For the dog that has everything: Build this working conversation piece.
With only a couple hours of build time and about $80 in materials, you can convert a realistic looking plastic fireplug into a working watering receptacle - and create an irresistible backyard doggie lavatory in the process.
Placed just off the patio, your dog can make quick use of the fire hydrant without taking 20 minutes to sniff all over your yard.
Working fireplug with coiled watering hose attached.
The build is simple, with very few parts required. After purchasing the novelty fireplug, you will need a foot-long pipe, some hose fittings, and a little concrete to finish the project.
Depending on the diameter of the pipe you use, you need to first cut a hole in the bottom of the fireplug to facilitate a 12" long by 3" to 4" pipe. Place the pipe into the hole so approximately 4" remain below the base of the fireplug.
Place some bricks (about 4" tall) on both sides of the pipe and stand the fireplace up on the bricks, so the pipe stays about 4" below the base, then mix and pour in concrete around the pipe on the inside of the fireplug. Let it set.
Optional: You can also pour in concrete on the inside of the fireplug lid to make the fireplug more rigid.
Cut off the fake plastic "nut" on the front of the fireplug, then connect the hose to a brass quick-disconnect fitting, using a red-painted washer or rubber gasket to fill in the larger size of the hole.
After the male end of the hose is positioned properly out of the front of the fireplug, go ahead and pour in some more concrete inside the side cavity to further strengthen it and firmly hold the hose and male fitting in place.
After the concrete has set, wrap some Teflon tape around the threads, then attach the brass quick-disconnect to the male hose end.
Note: If you use a quick disconnect female fitting on the fireplug that has a shutoff valve, it will automatically stop the water flow when you disconnect your garden hose.
Determine where you would like to place your fireplug, making sure that there is a convenient path to bury the source hose to a hose faucet.
After a good location is found, dig a hole about 8" deep and lay down some small bricks or rocks to set the pipe on. This will allow the rubber hose to lay properly below the bottom of the pipe.
Bury the pipe so the bottom of the fireplug is flush with the surrounding ground, using a level to make sure it stands up straight. Pack in dirt under the fireplace until flush with the ground. Finally, bury the rest of your hose and connect the other end to a garden hose faucet, and you're set.
The only problem you might have is if a snoopy neighbor calls the police, claiming that you're stealing water from the city to water your plants!
What makes this fireplug look particularly realistic (even under close inspection) is the plastic injection mold creates mold lines that look similar to iron casting lines of real fire hydrants.
When everything is completed, it should provide years of reliable use.
Since this installation was in Scottsdale, Arizona, there were some initial concerns for how the plastic would hold up in the 115-plus degree summer heat. After more than two years, there has been no noticeable degradation, and the fireplug still looks and works great.
The red color of the plastic fireplug looks fine, but if you want to further protect it, or do some annual touch-ups, you can spray paint it. Krylon Fusion for Plastic works great. (Color #2328 called "Red Pepper - Safety Red").
The dual-purpose fireplug is a great addition to any backyard. The only problem you might have is if a snoopy neighbor calls the police, claiming that you're stealing water from the city to water your plants!
Doggie Fireplug in Use
Breakdown of Materials Used:
Doggie Doolie Plastic Fireplug: $50
12" Long Scrap Pipe: $20
(3" to 4" ID - use any scrap metal pipe)
Hose Fittings: $5.00
Total Cost: $80