The Stacked Dishes Water Feature

The design of our Stacked Dishes Water Feature tries to strike the right balance between beauty and practicality. It is one thing to design a beautiful water feature, but quite another to design a practical one!

One of the challenges of water features is that they require ongoing maintenance.  Debris that has fallen in the dish needs to be cleaned out, the water needs to be topped up and, having a limited lifespan, the pump will ultimately need to be replaced. The Stacked Dishes Water Feature makes some compromises which we hope will ensure longevity of use.

In this design, neither dish is perforated or plumbed. They remain intact. This means the pump's power cable enters the water by going over the lip of the bottom dish. Creativity must be used with plants, rocks or other, to hide the cable. The payoff is that it is very easy to access and maintain the pump. Simply lift the top dish and you have full access to the pump mechanism.

Since they are nor perforated, both dishes can be re-appropriated as simple birdbaths. In the long term, water features have a tendency to be abandoned and it would be a great shame for our dishes, which will last a lifetime, to lie un-used.

Topping up the water is very easy. Simply point the hose to either the top dish or bottom dish and fill until the water approaches the rim of the bottom dish.

Another benefit of this design is that the Stacked Dish Water Feature can be retro fitted to any existing Extra Large or Large dish.

The  photo on the right shows the pump component, which is not attached to either dish. It consists of a water filter, pump, supporting ring and spout.

On Pumps

Pumps will always require maintenance and will ultimately need to be replaced. It is difficult to predict the lifespan of a pump, but warranties are a good indication. Reefe pumps (considered to be above-average quality) have a 2 year warranty, and so should last maybe 2-4 years, depending on various factors such as how clean the water has been kept and whether the water feature has been in continuous operation or not.

The Reefe pumps we use are 12V or 24V AC pumps. The low voltage means that the cable need not be buried 600mm underground in conduit (as is the code for 240V pumps).

AC pumps have a few benefits over DC pumps. They tend to be smaller, they often don't use brushes (which wear out faster) and are better at continuous operation. If you wish to power your pump with solar power, our recommendation is to use a low voltage AC pump and use a DC-AC inverter between your solar cells and pump. Consult your nearest electrician for help.

Pump Noise

The sound of water is a key component of a water feature. Unfortunately, the sound of the pump is a necessary companion to moving water. Again, the Stacked Dishes Water Feature tries to strike a balance. Without water, the pump is audible one or two metres away from the feature. The sound of the water masks the pump noise, and we have found that adjusting rocks sitting in the middle of the top dish can dramatically change the 'noisiness' of the water. If the water jet lands on a smooth stone, the water is very quiet. If the water jet goes directly into the water, it is louder. And if the water jet lands on a jaggered stone, it can be quite loud. We prefer a quieter water feature.


Installation is very easy and consists of stacking the four components together.