How to Build a Yard Waterfall


In the back or front yard landscape, a waterfall can be a welcome addition for the benefits it provides. Waterfalls add the dimension of sound to your garden--the rushing water creating a sense of tranquility and beauty. Additionally, a waterfall can attract wildlife that the home gardener will have hours of fun watching. Gardeners with a fish pond can use a waterfall to aerate the water.

Step 1

Design your waterfall using a pencil and paper. Sketch out your vision and brainstorm questions and answers on your paper. Consider where the waterfall is going. Decide whether it will be dry-stacked or built into a hillside. Determine whether you want the waterfall to flow into a pond or catch basin, the height and how much water it will need to function.

Step 2

Mark your location by laying the outline with a garden hose. Observe the location for a few days to determine how it will look. Determine if the pond will interfere with foot traffic through your yard and whether you can observe it from your points of relaxation in your home.

Step 3

Dig your location for your catch basin or pond using the shovel. Sink the pond liner or catch basin into the pond or liner.

Step 4

Construct the base of your waterfall. If you are locating your falls on a hillside, you will need to dig a trench to create the channel down which the water will flow. If you are dry-stacking the rocks, you will need to lay down the base rocks for your structure.

Step 5

Attach PVC tubing to your waterfall pump at one end. Then line the waterfall with the PVC tubing. Place the other end of the tubing at the top of the waterfall so that it can feed the water into the falls.

Step 6

Cover the tubing with your waterproof layer of plastic. This will keep the water contained inside the waterfall. In a waterfall built into the hillside, this may be a PVC plastic sheeting that lines the channel that has been dug into the hillside. For a freestanding waterfall, it may be a pre-formed plastic liner that is supported by the underlying rocks.

Step 7

Cover your plastic with a layer of pea-sized gravel to hide its appearance.

Step 8

Place larger rocks, logs and other structures into the waterfall to create things for the water to flow over.

Step 9

Fill the catch basin with water. You will need to keep your pump submerged in the catch basin or pond at all times to keep the pump from burning out.

Step 10

Plug in your pump and give your waterfall a trial run to ensure that the water is directed to the catch basin. Re-direct the flow of the water as needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • PVC pond liner or tub
  • PVC plastic sheeting
  • Pond pump
  • PVC tubing
  • Landscaping rocks
  • Pea 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

  • How to Build a Waterfall
Keywords: water fall, pond feature, backyard water garden

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.