Recycling a glass table top into water wall

September 2nd, 2013 Posted in garden design, healing gardens, recycling, water features

Since we featured Elayne Lansford’s Bottle World and healing garden, many of you have asked how to make her unique water wall from a recycled table top.

table top water fall Elayne Lansford on Central Texas Gardener

If you missed the whole story, here’s our garden visit, where Elayne found solace in creative energy during her battle with breast cancer and husband John Villanaci’s lung transplant.

Healing garden by Elayne Lansford on Central Texas Gardener

The original water wall birthed when Elayne snagged a glass table top at Goodwill for $25. You could use plexiglass or have a glass cutter cut one to a size you want. Hers is about 5/8” thick; you could go with something a bit thinner, but you want it thick enough to be stable.

First, they got an underground basin to hold the water and the pump. Elayne chose a  2 x 3 concrete mixing tub that cost $30 at a box store.

concrete mixing basin for disappearing fountain

That proved to be too small for this large piece of glass.  They upgraded to a 3 x 5 concrete mixing tub from a concrete supplier. You could also use a pond liner or any upcycled basin that shows up curbside on bulky trash days!

A disappearing fountain/stream basin has hinged grates on top. Instead, Elayne and John used two sections of wire shelving. The ends form a trough for the glass. The second shelf is on the left under the rocks.

disappearing fountain grates Elayne Lansford Central Texas Gardener

To keep the glass secure, a welder friend made anchors. If you’re not lucky to have a friend like that, a welding shop can do this.

disappearing fountain anchor

Since the wire shelving could sag under its rock overlay, Elayne placed a large stone underneath each side.  At the end for the pump, they cut the wires to lift a section for maintenance when needed.

disappearing fountain moveable grate for pump

The first design inserted and clamped vinyl tube from the pump into one end  of the pipe.  They capped off the other end.

copper pipe and vinyl tube for pump disappearing fountain

cap for copper tube

copper tubing cap

With the round design, though, they ran into uneven water distribution. John notes that a square or rectangular design would be easier.

But he and Elayne are all about challenges!  So, he’s starting over. John is in experiment mode for hole size and spacing on  new 1/2″ soft copper tubing. Like the first design, the holes for the water flow will only be in the section that hugs the top of the glass.

holes in copper pipe for fountain

This time, he’s uniting two sections of copper tubing with couplers in order to attach the water tube at the top for more even distribution. One option was 3/8″ clear vinyl tubing to the pump. (Actually, you would have another coupler here between the two for a snug fit).

Vinyl tubing to copper disappearing fountain tube

In the end, they’re probably going with a section of 3/8″ copper for visual appeal.

tubing plastic and copper for disappearing fountain

Note: The copper tubing couplers will mean sweating and soldering.

To attach the copper tubing to the glass, John will simply crimp copper clamps to secure it.

copper bracket

copper tube on table top water wall

This is totally an experiment for Elayne and John, and there are countless ways to do it. I’d love to see your inventive designs!

Thanks for stopping  by! Linda

  1. 19 Responses to “Recycling a glass table top into water wall”

  2. By Jeannie Hanson on Sep 2, 2013

    What a fine project for some ambitious soul! Thanks for including the specifics. Jeannie


    Linda reply on September 3rd, 2013 7:06 pm:

    Yes, Jeannie, it IS ambitious! But Elayne reports that John got it working beautifully today. Actually, you can do something far easier. This is just one story of garden adventure.


  3. By Susan Wittig Albert on Sep 3, 2013

    Totally inspiring, Linda! Thanks for the great photos and how-to, and kudos to Elayne & John for sharing their creativity.


    Linda reply on September 3rd, 2013 7:05 pm:

    Dear Susan, thank you! I wish you and Elayne could meet.


  4. By Lee Gunn on Sep 3, 2013

    Where do you get glass “frag or slag” the cacti guy talked about?


