Using Mallee Design Spun Copper dishes to create a water feature

Please Note: The copper dish and sandstone used to make this water feature can be purchased here: Water Feature Components for Large Spun Copper Dish.

The sound and appearance of moving water will bring both focus and serenity to any garden. Mallee Spun Copper dishes can be used to create moving water features, but there are a few things to consider.

The most appropriate design for our dishes involves using a secondary water reservoir, or pond, under the dish. This reservoir collects the water that spills over the lip of the dish. A pump submerged in that reservoir then pumps the water back up into the dish via a spout. In this design the Spun Copper dish remains untouched and the pump is not visible.

Many water feature designs involve a spout or drainage point going through the bottom of the dish. We generally prefer to avoid such designs because puncturing a spun dish may weaken it. Another design involves submerging a water pump directly within the dish. Mallee Spun Copper dishes, however, are designed to be very shallow so that birds can walk into the water. They are too shallow to discretely hold a pump within the water.

Image taken from Zen-Garden.orgThe preferred design is similar to the Japanese Tsukubai. These are washbasins found at the entrance of holy places in Japan. They offer visitors a means to wash their hands before entering a building.

In our case the water serves local wildlife rather than humans entering a holy place. Careful positioning of the spout so that the water lands on a rock platform in the centre of the dish will allow visiting birds not only to bathe, but also to shower.

The diagram below details how to construct such a water feature.

We do not supply all of the necessary parts to create this water feature. We supply the dish, supporting ring, sandtsone plinth with hole, copper spout and 2m hose. Your landscaper or local landscape supplies shop should be able to provide you with the remaining components. These are:

  • Reservoir or pond to catch overflowing water (see diagram for depth and width)
  • Submersible pump
  • Grate to hold dish above the pond
  • Rocks, pebbles or other, to cover the grate

As an example of a supplier, these parts can be purchased from

Pebbles or stones can be collected or purchased at most gardening shops.