A Water Wheel

Using new or salvaged grindstones or millstones, you can fashion a water feature to tuck into your garden.

Add this water wheel to your garden as an interesting water element. A water wheel is usually used to convert falling water into power, but this garden water wheel just adds a cute, aesthetic touch. We made our water wheel out of wood, but you can also make one out of cups, cardboard, and even plastic spoons for a fun DIY craft. Follow these simple steps to create an adorable garden element.

Explore more outdoor fountain ideas.

What You Need:

  • Small recirculating pump
  • 2 grindstones
  • Shallow whiskey-barrel liner
  • Soil
  • River rock or chipped brick
  • Board
  • Water
  • Mulch, rock, or spreading plants

Prepare the Liner

For the base of the water wheel, purchase a shallow whiskey-barrel liner slightly bigger in diameter than the large grindstone. This will allow water to run over the grindstones and back into the liner. The liner must be deep enough for the water wheel pump to be immersed. Once you've chosen a location, dig a hole deep enough to sink the liner so it's flush with the ground. Set the liner in the hole, checking to make sure it is level. Add soil around the liner to hold it in place and clean up any soil you spill into it.

Add the Pump

Step 2.

Place the water wheel pump in the center of the liner. Place river rock or chipped brick under and around the water wheel pump, lifting it so it is about level with the top of the liner and securing it in place. Lay a board across the top of the liner. Mark the location where the board matches up with the water wheel pump and cut a hole at that spot. Notch the ends of the board to set down over the liner; set the board in place.The board will help guide the position of the grindstones and will distribute the weight of the stones so they won't crush the liner.

Fill and Plug It In

Position the grindstones over the board, making sure their holes match up with the hole in the board and with the water wheel pump. Fill the liner with water. After, connect the water wheel pump to an electrical source, adjusting the water flow as desired. Use a flow restrictor if needed. Conceal the ends of the board with mulch, rock, or spreading plants, making sure soil doesn't get inside the liner and muddy the water.

Editor's tip: Add water to the liner as needed. The water wheel pump will recirculate the water, but if water evaporates or runs off, it can burn out the pump. Remove the pump before the first freeze in the fall, then set it back in place each spring.

Discover more DIY water garden projects.

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