Tabletop Fountains

You don’t need much to make this “water garden.”

River rocks arranged in a shallow saucer update the classic concept of a rose bowl and make a condiment tray worthy of comment.

Choose glazed saucers that will hold water for your tabletop garden; unglazed terra-cotta will leach water onto your table.

Take your water gardening outside with our directions for building your own water wheel.

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What You Need:

  • 11-inch glazed terra cotta saucer
  • 19-inch glazed saucer
  • Smooth stones
  • Water
  • Freshly clipped flower blossoms


1. To make the tray shown here, place an 11-inch glazed terra-cotta saucer in a 19-inch glazed saucer.

2. Fill the small saucer with smooth stones.

3. Add water, then tuck in a freshly clipped flower blossom. Be sure to leave enough stem so the flower can drink in the water.

4. Place small potted plants in the large saucer, and add some tiny saucers filled with salt, pepper, or other condiments.

A variety of small pumps make it possible to create a miniature fountain almost anywhere. Look for the pumps at garden centers and crafts stores. Prices range from $15 to $35, depending on size, indoor or outdoor use, optional battery packs (to eliminate the electrical cord), and lighting.

What You Need:

This fountain creates a pleasant
gurgling sound that soothes the

  • 8-1/2-inch-diameter clay pot
  • Heavy plastic bag
  • Small pump
  • Extra pot or saucer, optional
  • 8-1/2-inch-diameter plastic saucer liner
  • Small decorative rocks


Step 1

1. Line an 8-1/2-inch-diameter clay pot with a heavy plastic bag. Place the pump in the bottom of the pot. Run the pump’s electrical cord through the plastic bag at the top of the pot, between the pot and the bag, and down through the pot’s drainage hole. To elevate the fountain, place it on an inverted pot or saucer. Run the electrical cord through the drainage hole of this pedestal.

Step 2

2. Add several inches of water to the plastic bag. Fit an 8-1/2-inch-diameter plastic saucer liner to the top of the top pot. Punch holes in the plastic saucer: large holes for the tubing and cord, and several small holes for drainage. Place the plastic saucer over the pot and trim away any excess plastic liner bag. Heap the 8-1/2-inch-diameter plastic saucer liner with small, clean, decorative rocks.

Step 3

3. Trim the fountain’s plastic tube so it extends just over the rocks. Turn on the pump; adjust the rocks and tubing so the water flows gently over the arrangement. As the water drains off the rocks, it should go through the holes in the plastic saucer and return to the plastic bag to be recycled back over the rocks.