Bird baths, fountains or decorative statues may have been a beautiful way to add visual interest to a garden in the past, but standing water is the LAST thing you want in your yard with the very real threat of mosquito-borne illnesses, like Zika.
Our new house came with a two-tiered fountain that featured cascading water…if we could only fix the rusty 40-year-old pump motor. After a few hard rains, the fountain turned from a unique conversation piece into a mosquito breeding ground.
My husband and I agreed that we needed to come up with a solution fast before our lovely new home became ground zero for Zika in Central Florida. (I was having nightmares of how the media would pin this on us – “Orlando Couple Breeds Zika In Courtyard And Ruins The Happiest Place On Earth.” No, thank you!)
After we ruled out fixing the pump issue and running the fountain 24/7 (cha-ching, power bill!), we decided on a plan that would fit with the other landscaping projects that we had planned for the courtyard.
We turned our fountain into a flower planter!
How To Turn A Fountain Into A Flower Planter
When we decided to convert the fountain into a flower planter, we wanted to do it properly so that flowers would stay alive once planted inside. Here are 3 simple steps to convert an old fountain or bird bath into a lovely centerpiece in your garden or yard.
1. Drill drainage weep holes. It’s okay if you’re scratching your head about this term. I didn’t know that drainage holes at the bottom of a concrete structure were called “weep holes” until my husband mentioned the name as he was drilling one. He’s in construction so he knows these things. 🙂
We wanted to make sure that excess water had a way of escaping from the bottom of the foundation during heavy rain storms – which happen ALL THE TIME here in Florida! My husband used a masonry drill bit to puncture through the concrete to create weep holes.
Here’s a closer look at a drilled weep hole draining water.
2. Add rocks. After the drainage system was in place, I stacked several stones around the hole to prevent soil from rushing into the weep holes during a heavy rain storm. Make sure not to cover the hole, but rather position the rocks around to protect the space for extra water drainage. Don’t worry about buying fancy rocks at the store, just use whatever rock-like materials you have in your yard!
It’s been over a month of heavy rain (and a tropical storm!) and the weep holes in our fountain are still working properly. I have to give the rocks some serious credit.
3. Fill the flower planter. Add your favorite soil directly into the bowl and plant a colorful variety of small flowers. The more variation of color, height and texture, the better! I also included ivy to grow over the sides of the fountain. I bought these flowers at Lowe’s, but I love purchasing small seasonal flowers at Walmart’s garden center where they normally carry a good variety for around a dollar.
If flower arrangements stress you out, let me give you some advice – YOU CAN’T GO WRONG! The only mistake that you can make is using all of the same color flowers. (And even then, I think it would look nice.) A simple rule of thumb is 3 different colors (like red, white and yellow) in 3 different textures. Below is a picture of my front door planters at my old house. I LOVED this combo of inexpensive flowers!
One of my favorite parts of my new flower planter is that it’s right out the window in our dining room. I’m able to enjoy the flowers each time I walk through the house. Now, if I can only get my act together to landscape the rest of the courtyard! 🙂
Do you have any unique flower planters in your yard or garden?