7 Steps For How To Build A Stream In Your Backyard

Watch And Read About The Process For Building A Pondless Water Feature For Your Maryland, DC, Or Northern Virginia Home
How to build a stream like this one for your family to enjoy

The 7 steps for how to build a stream include digging, lining, rocking, additions, and then checking. Now you have a pondless water feature.

You can find the 7 steps (and a video of us building a backyard stream) in the post below:

Streaming That’s Better Than Television

“What kind of streaming is better than that?” asks Christina.

Matt smiles at her. “A pondless water feature! It’ll get us wanting to go outside more so we can sit and enjoy the sights and sounds. We can even dip our feet in the cool water on those warmer days.”

Man relaxing next to his backyard stream

Christina frowns. “Well, how would we build a stream in our backyard? Or would we pay the cost to have someone install it? And what’s better, a pond or pondless feature?” Matt shrugs and pulls out his phone. “I don’t know how to build a stream or any of the rest. I just got the idea. Let’s look it up on Google.”

Matt starts looking as Christina cranes her neck to see his screen. After a while of searching, here are the steps to building a pondless water feature they find:

How To Build A Stream In A Backyard In 7 Steps

  1. Design your stream
  2. Mark the boundary
  3. Dig the stream
  4. Lay down liner
  5. Add filters
  6. Put in rocks
  7. Install any additions

Here’s a video of us going through the steps for a client’s pondless project:

The Planning Part Of Building A Pondless Water Feature

Planning before doing is one of the most important parts.

You can design your own using some backyard stream designs. Another choice is to have a contractor design the stream for or with you. It’s a good idea because not every design can work for every backyard. Yards can be uneven, making designing hard.

Building this stream on a slope right outside of a back patio

You’ll want to keep in mind that there needs to be a slope for the water to go down. It’s best if the area is easily seen from windows, decks, or other areas of the house.

The top and bottom of the stream need basins for the water to collect. You can fill the bottom basin with gravel instead of water. This makes it safer, easier to maintain, and creates a different look.

Pondless water feature with lights and many waterfalls going down a slope

You can make waterfalls by digging a “stair-step” into the stream bed.

Once you have the location and plan you can mark out the boundary with spray paint. Then, dig down about 6-8 inches and around 2-4 feet wide in the spray-painted areas. Now you have a stream bed!

Putting In Filters, Liners, And Rocks

First comes the filters. They help keep your water clean and clear. They go in first so you can fit the liner around them.

Laying down the liner for building a backyard stream

Then you lay down your liner. The liner needs to fit exactly into and slightly around the stream bed. Liner is what’s keeping the water inside the stream and out of your lawn. Cover the excess liner with soil and stones to hide it.

You’ll want to check it at this point to make sure the water stays in it.

Stream with rocks

Now you can rock out your pondless water feature! Pond rocks are great for many reasons. They look better than a black liner plus they are home to beneficial bacteria. These little things help clean your pond water and fight algae.

Adding Additions And Turning It On

You can use additions to make your stream experience even better!

Pondless waterfall with LED light behind it

Lighting in and around ponds can have it glowing like a fairyland after dark. It also means more enjoyment time!

Plants can make your pondless feature look beautiful and more natural. Put them along the outside or right near the water. Plants can also fight algae as they eat the same nutrients.

Once that’s all done you can turn it on and start enjoying your new pondless water feature.

You May Also Like To Read

“Yeah this is not a DIY project,” Matt says. Christina nods in agreement. “You’re right. I still think it’s a great idea, though.” Matt nods back. “Me too. Let’s learn some more about pondless water features and streams.”