A make-your-own garden totem fountain

I bought myself a make-your-own totem of hand-thrown pottery pieces and made it into a fountain. I help organize a Buffalo-style Garden Art Sale and their booth was next to the booth at which I sat for two days for Garden Walk Buffalo at the Sale.

The vendor was Peter Goergen of JPG Pottery (3385 Maple Avenue, Allegheny, NY 14706 716-951-0172 jpetergoergen@gmail.com).

I watched other folks decide on their height first - an unseen interior metal pole screws into a fitting set in a concrete base. The fitting in the base is an "L" shaped pipe that can accommodate tubing to make it a fountain, although Peter hadn't seen any of his totems made into fountains.

You buy the concrete base and pipe for a base price of $25. Then you can add elements - hand thrown clay dishes, columns, balls, finials and more. And you pay individually for each piece. Price is determined by size, design, and complexity (ranging from $9 to $125 for mine). The total for mine was just a hair over $300.

The fun part was choosing the pieces. After I decided on the pieces and budget (they go hand-in-hand, don't they?), I had to take a photo so I remember how it went together, since I'd be disassembling it to take it home, then reassembling it again days later.
The large leaves in the background 
I pounded out of copper roof flashing.
I did have to purchase a basin, tubing and a pump. Set up was pretty easy. I did add clear silicone between each piece to make it a bit more waterproof and "adhere" one piece to another - not wanting it to be a permanent adhering. I will probably store it inside the garage for the winter – not sure water, pottery, and freezing temperatures are ever a good combination.

I planted it in the middle of my raised bed potager garden. Previously I had a rose standard here (a classic in potager gardens). The standard lasted for about five years, but last year gave up on me. I was looking for something with some height, and wanted a water feature too. So this fit the bill perfectly. Colors were ideal.

Originally, the four quadrants of the potager were planned for vegetables. A River Birch tree planted across the driveway about the same time as the potager now provides too much shade to grow vegetables here. I'm always looking for the right plants to grow in this area that will provide color. The petunias aren't cutting it.


  1. Replies
    1. Glad to know at least ONE person actuality reads what I write!

  2. I wish I had more time to shop that sale. My friends got some lovely pieces. Your fountain looks great.

  3. I did a container fountain for the deck, but not as involved as yours. I had a hard time getting just the right sound of the water. Hope yours sounds as good as it looks.

    1. I found that the louder the sound, the splashier it gets (therefore losing too much water to the environs OUTSIDE the pool). So I had to find a happy medium.

  4. Love the buxus hedges. I've had mixed success with this over the years - seems to be fine for a few years but difficult to maintain in the long-run. Very jealous of yours :)


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