Stacked Garden Planter with DIY Fountain

This surprisingly easy garden project combines stacked garden planters with a solar-powered DIY fountain.

Last year, I saw a picture of a fountain that doubled as a stacked garden planter. I fell in love with the concept, but I couldn’t find instructions for making it. So I came up with my own design for this garden project. And while I was at it, I made it solar-powered, too. This is a really simple project. The most vital step is choosing a location before you begin, because the finished project is very heavy. Remember, the sun must be shining directly on the solar panels for the DIY fountain to work, so choose the sunniest place in your yard.


  • 2 pots of different sizes
  • Platform to fit inside larger pot
  • Soil
  • Plants
  • Solar-powered fountain unit

Step-By-Step Instructions:

Step 1

This project starts at the garden center where you choose your containers. In the picture, you’ll see that the fountain features a smaller pot nestled in a larger one. (The third pot visible behind the large one is not necessary.) While you’re at the store, test out different pots to see how they look together. You’ll want to make sure the proportions are right before you get them home.

Step 2

Once you have your containers home, look at the bottom. If your large pot doesn’t have drainage holes, drill a few in the bottom so your soil won’t be soggy. If your small container has drainage holes, you’ll need to plug the holes to hold water for the fountain.

I used cork to plug the hole and then covered it with heavy-duty plastic using hot glue. You don’t have to use cork, but choose a material that won’t deteriorate. Make sure all the edges of the plastic are glued down and everything is dry. To check for leaks, pour a pitcher of water into the pot.

Step 3

Put the platform in the larger pot. The one pictured here uses a wooden platform fitted about halfway down into the container. If you’re using round pots, you could also use an Ups-A-Daisy planter insert.

Place the smaller pot in the larger one, setting it firmly on the platform insert. Make sure it’s level and secure. Then fill the space between the pots with potting soil.

Step 4

Slowly add water to the top pot, making sure the pot stays level and safely seated in the soil. When the small pot is full, plant your flowers or greenery in the large pot and pack the soil tightly around the small pot to keep it secure. Water the plants until the water seeps out the drainage hole of the bottom pot, adding soil as necessary.

Step 5

Finally, unpack and assemble the solar fountain and place it in the small pot. I used a self-contained unit where the solar panels float on the water. Other models have solar panels that are connected to the pump with wires, with the panel generally stuck into the ground some distance away. The latter, which are designed mostly for ponds, won’t work as well for this project.

As the water evaporates, add more. And don’t forget to water your plants, too!