As I roll into my third year of homeownership and continual landscape improvements, the time has come to create my perfect corner of tranquility. Knowing where my garden borders lie, and what plants complement each other, have helped to provide me with an idea of where I would like to add further interest. The use of water in your garden is much more than how your plants utilize it; the addition of moving water incorporated into your garden becomes part of the overall design and desired comfort of your yard.
Waterfalls and water features are more than just pleasing aesthetics for your garden landscaping, they are a peaceful and mind-relaxing addition that brings ambiance to your outdoor living space. Whether in quantities of large or small, trickling water makes your yard look more spacious, and attracts beneficial birds and insects (like butterflies and other pollinators).
Waterscapes most definitely do not need to be large or expensive. If you have the room and want to use the space, there are many ways to fill your area and stay within your budget with a little bit of planning. If you are uncertain about the time and effort required for anything large, consider smaller waterfall features that incorporate running water, but on a scale you can handle.
Garden waterfalls don’t need to be traditional in nature. Consider mixing it up and having a bit of fun! Most people love to add fish into their ponds for both cleaning purposes, and something to look for, but if you aren’t interested in digging a pond, find yourself a good-sized used aquarium at a local second-hand shop, and get creative!
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Waterwalls are becoming increasingly popular, and are fairly easy to incorporate into existing structures if you don’t feel like becoming an overnight carpenter. A simple pump system and some PVC pipe tucked against an overhead pergola or deck shade are all you need! Add in some decorative rock and an inexpensive plastic bin for collection, and you have a complete feature that is simple to winterize as well.
My favorite way to stay within budget is to look around at my collection of junk and then research how I can use it. This shovelhead waterfall feature is an awesome way to reuse your broken and old garden tools and create an original visual for added interest.
Don’t give up on your dreams of a waterfall and pond. You don’t need to think large to have exactly what you want. A small garden corner can be easily transformed to add the interest you crave and the peace of a trickling stream on a scale that fits your needs.
Add to an Existing Waterscape
If your existing pond needs an update, consider adding a waterfall to spruce it up. A pump system, underlayment, concrete block, and whatever rocks, bricks, or stone you choose can be arranged to any size you want. Perennials or potted plants round out the look.
Did you know that you can make a fountain out of just about anything? How about a stack of rocks? Incredibly fun to both make and add to your landscaping, this rock stack is a fun design and can be added almost anywhere!
Bring new meaning to a musical fountain. Don’t overlook an old damaged piano! They can be repurposed in so many ways within your garden. My favorite? Using it as part of a waterscape!
Driftwood brings such a cool background to your flowers as a garden bed addition, planter, or waterfall addition. The twists and turns of water-washed wood blends well into a decorative fountain or waterfall design.
Upcycle an old glass, broken glass, or plexiglass, tabletop into a unique and fun waterfall using copper tubing and hose connections. As a backdrop, privacy screen, or part of your foreground, one thing is for certain: nobody will have another one quite like it!
Piece together your own waterwall using some hardware store finds! Have a small yard, and need to add some interest along a concrete wall? This is a perfect design for both the big and small. Simple to design, this is a project that can be made to fit into any space you want.
Flower Pot Perfection
A waterfall doesn’t need to be a major project. Create a simple design using inexpensive patio pots, a few rocks, and a pump. Place in a garden bed, a porch corner, or even bring into your house once the weather begins to chill!
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Concrete and resin leaf designs have become increasingly popular and easy to find, but you can copy this delicate look using your own take to fit your landscaping style. Take a walk through your local garden centers and nurseries to get ideas for a personalized touch.
Using metal in your landscaping doesn’t need to bring a modern touch if that isn’t your thing. Rather use touches of metal to add a rustic look, and to brighten dark corners or shady areas. This copper waterwall can be customized to any size you wish. Add a bit of lighting to it for an evening treat as well!
Another simple take, this waterwall design uses bamboo and simple carved posts for support. Create a waterscape below, or make a disappearing pool, and sit back to enjoy the falling effect of water over a stone in your garden.
Just because you have an obvious man-made water feature, such as a pool or hot tub, taking up space in your yard doesn’t mean the space around it is wasted. Add in the natural touch of a waterfall and incorporate your design into the yard, rather than allowing it to dominate your yard.
Achieve this look using concrete slabs, large stones, metal sheets, or even wooden fencing. Simply add in a waterfall using multiple pumps and your choice of material to allow directional flow.
Inexpensive building supplies make awesome waterfall supports. Galvanized steel venting materials are great choices to add height and interest to any yard space. Plant in a pot and place wherever you want an extra ‘splash’ of sound.
