Creating A Natural-Looking Waterfall In Your Backyard Pond

Fill Your Zen Space With The Sound Of Flowing Water

Cost: $500+

Time: 1+ Days

Skill: Advanced

Do you dream of enjoying the calming trickle of a waterfall in your backyard pond? Are you curious about how DIYers and Maryland pondless waterfall construction contractors manage such complex projects?

In this blog post, we’ll talk about what you need to do to create a natural-looking waterfall for your backyard pond. Soon enough, you’ll be able to enjoy the sight and sound of flowing water.

By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll know whether you want to try building your own backyard waterfall or if you think it will be better to hire a professional pond contractor to do it.

How To Build A Waterfall In Your Backyard Pond


  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Utility Knife
  • Mallet
  • Level
  • Garden Hose


  • EPDM Liner
  • Underlayment
  • Waterfall Pump
  • Various Sized Rocks
  • Gravel
  • Tubing
  • Container For Tubing
  • Waterfall Sealant Foam
  • Basin
  • Basin Lid

*You can also find a DIY waterfall kit. We recommend using the Aquascape brand.

1. Build Your Pond

The first step to building a pond is deciding which type of pond you’d like to construct.

An ecosystem pond is one that relies on natural processes, such as plants and fish, to maintain its balance. These types of ponds are great for people who want an eco-friendly or low-maintenance option that looks natural and will blend in with the surrounding landscape.

On the other hand, preformed ponds are made from rigid plastic and require fewer materials than ecosystem ponds. Plus, they’re easier to install since they come already shaped. Preformed ponds are ideal if you don’t have a large area and want something that looks more formal or decorative than an ecosystem pond.

You can also build a stream if you have the room and want to make your water feature even better!

2. Decide On The Waterfall Design

Stream and waterfall into pond

Some of the most popular designs include cascading waterfalls, tiered waterfalls, and single-drop waterfalls. Cascading waterfalls feature multiple tiers that gradually descend down a slope or hillside. Tiered waterfalls have multiple drops that occur at slightly different heights and then feed into one larger pond. Single-drop waterfalls are exactly what they sound like—one large drop from one height into one large pond.

You want to make sure that the space where you are installing your waterfall has enough room for all of its components without feeling too crowded or overwhelming.

3. Build Top Reservoir Area

Top area of waterfall with reservoir and filters

Before you begin any building, you’ll need to determine how large your reservoir area should be. To do this, measure from the bottom of your waterfall down to where it meets up with the pond below it. Multiply this measurement by two, then add one more foot for good measure. This will give you an accurate idea of how large your reservoir area should be in order for it to accommodate both a filter and a pump. 

Once you have determined the size of your reservoir area, use a shovel or other digging tool (such as an excavator) to dig out that space in accordance with those measurements. Make sure that when you dig out this area, you are creating an even surface so that when it’s time for installation, everything fits together properly. 

4. Create Waterfall Steps And Waterfall Drop

You can have many waterfalls instead of just one that falls into the pond.

Dig out the waterfall steps or use dirt to create waterfalls and the waterfall drop area (the one that goes into the pond). You can use the dirt leftover from when you were excavating your pond. How much dirt is left over will depend on how large your pond is and how much dirt you didn’t use to cover the exposed liner with.

Use a level to make sure the steps are angled downward enough so the water flows well. You can also take this time to create hidden waterfalls.

5. Add Waterfall Pump And Tubing

This step requires some skill; if you don’t feel comfortable tackling this project by yourself, we recommend hiring professionals who specialize in outdoor water features installation services. It’s important that these components are installed properly in order for them to function effectively over time.

Once everything has been put into place, check again for any potential leaks before continuing with tubing installation from the filter outlet up through the edge of the pond or stream bed.

6. Lay Underlayment And Liner

Installing liner

Underlayment is what protects the liner from objects that can cause rips, tears, and holes. This can include burrowing animals and roots.

Once you’ve laid down the underlayment, it’s time to cover it with liner. The liner (usually EPDM rubber liner) helps keep the water in the waterfall area. You don’t want it leaking into the ground below instead!

Make sure to overlap each piece by at least an inch or two so that there are no gaps between them that could potentially cause water leakage. If possible, try to use one continuous piece of plastic instead of multiple pieces, as this will help prevent potential leaking issues.

7. Add Rocks And Gravel

Adding rocks and gravel to waterfall

Begin by constructing steps for the waterfall drop using large stones arranged in a staircase pattern. You’ll need enough steps so that each one gradually descends lower than the previous one. This will allow the water to flow easily from step to step as it cascades over the edge of each stone. Use flat, sharply-edged rocks for the waterfall drops. The water will fall off of these better instead of trickling off of rocks with rounder edges.

Once this basic structure is in place, use smaller stones or gravel to fill any gaps between the larger stones and add texture and color to the overall design.

8. Test Your Waterfall

Once you have installed your rocks and pond liner, it’s time to test the flow of your waterfall. To do this, you can use a garden hose with a powerful spray setting. Run the water down the waterfall like you would when it was full of water. This will help you figure out if there are any gaps between the rocks where water might escape or if you need to make any adjustments. 

If necessary, move around some of the rocks until everything looks just right. Take extra care when making adjustments so that you don’t damage your pond liner or cause any erosion in other parts of your yard.

Once everything is set up correctly and running smoothly, then it’s time for the next step! 

9. Seal Your Waterfall 

Waterproofing is an essential part of maintaining your waterfall. Not only does it prevent leakage around the rocks, but it also helps protect against algae growth in your waterfall. It can also prevent animals and roots from breaking into your waterfall.

When waterproofing, use an aquatic foam sealant specifically designed for ponds and other bodies of water. This type of sealant is made with non-toxic materials so that it doesn’t harm any aquatic life or plants in your pond. 

10. Install Additions

Waterfall and pond with lights

Adding lighting around or behind your waterfall can make for some stunning visuals at night. Lights come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to choose one that compliments the look of your waterfall.

Floating lights (for the pond area) are especially popular for water features as they create an amazing effect when used correctly. If you want something more subtle, you can try installing LED lights around the edges of the pond or behind the waterfall itself. 

Another way to spruce up your waterfall is by adding accents like aquatic plants, driftwood, or even statues!

Aquatic plants will help keep your water clean while also providing shelter and hiding spots for fish and other creatures who may inhabit your pond. Driftwood adds a rustic charm, while statues provide a beautiful contrast against the shimmering water.

11. Turn On The Water And Check For Leaks

Turn the water on and do another check for leaks. It’s much better to find and fix them now than later when you’ve noticed wet or dead spots in your yard, an increased water bill, or other consequences. You can find leaks by taking a pond-safe dye and pouring it into the waterfall. Follow it and see if it makes it to the filter or is sucked out of a gap.

Build A Better Water Feature With Premier Ponds

If you want to create a tranquil ambiance for your backyard or you’re looking to add aesthetic value to your property, a backyard pond with a waterfall is one of the best ways to do both.

No matter what you want, the possibilities with Premier Ponds are almost endless. From streams and waterfalls to multi-level ponds with underwater lighting – all sorts of water features are achievable when you come to us.

We are experienced professionals who have been in the industry for decades, and they know how to bring every dream to life! 

If you feel like taking the first step towards revitalizing your outdoor space, don’t hesitate to fill out our contact form today. Then we can chat about designs and quotes – and start building something truly special.


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