If you dream of creating a natural waterfall in your backyard, but simply don't have enough room for a large water feature, you'll love these plans for creating a mini waterfall in a container. With a decorative container, a five-gallon bucket, a submersible pump, decorative stones and few supplies, you can create this beauty in an afternoon. Here's what you need to do.

Additional Supplies

  • Sheet Metal
  • PVC Pipe
  • Tin Snips
  • Drill
  • Screws or Rivets
  • Black Waterproof Paint


  1. Select an attractive container that is about 4 to 6 inches taller than your five-gallon bucket to house your waterfall. Large plant pots, barrels, basins and buckets are common containers, but don't be afraid to use any container that strikes your fancy. Visit flea markets for items you can upcycle if something a little more eye-catching is your style. Think vintage wash tubs, old sinks or wooden crates. The container does not need to be waterproof, as the five-gallon bucket will hold the water.
  2. Measure the diameter of the opening in your container. Trace a circle to match the diameter of the opening onto a piece of sheet metal.
  3. Use tin snips  to cut a circle from sheet metal.
  4. Mark the center of the circle and make a cut from the outer rim of the circle to the center point.
  5. Draw a 1- to 2-inch circle in the center and cut this out with tin snips.
  6. Overlap the cut edges of the sheet metal to form a shallow funnel. Screw or rivet the edges in place. This funnel should have a depth of approximately two inches.
  7. Spray the sheet metal funnel with black weather-proof paint and set it aside to dry. This will prevent rusting, while also making the sheet metal nearly invisible when the waterfall is assembled.
  8. Place the five-gallon bucket inside the container so that it rests in the center.
  9. Attach an 18-inch length of PVC piping to the outlet hole on the submersible pump and situate the pump in the bottom of the five-gallon bucket. You may need to use flexible hosing on the outlet valve and slip the pipe inside the opposite end of the hose.
  10. Drape the cord to the submersible pump over the side of the container, or drill a hole in the bottom of your pond container (not the five-gallon bucket) and thread the cord out through the hole.
  11. Fill the five-gallon bucket with water.
  12. Slide the metal funnel over the PVC pipe and nestle it in place on top of the five-gallon bucket so that the sides slope downward toward the center hole. The funnel will conceal the bucket and cover the entire area inside your pond container. It also works as a funnel to direct the water back into the five-gallon bucket.
  13. Cut the top of the PVC pipe so that it is about two to three inches from the top of the funnel.
  14. Cover the top of the funnel with decorative rocks.
  15. Position larger rocks, potted plants or other decorative items around the base of the container to enhance the appearance of your waterfall.
  16. Turn on the submersible pump. It will force water up the pipe. The water will then cascade back down over the rocks in the top of your container. The funnel directs the water back into the five-gallon bucket where it is recirculated. Your waterfall will continue to flow as long as the pump is turned on.


  • Assemble your container waterfall in its intended location.
  • Check for outdoor outlets before choosing a location for your container waterfall. The cord from your submersible pump should reach the outlet easily without the use of extension cords.
  • Choose plants that are known to thrive in the lighting where you intend to locate the waterfall. Tropical plants are likely to thrive in the added humidity created by the waterfall, but most will suffer in direct sunlight. Check with your local nursery if you are unsure of which flowers to choose.

Your new container waterfall will bring you hours of enjoyment and will last for years with proper care. Always turn the pump off at night or when you are away, and don't forget to drain the waterfall before winter arrives if you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing.