How to Construct Backyard Waterfalls


The sound of trickling water is so soothing that it is mimicked in white noise machines made to help restless sleepers relax. In your garden you can feel more restful when you build a backyard waterfall. A backyard waterfall can also attract birds, butterflies and small animals such as chipmunks and squirrels in search of a drink of water. Constructing a waterfall is labor intensive, but the steps are simple.

Step 1

Lay out your waterfall design on the ground with a garden hose. This will help you get an idea for the proportions that you will need to build.

Step 2

Leave the garden hose in place for several days so you can determine if you like your waterfall design. Pay attention to how the location and size affects its environment, and if you can, try the waterfall design in several locations.

Step 3

Mark the ground with spray paint for your permanent location and remove the hose.

Step 4

Dig out your catch basin and place the dirt along with landscaping boulders into the upper regions of your waterfall to build it up.

Step 5

Line the catch basin with underlayment and PVC pond liner. Place your pump into the catch basin. Connect the PVC hose to the pump and pull both the end of the hose and the electrical cord out of the catch basin. Fill around the pump with gravel.

Step 6

Carve out the waterfall bed from the gravel and dirt that you have built up. Place rocks into places to create natural shelves over which the waterfall will flow. Tamp down your waterfall bed with a tamping tool.

Step 7

Line the stream bed with the underlayer and the PVC pond liner. Place large landscaping rocks around the edges of this liner and fill in around the rocks with pea-sized gravel.

Step 8

Cover the stream bed with landscaping rocks over which the water will flow. Fill in the cracks in, on, around and under with the pea-sized gravel.

Step 9

Trim the liner around the edges of the boulders to hide it.

Step 10

Bring PVC hose around to the top of the waterfall and bury it in the stones at the top of the falls to hide its presence. Fill the catch basin with water. Turn on the pump and then fill the catch basin to compensate for the water that is pumped into the waterfall.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Spray paint
  • Shovel
  • PVC underlayer
  • PVC liner
  • Tamping tool
  • Landscaping rocks
  • Pond pump
  • PVC hose
  • Gravel


  • The Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening; Carroll Calkins; 1978
  • Ortho's All About Garden Pools and Fountains; Veronica Lorson Fowler and Jamie Beyer; 1999

Who Can Help

  • Build a Backyard Waterfall and Stream: Plans and Instructions
Keywords: water garden, backyard stream, backyard waterfall, build waterfall

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.