Urban Farming

My 15 Minute Japanese Bamboo Fountain

My 15 Minute Japanese Bamboo Fountain

Japanese Bamboo Fountain

For Mother’s Day, my kids wanted to build my wife a water garden, complete with a fountain and water plants.  We found a plastic pot, filled it with water, and went to our local garden center to pick out some water plants and a fountain.  We found a little turtle fountain for the pot; sadly, that 1st winter, I forgot to bring it indoors.  When everything froze, the leftover water in the turtle expanded and split the poor little guy’s plastic head wide open.

Bamboo fountain at the Japanese Garden Portland OR.
Bamboo fountain at the Japanese Garden Portland, OR.

The next spring, my wife wanted to clean it up with new plants and, of course, a new fountain, back to the nursery we went to.  We found several plants she liked but not a fountain.  That same week we went to the Portland Japanese Gardens and saw several basic fountains made out of bamboo.  Being a maker of things, I figured this would be a perfect project to build.  A bamboo fountain inspired by the ones we saw at the Japanese Garden.

A few years back, we planted a small bamboo grove at the back of our lot to provide a privacy screen from the neighbor’s house.  Armed with pruners, I headed to the backyard, looking for the straightest and biggest diameter bamboo stalks I could find.  I cut two stalks and went to work.  To determine the height of the fountain, I wedged one of the stocks in the pot with some rocks, stepped back, and eyed what I thought was a good height.  I cut three pieces, two of them the same length that would reach the bottom of the pot to the maximum height I wanted the fountain to be.  The third piece I cut so it would be from the top of the fountain to just under the water line.

The third piece would carry the water tube.  I have a few really long drill bits in my workshop, probably about 18 inches long.  I used the one that is the same diameter as the tubing to drill lengthwise down the bamboo to hollow it out.  The bamboo is hollow except at the nodes, so all I had to do was drill through the nodes.  Fishing the tube up the stalk was the most difficult part of the whole build as it kept getting hung up on the edge of the nodes that remained from the drilling.  If I build another one, I will probably buy a larger diameter drill bit to give me a bit more working room.

Bamboo fountain with water plants I lashed all the stalks together with some twine and went to work on the spout.  I used the same method to hollow out the spout that I used on the main stalk.  To cut the angle on the spout, I used my Japanese pull saw.  It seemed appropriate for the task, as this was inspired by a fountain I saw in the Japanese garden.  I determined the length of the spout the same way as the height by using my eye to tell me what looked good.  I finished the fountain by lashing the spout to the three pieces I used as the stand and threading the water supply tube through it.  All and all, it was a 15 min build and earned me a few bonus points with my wife.

Support For This Blog


Subscribe! • Like! • Share!

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: