Monthly Archives: July 2013

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

So this happened.

I have an odd assortment of galvanized buckets and trashcans sitting around this place.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

The white dog wonders why I have so much junk.

One day, I’m randomly looking at these things, and the way they were stacked I suddenly thought, “Those would make a great fountain.”  And so it began.

The majority of these buckets and lids come directly from the cleaning aisle at Home Depot.  The three small buckets are from Ikea (though they are from awhile back, so I am not sure they currently carry them–but craft stores always seem to have similar ones), while the tall french flower bucket….well, I have no idea where I got that.  Similar ones can be found just by doing a Google search for ‘galvanized french flower bucket’, but also, I constantly see them at stores like Michaels, HomeGoods, World Market, etc.  Sometimes they have them, sometimes they don’t. Not pictured in the previous photo is the little milk bucket I happened upon at the last minute at Michaels which wound up being the top tier of the fountain:

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Initially, I was going to top the fountain off with one of the tiny Ikea buckets, but then I saw this and it was just too cute to pass up.

Aside from your fine selection of buckets, there are a few other items you’ll need for this project, including:

–small fountain pump (I got this one from Lowe’s)

–a fountain nozzle kit (I also got this one from Lowe’s)

–pond liner patch kit (like this, also from Lowe’s)

–clear silicone caulking

–tin snips

–needle-nose pliers

–1/2″ or so metal drill bit (and a power drill to use it with….just sayin’….)

–matte light grey spray paint (optional)

First things first: A lot of my buckets have been sitting around in my yard, so they’ve started to dull with age (which is how I like them).  But several of these buckets, lids, and especially the brand new milk jug, were super new and shiny.  Eventually, they’ll all start to age, but to fake it a bit, I give them the lightest dusting of matte light grey spray paint–something like Rustoleum brand auto primer.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

That’s the ticket.

Go easy with this–hold the nozzle far from the object and let the mist lightly hit the metal–the goal here is to still have a bit of shininess showing through the duller paint.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

I’m showing you this image again because I took it right after spraying the can with the Rustoleum.  Sorry–I forgot to take a ‘before’ shot.  Suffice it to say the metal was blindingly, tin-foil-y shiny.

Now, the two trashcan lids that are going to be the fountain tiers come with handles on them.  These need to be removed.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Nope. Don’t need that.

These particular handles are set into the lid fairly simply:

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

The ends of the handle poke through the lid and curl to lock it in place.

To remove, you just have to uncurl the little end and slip the handle out.  I did this using a pair of needle-nose pliers.  It’s a little tough, but just beat that little tab into submission and get it sort of flattened out, and then you can work the handle out of there–you’ll be left with two holes, but these will just be filled with silicone later.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Ta-dah! Holes. In the portion of the fountain that needs to hold water. Perfect.

Now that that little detail is taken care of, let’s assemble the pedestal.  I used a 10-quart bucket that I had lying around (like this one) turned upside down as the base, with an 18 inch tall french flower bucket flipped upside down on top of that (for an overall pedestal height of 24″).  Before you silicone them together into one unit, we’ve got to cut some holes.

In the base of the bucket, you’ve got to cut just a big general hole–shoot, you could cut the whole bottom out of it, but that’s a lot of work (that being said, it would make threading the pump cord much easier if there was no bottom at all–so have at it!).  Punch a hole with a metal drill bit, and then use tin snips to make a hole at least big enough for a plug to fit through, slightly bigger is better.

DIY Trashcan Lid and Bucket Fountain from Farmhouse38

Be careful, always, when you are cutting metal–wear gloves, even. Those jagged metal edges are no joke.

Now, so that you don’t have sharp metal edges cutting into your pump cord, run a nice bead of silicone around the jagged edge:

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Yay for not severing electrical cords!

Now, do the same in the bottom of the french flower bucket, only cut the hole off to one side.  Trust me.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

French flower bucket is horrified. (I already had drainholes punched in this because I was using it as a succulent planter before all this fountain craziness).

After you’ve let the protective silicone edging set just a bit on each of these, flip the 10 quart bucket so that it is upside down (drilled hole side up), run a thick bead of silicone around the top outer edge of it, and slide the upside-down french flower bucket over the top of that–give it a hard push so that they really wedge together.  Let the silicone set thoroughly.

Meanwhile, go ahead and cut a similar hole (big enough for a plug to fit through, but not much bigger), into the larger of your two trashcan lids.  Use one of the two small handle holes as your start hole. What’s nice about these is that they have concentric circle ridges in them (like a bull’s eye), which help you pinpoint where you should put the new cord hole.  Again, this needs to be slightly off-center, right between the first and second circular ridges of the trashcan lid:

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

The hole sits just within the second and first rings of the bull’s eye.

Run your protective bead of silicone around the cut edge, as well, fill in that other small hole leftover from the handle.  While you’re at it, go ahead and fill the handle holes on the other, smaller trashcan lid, too.  Let the silicone set completely.

The next piece of the pedestal is a small bucket, approximately 2 or 2.5 quarts in size.  This is going to fit over the fountain pump housing, and needs to have a hole drilled dead-center in it that will just barely fit the adjustable fountain neck extension that came in your fountain nozzle kit.  The largest drill bit I happen to own is a 1/2″, and the fountain neck part was slightly wider than that–so I had to drill, and then take my tinsnips and carefully snip away at the edge to widen it just enough for the part to fit snuggly through–the tighter the fit, the better.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Proof of where this bucket came from!

Because the part that threads through this hole is made of a rigid plastic, it isn’t necessary to run a bead of silicone along the edge (unless you choose to use a bit of flexible tubing instead of a nozzle kit).  De-burr it as much as possible, though.  Just because.

Now drill a similar hole, centered, in both the smaller trashcan lid (once the siliconed handle holes are set), as well as the bottom of the milk jug, or whatever item you choose to be your top fountain tier.

Assembly time:  run a hefty bead of silicone around the base (now the ‘top’) of your french flower bucket, and place your larger trash can lid, upside down onto this, aligning the hole in the lid with the hole in the flower bucket.  Let set completely.

Once that silicone is dry and secure, set your pump in place (centered in the trashcan lid) and feed your plug and cord down through the hole and out the bottom of the base pedestal.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Leave a bit of slack cord up with the pump- it wants to loop around the pump, so let it. This will allow you to clean the pump later on without disturbing the seal in the trashcan lid.

Now, cut a piece of that pond liner patch big enough to cover the trash can lid hole with a little overlap–but not enough overlap that it sticks much outside of that second bull’s-eye ring (you don’t want it to show outside of the bucket that will cover all this).

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Cut your circular patch, and cut a little slit in one side (make a little Pac-Man). This little slit will fit over the cord.

Peel the protective backing off the patch and press it firmly over the hole, with the pump cord coming through the Pac-Man slit.  Now silicone thoroughly around all edges of the patch, slit, and where the cord goes through the patch.  This is critical.  No gaps.  This is what will keep all the water in the darned fountain.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Don’t be stingy with that silicone!

Now let that set (I let it cure overnight, just to be sure).

Oh, you are so ready to put this baby together!

Move the pump back into the center of the trashcan lid and suction it down with it’s little suction-y feet, and then add the nozzle extension neck thingy.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Now thread each section of the remaining buckets and lids into place over the nozzle extension neck thingy.  They are going to be tight (I effectively ‘screwed’ mine on).  Once they are in place, fill the whole thing with water, and plug that bad boy in.

DIY Galvanized Pedestal Fountain from Farmhouse38

Fountain-ing like a boss.

Eventually this thing will rust and weather (which I want it to do), especially the spots that have been drilled through where the galvanization is now compromised.  Will it last forever?  Nope.  But hey, it’s cute until then.

New Deck Aftermath

Back Deck Before and After from Farmhouse38How’s about we call this a ‘soft after’.  I can’t truly call the deck finished until I’ve decorated the living daylights out of it.  But I figured I’d go ahead and share the befores and afters of the structure itself.  Keep in mind that there are still a lot of loose ends: endless debris clean-up, touch-up painting, trampled garden resuscitation, molested sprinkler line repair, etc, etc, etc.

Remember the sad white dog who lost her deck?

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

So, so sad.

She’s okay with it now:

New Deck at Farmhouse38

So, so happeeeee.

A look at the deck profile:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38


New Deck at Farmhouse38

After. We’re still missing some custom lattice work that will cover the guts of the stairs, as well as the whole lower wall on this side.  Don’t need anyone falling off the stairs onto the lower patio.  I am living proof that this is possible. Oh, and the white dog is MIA because she had squirrels to chase during this shot.  Dog priorities.

New Deck at Farmhouse38

She’s back now. A nice close-up of the hardware-cloth (chicken wire) railing panels.

New Deck at Farmhouse38

A shot looking west across the new deck. We’ve promised our neighbors we’re hanging outdoor privacy curtains along the west ‘wall’. It’s a little awkward to make eye-contact with them through their bathroom window.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Remember this ‘before’ shot of the yard (taken before we actually owned the house five years ago)?

Here’s two images that show that same view now:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

You can see that same lovely grapefruit tree, and make out my car parked where the 2400 cinderblocks that came with the house used to be.  This is also a great example of why we chose to do the chicken wire railing panels–they still allow a nice view of the yard.

New Back Deck at Farmhouse38

The west end of that same view. You can see how nicely the crepe myrtle trees we planted have helped to block the neighbors to the rear.

New Back Deck Pergola from Farmhouse38

The pergola was an absolute must. One day it will be totally covered in vines just like the one on the front deck, which will keep the south (and most brutally hot) wall of the house nice and shaded in the summer.

New Back Deck at Farmhouse38

Another view of the whole new structure.  The square footage went from about 140 sq ft to over 300.  In Southern California, this counts as a whole new room.  Imagine breezy curtains, twinkly lights, an enormous outdoor dining table, and a brand new grill.  And cocktails….lots of cocktails.

One last little detail:

New Deck from Farmhouse38

Had to do it. Yes, that is carved into the top of the new decking.  I’m not sorry.

