Flowing Urn with water trickling over the edge
Water trickles and flows over the edges of the urn onto the rocks below. With time, moss and algae will collect on both rocks and container, giving the feature a less contrived feel.

Flowing Urn Water Feature

An ordinary urn, manufactured for pot plants, makes an attractive Flowing Urn water feature in a compact border bed. It takes up little space and introduces the sight and sound of trickling water. Although various containers may be used, a shaped vessel is preferable. You will need to provide or construct a reservoir of water which is hidden beneath the urn.
It is essential that this is designed to accommodate the necessary pipework which will enable the water to flow back under the container. Note that the diameters given for this project relate to the upper openings of containers.


urn approximately 250 mm (’10 in) in diameter,430 mm (1 ft 5in) high container approximately 560 mm (1 ft 10 in) in diameter, 310 mm (1 ft) high
plastic pot, 200 mm (8 in) in diameter, 180 mm (7 in) high
1 x 600 mm x 12 mm (2 ft x ½in) semi-rigid tubing
1 x submersible pump, with 1.4 m (4 ft 6 in) water head
river stones


Step 1.

The first step is to ensure that any precast container you plan to use as the reservoir is absolutely waterproof. If necessary plug up any holes and seal the interior surface. The reservoir here is a planter sold for small cacti displays. Made from fiber cement, it is manufactured with a hole in the base for drainage. It is an ideal shape for this flowing urn feature, as the upper diameter is considerably wider than the base which, in turn, is the same size as the plastic pot. It is also quite simple to fill any drainage hole with a two-part epoxy putty.

Step 2.

Having decided where to site your flowing urn feature, place the waterproof container upside down and mark its upper diameter with flour or chalk.

Step 3.

Dig a 310 mm (1 ft) deep hole. If you are using a similar shaped container, try to slope the walls to avoid unnecessary excavation.


make level
Step 4.

Step 4.

Place the container in the hole you have dug and use a spirit level to check that it is level. Fill gaps with soil and compact.

Step 5.

Cut a hole in the bottom of your plastic plant pot to accommodate the pipework. Put the pump on the base of the waterproof container and place the pot upside down over it.

Step 6.

The urn used must also be waterproof, except for the hole you need for the pipework. Seal any other holes with epoxy putty and allow to dry thoroughly. Paint your flowing urn container if you wish. This one has a rag-rolled finish in shades of terracotta.

drill hole tubing
Step 7.

Step 7.

You will need to drill a hole in the bottom of the urn with a 16mm(5/8 in) diameter to accommodate tubing with a 12 mm (½ in) bore. Push the tubing through the hole so it extends almost to the top of the urn. Use two-part epoxy putty to keep it in place and seal around the tube.

place pot on base connect
Step 8.

Step 8.

Position the flowing urn on the plastic pot so that the tubing extends through it, and join the tubing to the pump connection. Make sure the pot and urn are level.

Finishing off

Step 9.

Fill the bottom container with water and place river stones around the feature to disguise the arrangement below. Note that some of the rocks will inevitably be positioned in the reservoir.

Step 10.

Fill the urn with water, connect the power and switch it on to start the water flowing urn.

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