Add Some Bubbly
You knew you were keeping those old wine bottles for a reason, didn’t you? Take a few of your favorites and create a cool little waterfall perfect for any space indoors or out! Bottle props can be created from a variety of different objects, so start looking to find your perfect fit!
Best of Both Worlds
Why have a pond without a waterfall? Use (or reuse) a rain gutter to get water to where you want it, and create a gentle flow of moving water that doubles as your own personal bubbling brook.
This simple waterfall design uses a basic pond pump and fountain pump parts that you can either order or pick up at a local garden center. Pick one you love and design your waterscape around it!
Play a Melody
Put your old piano to use, double time! As a planter and a waterfall, waterproofed old instruments can provide the ‘wow’ factor you’ve been looking for. Simply look for a good finish to help protect aging materials.
Oversized pots fit well into landscape designs by adding texture and color in unexpected places. Add in a below-ground collection tank with your choice of landscaping to provide a bit of music to your senses as well.
Not sure where to add in a waterfall? Use an existing feature and add to it, like using your deck as your waterfall source through a quick boxed addition that houses your pump. Don’t feel like you need a pond – a disappearing pond feature is just as elegant a touch!
Expect the Unexpected
Why create something like everybody else? Take advantage of your existing landscape design to add in the whimsical. In this case tiered galvanized watering cans guide your way into a new area of garden exploration.
Pond features are fun to have, especially if they are found in unexpected places, but if you have one, why not two? Especially if they are linked by a waterfall? Waterfalls not only help keep sediments moving for better filtration, but they also help add oxygen back into the water- an essential element for both plant and vertebrate life!
Sometimes the most simple of ideas become the most popular. I love this idea of using piping to create a natural groundwater pipe source. And what’s best? You can do this ANYWHERE in a garden to add a bit of ambiance and interest with very little time investment.
No room? Never fear, waterfalls can fit nicely into challenging spaces with a little ingenuity, especially if you have some room available as a backdrop. Simple and inexpensive containers bolted to existing structures make elegant choices for your eclectic tastes.
Out With the Wash
Use old “washtub” planters and unwanted (or unusable) spigots to run your pump and create waterfalling features that are sure to wow. Built into a hillside, or planned as a stand-alone, this is a weekend project that is doable for the most waterfall challenged amongst us!
Pick a statue already set up for your water feature, fall in love with it, and bring it home. Don’t fret if you haven’t found the perfect spot, or aren’t sure how to get it set up yet- just keep scrolling for ideas and I bet you can piece one together in no time!
I can’t get enough of old galvanized garden materials. Leave them as is, paint to fit your decor, or antique to provide an aged look- no matter your choices, using them as the central focus of your waterfall feature is sure to be a show stopper. Simple stack using iron rod supports, or bolt to a sturdy post, to create a tipsy, turvy fall of water.
I love to use vertical spaces. So many people forget that ‘going up’ saves space and creates interest. This is especially true if you are an urban dweller, or only have a patio space to decorate. Utilize your space and create private tranquility with this partial bamboo wall and waterfall.
Another Man’s Treasure
This feature is another take on old pumps and unused containers. Anything that can hold water can be incorporated into a water feature of some sort. Old basins, buckets, tubs, and pots are often popular choices to put to use.
Waterfall features can provide a depth to your yard and make it look deceptively larger than what it really is. This is because waterfalls give the impression they are flowing from a source located elsewhere in your landscape, when in fact they generally come from a source directly below it. Adding a waterfall to a pond, no matter what the size, is a choice you can hardly regret.
You might have your entire yard already beautifully landscaped, and are unsure of where you could add a waterfall, despite your desire for one. Why not use a simple expansion of an existing feature? Sturdy fences, sculptures, walls, or even trees can serve as a support for falling water. No need to go big (unless that’s your desire). This idea can be sized down substantially to provide the feature you want.
If you have a hillside on your property, use it. Nothing creates a more natural waterfall than an existing downhill slope that requires very little planning other than laying out the waterproofing needed to keep the water from soaking into the soil.
The First Frontier
What is the first thing people see walking up to your front door? In my case, it’s my poorly planned front yard landscaping. Is that the first impression you want to give? Too many times we focus on our backyard hideaway where we spend the majority of our time and neglect the front of the house. A simple waterfall and pond change that completely and gives a welcoming first impression to your visitors.
Go Big or Go Home
Sometimes when we think waterfall, we have in our minds something we can look up at, not down upon. Most of us cannot fathom having anything more than a simple garden waterfall to bring the sound of moving water to our outdoor living areas, but if you can, go big. Stacked rocks and elaborate planning went into this gorgeous design that truly defines the meaning of waterfall.
