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How to Convert a Birdbath to a Fountain

Lisa Wampler

Converting a birdbath into a small fountain is an excellent way to add extra appeal to an already functional piece of landscaping. Installing a fountain is not a difficult task, but there are several items you must consider when completing the conversion. After all, the object of a birdbath is to attract birds, not to scare them away.

You can install a fountain in a birdbath to make it even more attractive.
  1. Locate a submersible pond pump that will stay completely submerged in the basin of the birdbath. Most home improvement retailers sell small pond pumps designed for use in small prefabricated koi ponds. In addition, many pet supply stores that sell aquarium products also sell small fountain pumps. If the pump rests above the water surface, it could force air through the pump, which could damage it.

  2. Position the birdbath next to a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outdoor-safe electrical outlet. If you do not have one, you must install one or have a licensed electrician install one for you. Although you can obtain outdoor-safe extension cords, most areas have regulations on the length of time you can use one. Consult your local building permit office to determine if an extension cord is acceptable.

  3. Place the pump in the center of the basin and fill the basin with water.

  4. Attach the aerator or fountainhead to the water pump, and then connect the pump to the electrical outlet.

  5. Adjust the pump pressure to a setting that will not deter birds from coming to the birdbath. In addition, the flow of water must not allow the water to escape the basin. Otherwise, it will run dry. The process for adjusting the pump pressure differs on most pumps, but in many cases, rotating the fountain head clockwise or counterclockwise will affect the intensity of the fountain.

  6. Add decorative plants or vines behind the birdbath to hide the cord that connects the pump to the electrical outlet.