Homemade waterfalls are wonderful additions to any backyard pond! They are fun to make and a great way to add a little color and personal touch to your pond, but is quite easy to do.
Pond and waterfall kits make it easy, allowing you to turn a simple garden into an elaborate display.
These days garden waterfall pumps and pre-formed flexible liners for ponds make it easy to create your own water gardens or water features.
Planning Your Homemade Waterfalls
- Step one of any do it yourself project is knowing exactly what type of project you want to build. For waterfalls, this means how complex and detailed you want yours to be. You can use features like a barrel, machinery, sculptures, rocks – whatever you think will look best.
- Also try to consider materials available on site or the most readily available materials in your neighbourhood. This helps to give the feature a sense of belonging in the landscape, and at the same time provides a more sustainable use of resources.
- When building homemade waterfalls, the location of the falling water is very important. It’s always better to see a water feature from as many vantage points as possible. A perfect view from your kitchen or living room window would be great. Just be sure to to build your backyard waterfall somewhere it will be enjoyed the most.
- Be sure to consider a one third, one third, one third principle. This means that when planning your homemade waterfall, plan to include equal parts of water, rock and vegetation. This will create good overall balance for any backyard waterfall.
- Materials excavated can also be useful. Ultimately, every water feature should be unique to the property it sits. It will all work well as long as you know that the water can be effectively piped through or behind any objects.
What You’ll Need To Make Your Own Waterfalls
To make your own backyard waterfall you need a pump, some tubing and the correct materials to build a water reservoir. All of these things are available online from aquatic stores or garden centers.
For Most Waterfalls, Equipment Should Include:
- Pond and waterfall kits make this project easy. There are also many different waterfall pumps to choose from, and choosing the right one with sufficient capacity for your homemade waterfall is essential to achieving the effect you’re looking for.
- Rock or Objects for the Falls. The material for your watercourse may be a pre-formed pond liner, a flexible liner, concrete, faux stone or clay. Pre-formed waterfalls are the easiest to install, but the other materials allow more design flexibility.
Preparing Your Home Made Waterfalls
How your homemade waterfalls begin must be considered first. We recommend using a pour over Spillway system at the top, as it polishes the water as it continues to run through and across the top of the spillway. You can make your own weir or spillway kits are available on Amazon.
Ultimately what ever you decide, a water tight receptacle must be constructed to catch the water. This could be as simple as laying a pond liner over a ditch and sloping channel, or as extreme as building yourself a river filled with rocks and stones.
Waterfall Pumps Size And Water Volume
The volume of water pouring down your waterfall spillway is very important. A big flowing falls looks fantastic, but if you use too much water it can get noisy and take far too much power to run.
Use the Waterfall Pump and Weir Guide below to predetermine how wide to make your waterfall, and what size of pump you need.
The volume of water pouring down your waterfall spillway is very important. A big flowing falls looks fantastic, but if you use too much water it can get noisy and take far too much power to run. Use the waterfall weir chart below to predetermine how wide to make your waterfalls, and what size of waterfall pumps you need.
For example, If you have a waterfall that is 2 Ft. wide and you want the water to be 1/4″ thick the chart calls for a fall pump that can produce 780 Gallons Per Hour.
|1/4″ Thick||1/2″ Thick||3/4″ Thick|
||120 GPH||360 GPH||660 GPH|
|1 ft.||240 GPH||780 GPH||1380 GPH|
|2 ft.||540 GPH||1500 GPH||2760 GPH|
|3 ft.||780 GPH||2280 GPH||4200 GPH|
|4 ft.||1080 GPH||3060 GPH||5580 GPH|
|5 ft.||1320 GPH||3780 GPH||7020 GPH|
|6 ft.||1620 GPH||4560 GPH||8400 GPH|
|7 ft.||1860 GPH||5340 GPH||9780 GPH|
|8 ft.||2160 GPH||6120 GPH||118220 GPH|
You can save some money by shopping around and the internet is a great place to comparison shop. Compare a price with all of the major home and garden stores and read up on the pumps in stock.
Below are comparison pump listings, we recommend the Magdrive or Cal waterfall pump, they are efficient, low-energy pumps that are built to meet the needs of any pond. And they stand up up to rigors of pumping high volumes of water at maximum head heights.
Magdrive Submersible Pumps
High capacity Magdrive submersible water pumps available on Amazon for medium to large pond installation. With this pump you can build a dynamic waterfall, or run in-pond skimmers.
They are energy efficient and designed for continuous operation. These pumps have very strong motors, delivering up to 2000, or 3000 GPH respectively.
Cal submersible waterfall pumps available on Amazon are powerful, efficient pumps that stand up to pumping large quantities of water at the highest range.
Made from non corrosive materials, these pumps maintain a safe and continuous water flow. These pumps are solidly constructed, water-cooled and sealed, therefore they are not filled with oil, which could leak into a pond and kill your fish.
Listed for consumer confidence the CalPump’s construction is completely non-corrosive for a longer life. And it is also built using a strong efficient motor, and a16-gauge power cord for convenience
Building Your Waterfall
- First, dig an area in the ground that will act as the receptacle. You can choose to line this hole like a pond, or you can find a tough tub that will not crack and is big enough for a few inches of water above the pump you’ll be placing inside of it. The tub used should be big enough to hold plenty of water.
- Put a submersible waterfall and filter pump into the receptacle and connect the plug end to an outlet. Make sure your pump has a GFI switch for safety here.
- Attach flexible tubing to the other end of the pump where the water will be removed from the receptacle.
