Turn a Vintage Wringer Washer Into a Garden Fountain Planter

How-To Repurpose / Refurbish
Old wringer washer garden fountain and planter

Old wringer washer garden fountain and planter.

Turning an old wringer washer into a work of yard art is a surprisingly easy project. Depending on the type of washer and supplies, the configuration of the fountain and planter may vary.

Supplies:

• vintage wringer washer

• utility knife or scissors

• medium pot

• large galvanized bucket

• plastic bottles

• metal screen mesh

• decorative stones

• small water pump

• plants

Instructions:

1. Remove the plastic agitator located at the bottom of the wash basin. The wringer washer used here had a lower center agitator motor nob. When the plastic agitator was removed (it slides right off), there was only about a 4 inch part exposed beneath. Other models may have a longer part to contend with.

Plastic agitator

Plastic agitator.

Remove plastic agitator

Remove plastic agitator.

2. Place an old pot upside down and over the exposed center-part. For this project, an upside down pot was used for the purpose of stabilizing the bucket being placed on top. The bucket houses the water, pump and river rocks. The pot used here was large enough to set the bucket on to securely, yet low enough to keep your bucket under the wringer apparatus.

3. Place a galvanized bucket onto the pot. Be sure it is stable and the correct size. Note: the best way to insure a good fit is to take your old pot with you to purchase the bucket.

4. Once the bucked is placed, add soil around it to fill the remainder of the basin. You will later plant flowers in this part of your fountain. Here’s a money saving trick: empty plastic soda bottles with caps on can be used to fill in extra space in the bottom of the basin to reduce the amount of soil needed and help with drainage.

5. Remove the drain hose on the bottom of the unit and switch the lever  to the open position to allow for plant drainage.

6. Place your small water pump at the bottom of the bucket.

7. Fill the bucket with water, then turn on the pump to test flow. Adjusted accordingly.

8. Wrap a metal basket in metal screen door mesh, then cut two slots – One large enough to fit the electrical cord of your water pump and another for the water tube.

Old metal basket...or even a metal hanging planter will do

Old metal basket…or even a metal hanging planter will do.

Wrap basket with metal screen door mesh

Wrap basket with metal screen door mesh.

Cut two slots for water pump tube and cord

Cut two slots for water pump tube and cord.

9. Pull cord and tube through the slots, then place basket upside down over the water pump. The mesh basket will help keep debris out of the water, while creating a place to pile decorative stones. The water will run over the stones and through the basket and back into the bucket.

Pull tube through mesh

Pull tube through mesh.

10. Run the pump hose through any open spot in the wringer component (not the ringer itself). Then bring it back, up and around, securing it so the water pours down and into the bucket.

Run the pump hose through any open slot low on the washer

Run the pump hose through any open slot low on the front of the washer.

Bring the hose up and behind toward the upper part of the washer

Bring the hose up and behind toward the upper part of the washer.

Push it through to the front of the washer, then secure it so that the water flows down and into the bucket

Push it through to the front, then secure it so that the water flows down and into the bucket.

11. Fill the bucket with river rocks and decorative stones. The dome top of the upside down basket helps the water cascade nicely over the stones, creating a relaxing, trickling sound.

Pile river rocks and other decorative stones around and on top of basket

Pile river rocks and other decorative stones around and on top of basket.

Fill bucket with river and decorative stones

Fill bucket with river and decorative stones.

12. Finish by planting flowers and plants in basin. Vinca flowers were added to the planter. Petunias and sweet potato plants are a great choice as well. They will grow and cascade over the washer nicely. Using vintage appliances as yard art is a nice way to add a little nostalgia to any outdoor space.

Plant flowers that will cascade and add color

Plant flowers that will cascade and add color.

Extra: Adding another element to your fountain, like a small galvanized bucket, can catch the water and add to the sound of the fountain. Here, additional stones were added to the smaller bucket and some positioning was necessary to get the right sound and minimize splashing.

Placing an extra bucket can add another layer and more interest

Placing an extra bucket can add another layer and more interest.

Would you try a project like this?

All photography by guest contributor, Shelly Benkman, HomeJelly

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Written By Shelly Benkman

Shelly is the co-owner of Wild Horse Gallery in Overton, Nevada. She also owns an online store called Cowgirl-A-GoGo (www.cowgirlagogo.com) which features her cowgirl related graphic art. She started to repurpose things several years ago - first, out of necessity, then it turned into a hobby. She and her husband own a large property with horses, goats and dogs, and between the weather in Southern Nevada and the animals, the yard takes a constant beating. Because it can be expensive replacing things as frequently as they need to be, she started salvaging whatever she could and reusing them for other projects.