How to build backyard waterfall

How to build backyard waterfall

“Water is the beauty of all nature. Water is alive, it runs or waves in the wind, it moves and gives life and motion to everything around it” – wrote Sergei Aksakov. Man is drawn to nature, water bodies, to merge with it, to rest, to restore the soul and body. There is a natural desire to recreate a natural landscape with an imitation of water bodies. Artificial waterfall on the site – a corner of relaxation. Its aesthetic beauty, the sounds of flowing, falling water soothe, relieve fatigue, relax. This is our article about how to make a waterfall at the cottage and household plot.

Style and size of the waterfall at the cottage

The relief of the plot and the size significantly affect the formation of the landscape water composition. A plot with a difference in soil levels – an ideal place to create a waterfall. On a flat plot it is necessary to artificially create an uneven relief.

The size of the homestead territory determines the dimensions of the water structure. The waterfall should organically fit into the compositional solution of the landscape design. Looks somewhat ridiculous oversized water feature on a small garden plot and naturally fits into the spacious possessions. A small artificial waterfall will be part of the recreation area. A large plot provides a loophole of possibilities for design solutions, dimensional size.


The stylistic design of the waterfall in the cottage and homestead depends on the design concept of the landscape and home. Style of design:

  • Minimalism assumes clear geometric shapes, laconicism of decorations. Organically look evenly flowing streams of water from smooth slabs of cascades in a bowl of a pond of geometric shape. Suitable for such a landscape dry waterfalls. With smooth outlines of the cascades, falling from their streams. Look interesting island waterfalls in the style of minimalism. In the center they mount an elevation of cubic, spherical shape.
  • Classic. Decorations in the form of statues, amphorae – characteristic features of the classical style. A common design technique – an island waterfall in the middle of a circular pond. On the cascading ledges installed in the classical style elements of decor.
  • The natural waterfall in appearance is as close to the natural compositions. A part of the natural landscape is recreated. The form of a bowl of the pond, elevation, from which water flows down, gives a natural natural irregular forms. For the construction of structural elements and decor use natural materials, mainly stone.

The choice of form, type, methods of decoration directly depends on the tastes and preferences of the owner of the plot. Decorative waterfall on the site is often the main focal point of the landscape. On a large area artificial waterfall will be a decoration of the recreation area.

Choosing a place for a waterfall

Several factors determine the location of the waterfall. Among them:

  • Purpose, the design concept of the landscape. Whether the waterfall will be a focal point of the landscape construction or a component of a local area. Most often an artificial waterfall on the dacha and yard plot is built near the recreation area. It is desirable that it is visible from different points, windows of the house.
  • Technical points. It is undesirable to locate the object in direct contact with the wall of the house because of increased humidity, water noise. If the tightness of the structure is broken, moisture can penetrate the wall, the foundation, which will provoke the formation of mold. If you install a small waterfall in the corner of the site, between the fence and the house, it is recommended to move the construction away from the wall. But a small water structure near the porch of the house is quite appropriate, it looks interesting.
  • Natural factors. It is desirable to have water structures in the open area at a distance from large trees, shrubs. Fallen leaves litter the reservoir. It is better to plant evergreen shrubs near the artificial waterfall. If the water gets very hot in the sun, there is a risk that it will bloom, turn green. The reason will be a sharp increase in the population of phytoplankton. It is desirable that the sun illuminate the waterfall until noon.

It is recommended to additionally install litter traps in the pond bowl. Leaves and branches are carried by the wind, even if there are no deciduous trees and shrubs nearby.

When you have decided on location, size and style, you need to think about the type of water structure.

Types of waterfalls

The principle of design, construction of waterfalls are similar, but there are nuances for each type. The main types of waterfalls:

  • cascade type – water descends from several levels (minimum 30 cm);
  • stream type – water flows smoothly over low oblong, almost flat cascade steps;
  • “dry” waterfall – the water flows not into the bowl of the pond, pool, but into a sheltered container;
  • waterfall “wall” – two types: water flowing through the glass, flat stream, the water wall of the grotto;
  • a waterfall without a pump, two kinds: by the type of communicating vessels; with the natural source.