Now onto the fun part: decorating.  It may be awhile, though, because…..guess what?  We broke.

A Fond Farewell to the Deck of Death

Back Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38I am emotionally scarred by distinctly remember when we walked through our house for the very first time (before we even had any remote interest in buying this hot mess), the Texan and I stepped out onto its rickety old deck.  After the requisite brief moment of panic that it was about to collapse under us, we were able to somehow, through our mortal terror, imagine that it could be a pretty sweet spot if you weren’t busy worrying for your life.  Some might even venture so far as to say that the vision of what that back deck could be was the very thing that sold us on the house.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

This was the scene that we saw on that fateful first walk-thru….charming, isn’t it?

That was five years ago.  We have trudged through all the other, more important, renovations, and the deck has sat at the bottom of the list, collecting cobwebs and dropping mystery screws all the while.  We would stare forlornly out at it from the safety of our house.  We would forbid the dogs from walking on it (because there was nothing more terrifying than seeing the way that thing shook and swayed from just one dog ambling across it).  We would scream “NOOOOO!” in true horror film fashion when an unsuspecting guest would let themselves out onto it.  I have become truly gifted at photographing around it so that it never really showed up in my blog posts.  It has been our dirty little secret.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

I was hoping, through this photo, to be able to convey the spectacular sagging slope of what should be a flat deck.  This photo doesn’t do it any justice.  It was seriously slanted.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

Despite our best efforts, this truly was the dogs’ favorite sunning spot.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

I will, however, miss the weathered, beaten decking–it moonlighted as a background to my photographs frequently.  Never fear–all that scrap wood will be put to good use.  Never.  You.  Fear.

We always knew we would get to it eventually, but we just never really knew when.  Then suddenly, about a month ago, from out of nowhere, the stars aligned.  We pulled the trigger.  I still can hardly believe it.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Millie and Eloise join me as I stare, overwhelmed, at the lumber that I have to sand, paint, and stain for the rest of my life.  The tears are happy tears.  I swear.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

My view every single day for a month. You like my work boots?

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

Chance stays cool as he helps me paint (by soaking up paint dribbles).

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The Texan single-handedly demo-ed the deck.  I have never seen such enthusiasm; he was up there hopping around, tearing things apart like a deranged orangutan. And laughing. There was a lot of really disturbing laughing.

When the white dog came around the corner and discovered that her beloved deck was gone, she was sad….so, so sad….

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

So sad.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Chance hides in the plants to avoid doing any actual work.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The white dog anchors the dirt pile for us.  You know….in case of a freak windstorm.

The morning after demo, this was my view out the kitchen screen door:

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

What’s more dangerous than a wobbly deck? No deck. Sketchy.  Even Millie-bird is concerned.

Fortunately, the new deck started going up immediately.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

The inaugural piece of white header board goes up.  Dang, I really need to paint the trim on those downstairs doors and windows so they match the upstairs….the old deck was such an eyesore that it distracted from my procrastination.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Abbie and Chance test the new concrete stair landing for dryness.  It was dry.  No dog (or chicken) tracks in this pad, despite their best efforts.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The main posts go in. Did I mention that the new deck is going to have a pergola over it just like the front deck? Thus the mega-tall posts.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Millie and Chance take a break in the shade.

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

The end of the first build day.

My view from the kitchen screen door the next morning:

Deck Remodel from Farmhouse38

A little better….but still sketchy.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

By the end of work day two-ish, we had decking down….I would have to walk a little further than the kitchen door to plummet to my death.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

The pergola structure goes up….this was terrifying to watch, I’m not going to lie. Those beams were not light. Not even remotely.

Deck Remodel at Farmhouse38

Once the decking was up, the dogs were strictly forbidden from being on it until we had railings. A certain yellow dog lives by his own rules, apparently.

Deck Remodel at Farmhosue38

The Texan and the white dog survey the scene.  You can see where our ‘no dogs on the deck until there is railing’ policy probably went wrong.

It probably goes without saying….but, despite what it seems in these photos, when the actual demo and construction was going on, our animals were all locked safely out of harm’s way.  Please don’t let your pets stand under you when you are demo-ing your deck.  Also–learn from my mistakes….don’t wear flip-flops in a construction zone.  Trust me.

Also, though we did a large portion of the work ourselves, we did it under the guidance of a licensed contractor (and dear friend–THANK YOU does not cut it to him and to his family for all their help–YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!  You are the very best!).  Thank yous also go out to our neighbors, who came to assist with the myriad heavy lifting and painting, and who put up with a lot of racket for several weeks.  It truly takes a village (says the village idiot).

For now, this is all I’m going to show so that I can do a grand reveal (soon!) of the finished deck.  Is it finished?  As of this morning, I have about a dozen screw holes to patch, sand, and paint, and then, YES–the deck is finished.

The Deck of Death is finally the Deck of Destiny.  True story.

Happy Independence Day from the Parrot

I may have too much time on my hands….but:

A little holiday spirit from the non-chicken bird.

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