    Linda reply on September 3rd, 2013 7:05 pm:

    Great question, Lee! I’ll ask Eric at East Austin Succulents. He’s one of those creative people who just runs into stuff.


    Linda reply on September 12th, 2013 4:47 pm:

    Hey Lee! Eric gets it at Living Desert Cactus Nursery.


  5. By Tina Colgrove on Sep 11, 2013

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing! Would love the answer question about ” Where do you get glass “frag or slag” the cacti guy talked about?” You are awesome for giving your time and effort to share this magnificant project. And a great big thank you to Elayne and John for sharing their brilliant creation!


    Linda reply on September 12th, 2013 3:24 pm:

    Thanks, Tina! I asked Eric about the slag. He buys it somewhere or other for $3/lb. Let me see if I can nail him down on that & I’ll let you know!


    Linda reply on September 12th, 2013 4:46 pm:

    Hey, Tina! Eric says he gets it from Living Desert Cactus Nursery. Are you in Austin? They are fabulous. I should have remembered that they have slag and lots of cool rocks, along with plants and pots!


  6. By Heather/xericstyle on Sep 12, 2013

    This is AMAZING. I love the way this couples garden is so deeply personal…they are very creative!


    Linda reply on September 12th, 2013 4:45 pm:

    Hi, Heather! They are so wonderful. And hey, I’ll be getting in touch soon. Would LOVE to tape your garden for CTG!


  7. By Val on Mar 21, 2014

    So I’m alittle confused, if the clear tube connects in center at top how do you disguise clear tube?


    Linda reply on March 22nd, 2014 2:17 pm:

    I hadn’t thought of that! You could still do it at the bottom, though.


    Val reply on April 6th, 2014 9:32 am:

    Oh ya I guess that should work, thanks I have to try this it’s so beautiful , I’m gonna try putting where I have my little pond in replace of it, I’ll just use the pond a it is with the pond liner! :)


  8. By Wendy on Mar 24, 2014

    This looks wonderful, but i don’t understand a few things:

    is the concrete mixer pan, metal, plastic, or what/

    does the “soft” copper tubing just bend around the table top? or do you need tools or a lot of physical might? I’m an older gal, and i don’t have help, or a bunch of fancy tools-don’t want to buy em either.

    Roughly how much water do you need to make this thing run? is there a minimum amount the pan should hold, or a ratio to the size of the table top or piece that your water will run down?

    How big a pump do you need? again a ratio to get a certain amount of waterflow so that is looks impressive like in the pictures?

    I actually have such a table top, that i can’t get rid of, so i decided I had to do something with it, and this seems just right-I have a little prayer garden, i’ll just bet birds and butterflies would love to have me add this to their little sanctuary.

    Also, do you think a solar pump or some kind might be able to work on something this size, my table top is 42″ round. I don’t have electricity, so i’d have to run an outdoor extension cord a long way to service this.

    Lastly, do you have any hints on the kind of pattern I need to make with the holes, or would it be a good idea to just an old hose as a practice template for the copper tubing? I could try a few then, if you think it might work

    Many thanks for the post, it really is beautiful, and it would be such a lovely soothing site-i have my own health issues, which is why i started the prayer garden to begin with. I’d love to add this and send you pictures. All the best, wendy


    Linda reply on March 26th, 2014 5:17 pm:

    Thanks, Wendy! I’ll send this to Elayne and email you with her response!


  9. By Christine on Jul 29, 2014

    Interestingly enough I have the same questions Wendy posted on March 24. I also have a table top I can’t get rid of, am doing this on my own and am planning to use a solar pump. Would you be so kind as to forward me the answers to Wendy’s questions. Was she successful?

    It’s such a beautiful idea. Thanks for sharing.



    Linda reply on July 29th, 2014 7:30 pm:

    Hi, Christine! Here are Elayne’s instructions. You may have to modify but here’s the basic concept. Best, Linda


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