The choice of construction type is determined by personal preferences, stylistics and features of topography.

As for the cascade type, the device of the water structure depends on the height of the cascade, the size of the bowl, the volume of pumped water. The higher the height of the steps, the more powerful the pump is needed to pump water. Cascade structure with a height of up to 1,5 m and a width of steps up to half a meter needs a pump capacity up to 80 l/min. Cascades with a height and width of steps over 2.5 m need a pump capacity of up to 450 l/min. The pump is bought with a partial power reserve. Part is lost on forcing the water head pressure, filter resistance.

How to make a waterfall with your own hands: the stages of construction

Bowl excavation. Typically, the pit is made 3 tiers, each of which along its perimeter is less than the previous one: 1 – the main perimeter; 2 – for fixing the roots of aquatic plants; 3 – for possible wintering of fish.

Stages of preparation:

  • on the site draw the contour of the structure;
  • hammer in stakes at intervals of 25-30 cm, string on their construction thread;
  • outline the contour with sand, chalk, spray paint can;
  • dug a stepped pit;
  • the earth is compacted;
  • the bottom of the excavation poured crushed stone and sand (10-15 cm each layer), watered, rammed again;
  • lay the bottom of the pit with geotextile (prevents soil erosion);
  • lined pit waterproofing layer (with overlap on the perimeter to 70cm) or concrete.

Please note: for large ponds, it is mandatory to reinforce the pit, as the subsidence of the soil under the weight of water is possible. 

The overlap of the waterproofing layer is necessary to prevent it from sliding under the influence of the mass of water. Along the edges of the waterproofing layer is secured with stones. Cover with sand and gravel. Pots with moisture-loving plants are installed.



An important element of pond construction. Inexpensive, but not reliable enough waterproofing – several layers of clay. Under the influence of temperature fluctuations, cracks, ruptures of the bowl of the pit are possible.

Types of waterproofing:

  • PVC film, an affordable material, but not durable. Narrow cloths are connected by means of adhesive tape, in a floating manner. Will last 1-2 seasons.
  • Butyl rubber is a synthesized, similar to rubber, isobutylene polymer. Reliable film, service life of 45 – 50 years. The coating is resistant to temperature changes.
  • Liquid rubber, applied to geotextiles, sprayed on the surface. Guaranteed service life up to 20 years.
  • Polyurethane waterproofing. Elastic, resistant to temperature fluctuations, with a long service life.
  • Durable and reliable concrete bowl.

Parallel or simultaneously with the excavation of the excavation make the elevation for the waterfall cascade. Relief with an elevation is easier to turn into a stepped cascade. It is enough to level it, shape it, tamp it down. Sprinkle with crushed stone, sand, and again tamped. If the height of the steps is higher than 30 cm, it is desirable to additionally cement the construction

It is more difficult to build a cascade on a flat surface. The soil taken from the excavation of the pond will be useful. From it form the steps of the frame, compact each ledge. Strengthen the perimeter of the steps with layered dikar, bricks. The surface of the steps is strengthened with a cushion of crushed stone and sand and filled with cement mixture.

A gentle waterfall is constructed on the same principle. Only the cascade steps are wide and flat.

The type of falling down stream depends on the type of rim of the cascade steps from which the water flows down. Dissected flow is obtained by uneven edge of the step, if the obstacles of stones are set on it. Smooth edge of the step with a special groove forms a smooth stream.

Installing the equipment

In the process of erecting the steps begin assembling the equipment. Install the pump at the bottom of the excavation, bring an electric cable to it. Install hoses that bring water from the pump to the stages of the cascade. Install shut-off cocks. Mask the tapings with stones, cobblestones to decorate the waterfall. 

Waterfalls without pumps

Even in ancient Greece, waterfalls and fountains were built without electric pumps. The famous fountains of Peterhof are built according to the same principle.

Waterfalls without pumps operate on the principle of different levels of communicating vessels. Steps of height differences should be sufficient to create pressure in the second vessel, it was able to squeeze out a jet of water. Depending on the size of the artificial waterfall, the volume of containers is calculated using mathematical formulas. A small waterfall in the country house without a pump is easy to make with your own hands.

