How to Build a Small Backyard Waterfall


Waterfalls add serenity to your landscape and can be a focal point in your backyard space. You can build a small backyard waterfall with minimum building skills, large stones and a lot of sweat equity. Arranging the stones to make the waterfall is like working a puzzle, but excavation can be a challenge.

Things You'll Need

  • Pond liner
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Large stones
  • Waterproof adhesive
  • Waterfall pump
  • Plastic tubing
  • Excavate a space in your backyard to fit a preformed plastic pond liner. The pond liner is the reservoir for your waterfall; look for them at local landscape supply stores. Remove any roots, stones or other debris from the bottom and the sides of the opening. Place the liner in the opening and make sure it is level.

  • Line a row of the largest stones along the ground at the edge of one side of the pond liner. This line of stones dictates the width of your small waterfall and should hang 3 to 4 inches over the rim of the liner. Line another row of large stones behind the first row. Don't worry if the stones do not line up perfectly on both sides, but try to get them close. Line a third row of large stones behind the second row, keeping them as even as possible with the width of the first two rows.

  • Build your small waterfall up by stacking stones on top of each of the three rows. Begin with the largest stones for stability and gradually use smaller stones as you build upward. Apply a generous amount of waterproof adhesive between each of the stones to help hold them in place. Continue stacking the stone rows until they are all 2 feet tall. Your first row is complete.

  • Continue stacking the stones on the second and third rows until they are both 3 feet tall. Your second row is complete. Continue stacking stones on the last row until it is 4 feet tall. These height measurements are examples, build your small backyard waterfall to any size that suits your landscape. You can also create more dramatic drops between the rows by increasing the height of the second and third rows of stone. Conversely, the waterfall flow will be more subtle if you build a more gradual incline.

  • Place a line of stones around the rim of the pond liner to create a more natural look. Place the waterfall pump inside the pond liner. Drape the electrical cord over the side of the pond towards your power source or electrical outlet. Dig a small trench and bury the electrical cord. If you select a solar waterfall pump, you will not need electricity.

  • Attach the plastic tubing to the pump. Run it from the pump along the ground on one side of the stones to the back of the waterfall. Take it up to the top of the third row of stones. Camouflage the tubing by digging another shallow trench where it runs along the ground, or by covering it with mulch. You can also consider placing potted plants around the waterfall to hide the tubing.

  • Anchor the plastic tubing to the stones near the center of the third row. You can nestle the tubing between the stones or attach it with waterproof adhesive.

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