Light It Up
Big or small, strategically placed lighting brings ambiance and tranquility to your favorite waterscapes. Underwater lighting, solar lighting, and spotlighting are all options to consider when planning out your yard design.
Fire It Up
You know that old truck sitting in your yard? Use it. Ok, maybe you don’t have an old truck, but odds are you can get part of one to use at a local junkyard for minimal cost (or maybe you know somebody who would be happy to let you have one for free just for hauling it out of their space). Rather than letting it rust away in the elements, give it a good coat of Rustoleum, and set it up as the base for a truly original water feature.
Copper piping is going to be your choice material due to its malleability and ease of use when forming supports and to get water from one place to the next. But it doesn’t need to be just the unseen hero of a waterfall – why not make it the main event? Shiney copper will age and color in unique ways and add a changing interest to your garden over time.
Waterfalls need a pump, and pumps need electricity, or does it? The answer is yes, they do need a power source, but it doesn’t have to be from an electrical outlet. If you have a yard like mine, power is few and far between (no end of frustration there), but you can easily use an inexpensive o fit your decorative vision! to power your waterfall feature anyplace you desire!
There really is no end to how many designs you can think of concerning your ideal waterfall feature. Small or large, there is no such thing as too small a space to add in the ambiance of a bubbling brook- as seen by this pretty tiered matching pot set.
Bring sleek and sophisticated lines to contemporary landscaping with upright waterfall features using posts, sculptures, and vases. Create eye-catching, dramatic, points of interest throughout your landscape to help balance larger plantings within your yard.
As a kid, I was always fascinated with gardens that incorporated arching waterfalls that disappeared into pebbled walkways and reflecting pools. Create your own water arches to bring light and interest into your landscaping design.
Include some drama on your patio tables or sideboard, and add to the story of backyard company. Bubbling waterfalls are a quick project to add to any gathering place with your choice of fountain kit to fit your decorative vision!
Either purchase a bamboo kit or make your own, to follow this tutorial and add a tranquil touch to the space of your choice using simple lines and materials. Bamboo is a popular choice for small waterfall features as it holds up well to humid conditions and provides the elegance you crave.
Mix and match old tire sizes and depths on a hillside to create a flowing waterfall feature that requires little more than your own energy output. Plus you get the satisfaction of knowing you are reusing unwanted material and making it into something beautiful.
Fire and Water
I’m not sure if this would be counterproductive to the heating effect of the fireplace, but it sure is a neat effect! Combine your waterfall with the unexpected in a totally different, and unique way. One thing is for certain- it creates a year-round interest that I would love to lounge around at.
*You might also like: 31 Awesome Hot Tub Enclosure Ideas!
I love the pondless waterfall features due to their simplicity and ease of setup and design. Pavers of all shapes and sizes are fun to shop for and choose based on your color and textual preferences.
Another take on the boring corner transformation- Don’t ignore those out-of-the-way corners! Take the mundane and create something magical with a quick trip to your garden center and a short list of needs.
Tires Take Two
Love the idea of upcycling old tires, but don’t have enough room to create falling pools? Spatial constrictions don’t need to be a hindrance. Simply use one, of any size, and add in an inexpensive fountain feature to get the desired effect of falling water.
Terracotta pots are popular for patio plantings due to their durability and old-fashioned nostalgia. But they can be repurposed in so many ways, as seen by this miniature waterfall you can place in any garden or patio location. What’s even more convenient: you can simply pick it up or take it apart to winterize with very little hassle involved!
Build on Budget
Many of the ideas I’ve shared are very budget-friendly, and this particular project shows just how little you have to spend to get your desired water feature, even if you want to go bigger than you think you can afford. Check out how to create your own concrete rocks, and consider using some of the mentioned materials in prior tutorials (such as tires) to save even more money!
All too often I notice landscaping sacrificed for the want of a pool or hot tub as if the two cannot exist in harmony with one another. If you are planning an inground pool, consider what it takes to convert your filter system into a waterfall to add additional interest and depth to your yard.
If you have an existing wall in place, then adding in pavers, basins, or even broken birdbaths with a little bit of concrete and well-placed vegetation can turn blah into brilliance with just a little elbow grease.
*You might also like: 72 of the Best Bird Bath Ideas for Any Yard: #47 IS SUPER COOL!
Invite mystery into your yardscape with a bit of height and depth using rocks and water. This intriguing design was built into piled soil leftover from the pond and reinforced using concrete and stacked landscape rocks.
Existing water sources can be carefully controlled by digging out the waterbed and adding a bit of river rock to keep both the water on course and the soil from eroding. This also gives you the opportunity to use the water in your landscaping design and create the bubbling brook of your dreams.