How to make a small artificial waterfall in the garden: “Heron fountain”

The vessels are arranged in three levels. The sequence of connection of containers:

  • there is an open bowl on top;
  • the lower vessel is connected directly to the bowl, bypassing the middle vessel;
  • the second hose from the lower vessel connects it to the middle vessel.

Containers (2 and 3) are hermetically sealed, connecting hoses are pulled through the plugs. Pour water into the upper bowl, it spills into the lower vessel. Air is squeezed out of the latter. The air mass presses the water in the middle vessel, resulting in a jet in the open upper vessel.

Waterfall without a pump with a drain

If the ground water approaches the surface close to the site, you can try to make a spring. Dig up the water and bring it to the surface. Make a cascading cascading path, direct the water along this channel. You will get a natural waterfall without a pump. Such a water structure has the additional advantage of draining the soil. But a drainage to the sewage system or another area is necessary. 

Dry waterfall

This is an oxymoron invented by landscape designers. It is the name of an artificial waterfall without a pond bowl. Water flows down the sloping plane of the cascade and “disappears”.

How to make a dry waterfall: the elevation is constructed in the same way as for the cascade, but the water flows not into the pond, but into a hidden container. This can be a concrete pit with a pump installed in it. The lid is made of a grid, decorate it with plants, stones. Or install a plastic tank in the ground.


This type of structures includes a waterfall flowing down the glass, or a water wall in structures with a grotto.

Water structures with glass and flowing water flowing down it organically fit into the landscape design, interior design of the room. The sight of flowing down the glass jets soothes, relaxes. Waterfall at the cottage with glass set near the recreation area. A good solution for a small area, the vertical design takes up little space.

It consists of several elements: a bottom box with a pump; a glass display case; a frame construction.

Sequence of manufacturing:

  • Make a box of wood or polymeric materials.
  • Inside the box is covered with waterproofing materials.
  • Attach a guide profile to the bottom to install the glass.
  • Mount the pump.
  • Install the frame side wings. On one side of the frame (where the pump is located), a hose for water supply, on the other side of the light wiring.
  • Cut a piece of pipe to the width of the glass, make holes in it for water.
  • Fix it to the top of the frame. Make notches in the frame design for mounting the tubes, the upper illumination.
  • Glass or 2 panes of glass are installed in the guide profile.
  • Connect and fasten all the elements of the construction, test the waterfall.

Waterfall with a grotto

Artificial waterfall with a grotto and pond on the site – a unique structure that will transform the territory, make it unique. In a grotto there are several entrances, openings in the form of irregularly shaped windows so that the sunlight gets inside. Make wiring for lighting.

The structure is installed on a concrete pad with a reinforced base. Complex construction is better to entrust to professionals. The right approach is to make a project with calculations.

In the construction of walls, cement mortars applied to a reinforced base are used. First, the supporting supporting structures are installed. From them pull the reinforced frame of the walls, pouring it in stages with concrete. When the cement grout grinds, from the pump in the pond pull communications for water supply, electrical wiring.

The grotto will look like a natural object when it is surrounded by natural stone. Under it hide communications.

Above the openings of the grotto set a flat plate, to which the water hoses are connected. Smooth streams flow down it, forming a transparent wall.

The light design

The light and water jets are a fairy-tale spectacle. The water structure will literally play in the evening, will create a unique aura of magic, fairy tale on the site. 

  • as illumination use light-accumulating lights around the water structure;
  • underwater lighting (marking IP 68);
  • bottom spotlights on LEDs.

Lights are combined into one controllable system using special devices, which allows you to change the color gamut of LED lights. 

 Artificial waterfall on the dacha plot and homestead territory makes them unique. Jets of flowing water not only create a mood, they contribute to relaxation. In hot weather they fill the air with freshness, create a romantic atmosphere in the evening. Build a waterfall is not difficult with your own hands. It takes creative enthusiasm and patience. The effect of the work will surpass your expectations, will delight you for a long time.