine) that did not specify using any sealant at all. Good luck with your fountain. We're using an underground plastic reservoir as well.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 5:26PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

sorry to appear rude,, but if you had explained before- what you have now explained, i would have taken your question totally differently. i post on GW alot-with the intent of being helpful, not hurtful. sorry. and sorry i don't have an answer for your use. but it sounds like others do, so hoorah for GW ers.
best,
mindy

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 10:29PM
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DebZone8(S.Puget Sound)

This is a lot of good info--I'm printing it off.

Thanks!

Deb

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 5:06PM
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rae1_gardener

I have had one I sealed with a cork and Gorilla glue. It's fine, but the pump I had didn't work properly. The pump store manager said that's because I used an extension cord. Well, they don't make the pump wiring long enough, so when you use the outdoor extension cord, the electricity would surge or stop. I now bought a pump which says nothing about extension cords, so we'll see. Anyone else have this problem?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 3:05PM
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arbo_retum(z5 ,WinchstrMA)

rae, all of ours are on extension cords and we have not had the surge problem that we know of.electricians are always very dour when they learn that we've just laid out regular extension cords in the garden, rather than enclosing them in pvc pipe etc etc. 23 yrs so far. if you put your location next to your zone, in your i.d., we can all relate to your info better- both giving and receiving!
best,
mindy

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 8:05PM
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