Waterfall Landscaping Ideas

A waterfall creates a relaxing sound and an inviting space. Tucked along the landscape, waterfalls accented with bright foliage in varying colors, textures and shapes create dramatic landscape displays. As the water cascades down the falls to collect in the basin below, many birds and butterflies come for a visit.

Water Plants

Flank the waterfall with lush and vibrant water-loving plants. Their deep-green foliage and bright flowers help to create a harmonious design. Along the waterfall, plant Japanese water iris. Japanese water iris thrives along damp, moist edges and grows up to 3 feet tall, creating height along the landscape. The butterfly-like flowers on Japanese water iris grow in a wide range of colors, including white, crimson, yellow, pink, blue and lavender, to bring a bright burst of color to the landscape.

Focal Point

Along the back or side of the waterfall, add a focal point like a tree or shrub to draw your eye into the space and help shade the waterfall. A Japanese maple tree is an ideal tree to plant for its cascading shape and billowing form. As a deciduous tree, Japanese maples enjoy a smattering of shade and evenly moist soils. Their spreading branches and height reach 25 feet to create a commanding landscape presence. In summer, the bright green leaves on Japanese maples emerge to light up the waterfall with color and are followed by the fiery colors of red, bronze and purple in fall. With dozens of varieties of Japanese maple trees, you can find one that fits within the waterfall landscape. Some varieties, such as dwarf Japanese maple trees, are ideal for small waterfall landscapes.


Stones bring in added texture along a waterfall. River rocks are an ideal stone to use along the water feature to help define the border. River rocks come in all shapes and sizes. When wet from the cascading water, river rocks deepen to create a jewel-like effect to the landscape. Along the waterfall, nestle different sizes and colors of rocks to create a natural effect and one that mimics a natural waterfall. Along the bottom of the falls, add river rocks to create a natural habitat for wildlife and to create a collecting pool for floating water plants. River rocks are also ideal for stacking within the direct flow of water to create an unusual water pattern.

Keywords: waterfall landscaping ideas, water plants, Japanese maple, river rocks

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on Travels.com and GardenGuides.com. Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.