- Now, attach the pipe so it is as barely noticeable as possible behind or inside the object or rocks that the homemade waterfall will be cascading over. If it is inside something, it is easy. If it is behind it, you will want to carefully hide the piping within rocks or behind something of the same color so it doesn’t stick out and ruin the illusion of your waterfall.
Other Options for Draining
If you don’t want a receptacle, you can place a grating of sorts over the hole you dug and lined, then have the waterfall drain directly into the ground like a natural waterfall.
Use a small chicken wire mesh so that you can place gravel or something similar over it to make it look more natural.
Nice turns and meanders also help with the overall feel of a pond or waterfall, and the placement of stone or gravel give a great final effect.
As water is involved in this project, it is of paramount importance to reduce the risk of electric shocks.
Waterfall pumps must be correctly wired in, all of the external cables must be protected by tubing, and please make sure your pump has a GFI switch for safety.
You should get a competent electrician to install any high voltage electrical equipment. The shock risk can also be reduced by using low voltage or solar powered pumps.
Once you have completed all of these tasks, secure the tubing to the rocks or object that the waterfall is coming through, ensure everything is set up effectively in place and keep your grating or receptacle locked in place.
A good way to finalize things is to make sure they are all easily moved for maintenance or bad weather if you need to bring the materials inside.
And there you have it – your very own plans for homemade waterfalls. The key is the Waterfall Pump, the tubing and a place for the water to land. Beyond that, make sure to swap out the water on occasion to keep it clean, check your pump to make sure it doesn’t get clogged and beware of any animals that might be nearby that could get into the assembly.
Other Design Ideas
Here’s a few design ideas that I hope will fuel your imagination and help to create that beautiful homemade garden waterfall that you always wanted.
How About A Pondless Waterfall:
If you don’t have the space for a pond or if you are a family with small children a pondless waterfall could be your answer. In place of the pond are large rocks or boulders to give a designer feel. Plants and vegetation are added and the gaps between rocks are filled with water. This creates a tranquil place that is a comfort to all the family and is safe for the little people to. When the kids grow up you can always remove the rocks and add some water.
The Rocky Spillway Waterfall:
This is the most common and natural waterfall design. Water is sent gushing over a flagstone weir making a pleasant sound and is a treat to the eyes. The rocks create the sound of a running river which is both soothing and pleasant to watch. Multiple tiers can create that wonderful blend with the garden, giving it a heavenly feel.
Dual Waterfalls Are A Nice Touch:
A unique idea is to have a fall on either side of the rocks. This is the kind of set-up that provides a good view from all directions, so it can be put almost anywhere in your garden. A double sided waterfall will obviously cost a little more as you need to set up both sides. But if you are looking for something on the extravagant side, this can be a nice and valuable home addition.
The Japanese waterfall is an intimate place to be at one with nature. Each element used in the garden has some symbolism. For example, the rocks are used to simulate islands, human strength and endurance. These waterfalls usually include some marble or granite within its design, giving a sleek and classy look. Add to this some Japanese water plants and lighting effects and you have something rather special. You should start with a quiet area, or at least as quiet as you can find on your property.
So, do you have space for a homemade waterfall in your garden? It’s not a hard project to undertake & I hope my ideas help you in some way. I would also love to see others thoughts and ideas about garden waterfalls!
A Homemade Pond
By Den (CT)
I wanted to make my backyard something really special, so I decided to add a pond to create a feature in my garden. Instead of having someone else put it in though, I decided to create a homemade pond.
- The first thing I did was to take some wooden stakes and string and make an outline of where I wanted my pond. This helped me to visualize how it would really look in contrast to the rest of my yard, and it made it easy to dig out the right space. I measured my yard to find the best space and also looked at the space from many angles to see where the pond would create the best effect.
- It probably would have been quicker to go to a local tool rental shop and rent a tiny tractor with a backhoe attachment to do the job, but my budget didn’t extend that far. So I used a trusty shovel and pick and recruited some family to help dig.
- Once the hole was dug in the size I wanted, I spread a couple inches of sand on the bottom of the hole and dropped in the pre-formed pond liner I chose. These are sturdier than pliable liners and are less likely to be punctured.
- I put some sturdy rocks all around the top edges of the liner to make the pond look as though it had a natural rock rim and also held the liner in place nicely. I also found some lovely, smooth river rocks to place in the bottom of the pond to make the black liner less noticeable.
- Then I filled the liner around ¾ full with water. I figured I’d need a way to keep the water aerated, so I found a simple pump that would keep water moving, but I didn’t worry about getting a filter. The pump had an option for a fountain in the box or it had a hose attachment that could be run under the larger rocks I’d used around the edges of the pond.
- I chose to run the hose beneath the rocks. I got two more large rocks and placed them on top of the edging rocks to form a little waterfall and ran the hose between them all. The water comes out of the center of the rocks and cascades down the sides beautifully into the pond.
- Once this step was finished, I chose some aquatic plants and some goldfish to go in my homemade pond. I made sure to create a good balance so that everything in my pond has room to grow, but there is enough life in the pond to discourage a lot of algae growth.
- The kindly assistant at the store where I bought the fish said that if I don’t put any fish food into the pond at all, the fish will thrive on eating algae and insects and the bottom of the tank won’t get so dirty. I also added a couple of water snails to help keep the algae to a minimum.
- Since I built my pond, I’ve noticed a few tiny tadpoles swimming around and at night I can hear frogs croaking, so I guess my pond is a healthy little habitat!
- A homemade pond can look just as good as one that is professionally made. You can make it any shape that you want, fill it with whatever strikes your fancy and best of all save a lot of money. My pond was very easy to build, and only takes a little maintenance every week to keep it running smoothly and looking great!