Traffic-Stopping Pondless Water Feature

By Lisa Burns

Published on July 3, 2023

Think outside the box with pondless features

Torri gate pondless water feature.
Children enjoying Torii gate water feature at Backyard Getaway.
pondless water feature made from old car and fire hydrant
Pondless water feature display at Backyard Getaway.

Many years ago at our retail location, we had several different displays, including a koi pond, a raised water garden, an overflowing pot and a pondless waterfall. Thinking outside the box is something we always aimed to do, so we included a couple of unusual features like a Torii gate pond-free water feature that was popular with kids and an old car and fire hydrant turned into a pond-free feature. To say it was a traffic stopper is an understatement! Cars would stop at the light in front of our store, mesmerized by the display, and forget to go when the light turned green.

Granted, most customers do not want an old, beat-up car in their backyard, but it drew attention, and many people visited our location just to see this feature. The feature came about when one of our customers, a retired fireman from New York, gave us an old, decommissioned fire hydrant for Dave to use to create a feature. Our neighboring business was a mechanic who had an old, beat-up car that his daughter had crashed. (She was OK, but the car wasn’t.) They were planning to junk it, so he donated it to the cause.

Pondless Water Feature Construction

fire hydrant water feature
Fire hydrant water feature donated to a local animal rescue.

To create the feature, we dug out a 6-by-4-by-2-foot-deep basin area. This was before Ecoblox, so we used concrete blocks with grating on top to hold the gravel that covered the basin. We sat it on a limestone bed, so the gravel and rock we used came from the ground. Dave ran a 1-inch hose from the pump in the basin up through the old radiator and out the radiator cap, so it appeared that the radiator was overflowing. He also ran a hose out of the fire hydrant, which was placed on an angle on top of the basin area. To add to the effect, he put a fogger under the engine.

A couple of years later when we decided to close the retail store, we repurposed the fire hydrant at a local nonprofit dog rescue. We donated our time and created a pond-free feature at the rescue using funds we raised with one of our pond tours. The rescue still uses the hydrant to this day, allowing the dogs to play in the water.

Link to video:

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