Waterfall Vs. Fountain: Which Is Best For Your Backyard Pond?

A bubbling rock fountain falling into a waterfall

Are you looking to breathe more life into your backyard pond? Do you want to add something that makes it more visually appealing and has lower maintenance?

In this post, you can learn about pond waterfalls and pond fountains! Find out what exactly they are, the differences, and how they can help your pond look and operate better. By the end of this post, you’ll be closer to knowing which one you want for your pond (if not both).

Waterfall vs. Fountain

Fountains are decorative water features that use a pump to spurt water into the air. You can find them in backyards, as part of other water features, and in public spaces. Waterfalls are where water flows over an edge into another body of water or onto the ground.

What Is A Pond Fountain?

Rock fountain in pond

A pond fountain is essentially just what it sounds like—a fountain located in a body of water, typically a pond or a lake. The purpose of the fountain is twofold.

Firstly, it adds an aesthetic appeal that makes any body of water look more attractive. Secondly, it helps keep the water oxygenated and circulating, which helps discourage algae growth and keeps the water from becoming stagnant. 

Types Of Pond Fountains 

There are several types of pond fountains available on the market today. From simple spray jets to intricate floating sculptures, there’s something for every style and budget.

Some popular types include traditional spray jets, low-lying bubblers, decorative wall fountains, and even floating sculptures with integrated lighting systems.

Pond Fountain Designs 

There are virtually limitless possibilities when choosing a pond fountain design.

You can choose from simple geometric shapes or more intricate designs featuring animals or sculptures. You can also choose from various colors and materials, such as marble or ceramic tiles, to add even more visual interest to your design. There are many backyard fountain ideas you can choose from.

What Is A Pond Waterfall?

Multi-drop waterfall into pond

A pond waterfall is an element added to a pond that creates an aesthetically pleasing sound and ambiance for your environment.

Generally, this feature consists of a pump and filter system designed to cycle water from the bottom of the body of water. The water then flows down over rocks or other masonry elements to create a cascading effect.

The sound created by the moving water serves as white noise, which puts people at ease while also providing an interesting dynamic for any garden area.

Types of Pond Waterfalls 

There are many different types of pond waterfalls that you can create in your backyard.

The most popular type is the formal pond waterfall, which looks like a traditional Japanese garden feature with steps or tiers cascading into a pond or pool below. Other types include rock-lined streams, babbling brooks, and swimming-pool waterfalls.

Each type has its own unique look and feel that will add beauty and personality to your outdoor space. 

Pond Waterfall Designs 

Certain design elements apply across all styles, no matter what type of pond waterfall project you decide to install in your backyard.

First, consider the size of the waterfall. The larger it is, the more dramatic it will appear and the more sound it will make as water cascades down its sides. Then choose materials like rocks or boulders that will work best with the style of your home and garden. Large river rocks help to create a natural look, while smaller stones create a more contemporary feel.

Finally, decide how much vegetation you want surrounding the waterfall. Plants can help soften the edges and give it an even more natural look and feel.

How To Create Waterfalls: A Quick Look

Stream and waterfall into pond

1. Make A Plan

The first step when building a waterfall is to plan out what you want it to look like. You will need to find a suitable location with access to a power outlet or electricity. You will also need to decide on the type of waterfall you would like and design the shape accordingly. 

Many waterfalls have multiple drops to enhance the sound of falling water without building a tall waterfall. Other waterfalls are smaller, while some can seem to spring from out of nowhere.

2. Create An Outline

Once you have determined where and how you want your waterfall, mark off the outline with spray paint, garden hose, or anything else at hand.

3. Dig The Waterfall Area

Now it’s time for some hard work! Dig out the outline of your waterfall area and ensure there is a slight downward angle so that the water flows well if it has multiple drops.

This is also when you’ll want to install the pump on which your entire system will rely. This should be done carefully, ensuring that all connections are secure and watertight before continuing to the next step. 

4. Install Underlayment And Liner

Lay down the underlayment and liner over the area where your waterfall will be located. This will help protect against any leaking or moisture seepage in the future. 

5. Rock The Waterfall

Now it’s time to add the rocks. The rocks will make your water feature look more natural and beautiful (when compared to a plain black liner bottom).

Use an aquatic foam sealant around each piece to ensure stability and keep them from shifting or moving over time due to erosion or natural forces like wind or rainwater runoff.

6. Install Additions

After everything has been sealed into place, consider whether there are any additional elements you would like to add. This can include lights, bubblers, driftwood, and anything that can enhance both the visual appeal and sound effects of your backyard oasis.

7. Turn On Your Waterfall

It’s time to turn on your waterfall! Get ready for relaxation as you enjoy the sights and sounds of nature right outside your door.

How To Install A Floating Fountain For A Backyard Pond

  1. Locate your fountain near a power source or install one close by
  2. Install the control panel (if your fountain has one)
  3. Choose your nozzle style and place it in the fountainhead
  4. Attach the motor with screws, bolts, or latches (whichever it comes with)
  5. Fasten the power cord to the pump
  6. Affix the power cord to the float
  7. Connect any lights or additions
  8. Put the floating fountain in your pond, making sure to secure it with mooring lines and stakes
  9. Plug in the control panel
  10. Plug the power cord into the control panel
  11. Turn it on!

There are many other fountain types you can choose from, such as urns, basalt, and spillway bowls.

Benefits Of Pond Waterfalls And Fountains

Some stacked slate urn fountains at night with blue lights

Aerates The Water

One of the most important benefits of waterfalls and fountains is their ability to aerate the water in your pond. Aeration means that as the water cascades down from the top of the waterfall into your pond, it is exposed to air, which it brings into the water.

This ensures enough dissolved oxygen is in the water for fish and other aquatic life to breathe. It also helps reduce noxious odors caused by anaerobic bacteria, which can harm fish and plant life. Keeping oxygen levels high will also help keep the environment healthy and promote growth among plants and fish.

Helps Limit Algae Growth

Having a fountain or waterfall can help limit algae growth by keeping the water moving and introducing more oxygen into it. Algae tend to thrive in still waters with low levels of oxygen.

Cleaner And Clearer Water

If you want crystal-clear waters in your backyard oasis, a pond waterfall or fountain is a great way to achieve this! As we mentioned before, aeration helps reduce algae growth which means cleaner and clearer water.

In addition, running a waterfall or fountain also encourages debris like leaves, twigs, etc., from settling on the bottom of the pond, where they could cause sludge buildup. This sludge often contains harmful bacteria, which can lead to murky waters. But having a running waterfall will help keep this debris suspended in motion so that it can be filtered out instead of settling at the bottom of your pond. 

Pond Fountain And Waterfall FAQs

Crashing waterfall

Do I Need To Turn Off My Pond Waterfall Or Fountain At Night?

No, you don’t need to turn off your fountain or waterfall at night. The motor is designed to run all day and night without any issues. Turning it on and off too much can cause damage to the pump over time. However, if you need to clean or maintain it, it’s best to turn off the motor before doing so.

Why Does The Fountain Splash Water Over Its Edges?

If your fountain splashes water over its edges, it’s likely been installed incorrectly. It could also be that the water flow is too high, which also causes the splashing.

Have Premier Ponds Upgrade Your Backyard Pond

Whether you go with a waterfall or a fountain, it’s hard to deny the beauty they bring to your backyard.

Premier Ponds is here to help make sure your backyard pond installation experience goes as seamlessly as possible! Fill out our contact form, and we’ll help you upgrade your backyard this summer with a tranquil water feature.


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