Upcycle for Purpose
Old water pumps are easy to find in antique stores or flea markets, so grab one up the next time you see one. Since they are already built for the passage of water, running your hose through them is a piece of cake, and they make an artistic statement when used in a traditional sense.
Slab Stone Put to Use
Gardening slabs and slate are beautifully thin and wide to disperse your water and create trickles and streams that will lull your yard to a sense of peace. Water sources are easy to hide beneath easy-to-lift slabs for maintenance and winterizing purposes.
Back It Up!
Back that old pickup truck into your yard space as an eclectic and amusing way to greet your visitors when they come to call. Why let an old junker rust away to nothing, when it can be given new life as a purposeful part of your garden blueprint?
Using materials in a non-traditional way is my favorite way to put building and housing supplies to use. You see a gutter, I see a trickling stream… water faucet? I see a waterfall feature. Let your imagination take flight and put together a wholly unique and artistic waterfall from the bits and pieces you find at a local hardware store.
Pavers, bricks, concrete, and planters are all great materials to put to use in ways other than they were created for. It’s like building blocks for adults! Nothing is more rewarding than creating the perfect waterfall for your garden that nobody else will have.
Yes, you really can! Follow this tutorial to see how simple it is to create your own hand-carved stone waterfall. All you need is the correct materials and tools, which are all readily available at a landscape supplier and garden center.
Waterwall features, although rather spacious, are unique in that they can be placed up against existing vertical planes, or be free-floating and used to break up the flow of landscape areas. Use them as a window to take a peek into a new part of your garden.
Similar to the carved feature above, why not combine multiple carved blocks to create your own waterfall along the top of a wall, or used it as a garden border? The fun thing about using stone is how many ways it can be utilized in a landscape design.
Time for Tea
I’ve been trying to mix in a bunch of ways you can utilize objects you may already have around your home, or those easy to find in garage sales or flea markets. These types of materials make the most original waterscapes that express part of who you are as a gardener, like this teapot waterfall design.
I dream of an outdoor patio bar, and I’m determined to have a wine-themed waterfall after seeing this fun tutorial. Visit your local party supply store for fun and decorative oversized glasses, and keep your favorite empty bottle of bubbly back for the perfect fit!
Get creative with this idea that is part waterwall and part shower head feature. Make your own pipe extension, or buy a water bar, but be sure to place it where you will best enjoy the soothing drip of water as a highlight of your backyard decadence.
Rain Chain Waterfalls
I haven’t a clue why more rain chains aren’t used in waterfall designs, but this project nails it! I have always enjoyed the elegance of rain chain designs and the way they draw your eye to areas usually unnoticed and ignored.
Old wheelbarrows have become one of my favorites finds to put to use in my garden design, hence why this particular waterfall speaks to my soul. Combined with the old pump, and details like an old tin cup round this design out to something I desperately want to recreate!
Invite your guests to the party with this incredibly original bucket of drinks ‘on ice’ to create a background ambiance and give your patrons something to talk about. Just make sure they know the real from the decor!
Get the Party Started
If you like to entertain, this is the perfect design for your outdoor gathering space. Brightly colored glasses and wine bottles pair up to help set the mood for a fun and lively crew of company.
This is an amazing take on the water wall idea I wish I had thought of. Colored glass bottles are a fun addition when added throughout your garden, but to integrate them into a waterfall feature by the case is ingenious. Mix and match to the design you want, and set into wood, concrete, or any other medium that fits your backyard decor.
You know you all have been there: holding the broken end of an old sturdy garden tool that finally gave up the ghost. Save these pieces and visit a local flea market to pick up a few extra. Then be sure to ignore the looks your spouse might give you for bringing home broken tools because they will be praising your creativeness when they see your creation!
Despite the depth and interest staggered materials provide when creating a waterfall, sometimes simple lines are all it takes to create the elegance you crave. Line up your basined materials to create a sleek design.
A walk through an old farm or ranch will turn up almost everything you need for an old-fashioned waterfall made out of repurposed, and much-loved tools and equipment.
Where Will You Begin?
I’ll admit, looking through all these amazing ideas has tickled my creative side and I am totally overwhelmed as to which idea I love the most! But I know for sure that a few of these tutorials and tips are going to be put to use in creating at least one (and I strongly suspect multiples) of these waterfalls.
Do you have any favorites you can’t wait to try? Or any of your own and tips you’d love to share? Please comment below and let us know where you will begin! And as always, please share!
*You might also like: 10 Tips for Backyard Designs for Entertaining.